The Gordon Eagles continued on their winning way with another impressive display against equal placed Buninyong at The Nest last Saturday. The Bombers have had a stunning year producing the most points in the Central Highlands Football League. Simultaneously the visitors had conceded the least amount of points against for the season making the Eagle group well aware of the challenge before them. Key onballer Tye Murphy and two of his midfield partners, Zack Ryan and James Maher were replaced from the team that defeated Springbank last week by Rohan Clampitt, Reece Williams and veteran Michael Anderson.
A substantial but hushed crowd observed every contest on the saturated oval throughout the opening term. Play appeared to be in Buninyong’s forward half for most of the first twenty five minutes with Eagle Captain Mark Gunnell and his co- defenders working overtime holding their opponents to four goals. At the other end Adam Toohey, two goals, and Brendan Sutcliffe one goal made the most of some terrific forward pressure with the scoreboard declaring a difference of just eight points at the first recharge period. Scores Gordon 3.0 – 18 Buninyong 4.2 – 26.
Immediately after the break ruckman Zack May seemed to grow taller, Matt Raworth seemed to run faster and Matthew Spezza seemed to be everywhere as the home side surged to stamp their authority. Spezza goaled after pressurizing his opponent’s defense then soon after ‘gathered and shared’ to set up Adam Toohey’s third major. Matthew Hoy, working cleanly inside the heavy traffic found Caleb Myers for his first six pointer. If the alarm bells weren’t already ringing, at the following center clearance May and Raworth combined to immediately add another goal and the Bombers swarmed back into their defensive end to attempt to stop the flow of goals. Before the siren blew half time across the gloomy grey arena the energetic Spezza again linked to help Rohan Clampitt burst clear to kick the home side’s fifth goal of the term. Scores: Gordon 8.3 – 50, Buninyong 6. 4 40.
After the long break rain and wind carried a hint of sleet across the Nest causing the contest to be cramped and even more demanding. Both sides worked steadily and showed skill and discipline in the tough conditions but Gordon always looked in control. Steve Nicholson kicked two second half goals and the bullocking Brendan Sutcliffe manufactured, under heavy pressure, a new way to kick a goal. Scores at the end of an entertaining battle in very demanding conditions, Gordon 11.4 – 70 Buninyong 8.5 – 53. This eleventh straight win carried the Eagles into third position on the CHFL ladder.
Coach Ron Watt announced at his very first preseason training that “the 2018 Eagles may not kick as many goals as in past years and at the same time opponents will find it more difficult to score freely against his team”. He asked for Attitude, Effort and Consistency. The defensive group seems to be settled and confident. The forwards work together to share the spoils and the midfield players have formed a sharing and caring attitude that will carry the club into another finals campaign.
This Sunday at Buninyong Gordon take on one of the leagues power houses, Beaufort. Similar to our Eagles, the Crows are skilled, experienced and well coached. ‘The Battle of the Big Birds’ will be a thriller and may very well come down to the last kick. The winner rewarded with a week’s break to prepare for a preliminary final, the loser has another chance due to gaining the ‘double chance’ by seasons end.
Eagle supporters should be excited about the team’s performances and feel confident that they will continue to represent our club in a manner that will make us all proud.
Hope to see you at Buninyong Sunday.