THE Penola Eagles soared to a seventh-straight A Grade victory when they comfortably defeated a win-less Kybybolite in Saturday’s round of Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara football.
The round-eight clash saw Brad Merrett return to the fore in front of the big sticks, with his impressive seven-goal total complimented by seven single major scorers.
Penola was off to a solid start at McCorquindale Park, setting up a 30-point buffer by the first change.
The visiting Tigers would go on to record just one point more than the Eagles’ first-term total, in a match solely controlled by the hosts.
A quiet second quarter followed and Penola added just 10 points before half time, but carried a sturdy 32-point lead into the long break.
The third term saw Kybybolite’s largest return, as it doubled its total with two majors and three minor scores.
However, even with an inaccurate third-quarter score of 2.7, the Eagles remained out of danger and led by 36 at final change.
Penola lifted in the fourth to finish strongly, booting five goals and three behinds to seal the win, while the Tigers added a meagre eight points.
Coach Matt Tilby was happy with the result and said Kybybolite was a bit of a surprise package.
“The league is pretty strong this year and it is fairly even and even though Kyby has not won a game and is sitting on the bottom, they still have some really good footballers,” he said.
“I was really impressed with the way they went about things on Saturday.”
Tilby said the Eagles let the ball slip somewhat in the second and third quarters, which allowed the Tigers to remain in the contest.
However, he was pleased with the solid start and finish to the game.
“We started really well and kicked six goals in the first quarter and looked like we were fairly well on top,” Tilby said.
“To Kyby’s credit, they kept us to three goals over the next couple of quarters.
“We probably got lost a little bit in what we were doing and were probably a little bit undisciplined.
“But we came home pretty well in the last term and had a good quarter to finish off.”
Brad Merrett’s big contribution to the scoreboard now puts him second in the league goal kicking, overtaking fellow Eagle Adam Merrett.
Tilby said he missed a few opportunities on Saturday which could have seen him with an even larger haul.
However, it was Luke Walker who received the best-on-ground honours.
“Luke played well,” Tilby said.
“He is very quick, can run and carry the footy and break the line.
“He was exceptional – when he is up and going he is good to watch.”
Brad Maney and Scott Merrett were also at the pointy end of the Eagles’ best, while Brad Bryant continued his consistent form to be mentioned in the best for the seventh consecutive round.
“Jacob Pfitzner was really good off half back flank for us and Harry Porter had another disciplined performance down back,” Tilby said.
“Alex Moore has been really solid throughout the season, but in particular the last few weeks he has played some fantastic footy and Scott Merrett and Simon Berkefeld were their usual damaging selves.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, the majority of the Eagles will enjoy a bye for the Interleague carnival in Naracoorte, aside from Scott Merrett, Josh Currie and Bryant who will represent their league against the Western Border and Mid South East cohorts.
RESERVES – PENOLA 17.12 (114) d KYBYBOLITE 2.1 (13)
PENOLA’S Reserves claimed a percentage-boosting win over a visiting Kybybolite side on Saturday’s round eight clash for the Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Footbal League season.
The Eagles were off to a solid start, scoring 39 points in the opening term, while holding the Tigers scoreless.
An inaccurate second quarter followed, with just seven behinds added to Penola’s total.
However, that still saw Kybybolite outdone, as it found the big sticks once for the term to trail by 40 points at the main break.
Another goal to the guests in the third saw their last straight kick, while a four-goal effort from the Eagles set up an unassailable 58-point margin heading into the final stanza.
Penola did not back off the gas and it finished with its best quarter for the match, scoring 7.2 and claimed a 101-point triumph over the fourth-placed side.
The Eagles sit pretty on top of the ladder with a clean record and face another easy contest when KNT football resumes on June 15, up against a win-less Padthaway.
Tom Clayfield was an accurate boot in front of goals on Saturday and finished his day with five goals and a mention in the best players.
Justin Mansell, Mathew Hutchesson and Louis Merrett also shot straight to bag three each.
However, it was the efforts from Dale Bunnik which were rewarded with the best-on-ground honours, while Conan Devereux, Gerard Merrett, Mansell and Josh Doyle also earned a mention.
SENIOR COLTS – PENOLA 7.5 (47) d KYBYBOLITE 4.5 (29)
THE top-of-the-table clash between Penola and Kybybolite’s Senior Colts saw the Eagles take the honours to claim the four points and the top spot on the ladder.
At the first change the visiting Tigers led by four points, but from there the hosts lead at every change.
By the main break the Eagles had set up an 11-point buffer, thanks to a four-goal quarter.
A quiet term from both teams followed after half time, with just four behinds scored between the two teams.
However, another two goals to Kybybolite’s one in the final term saw Penola with an 18-point victory.
Brock Summerhayes was a threat in the forward line and top-scored with four majors, while Jacob Robbie and Darcy Porter both scored singles and received a mention in the best for their efforts.
Anders McShane rounded out the scorers with one goal, with Kane Whitehouse earning the best-on-ground honours for the match.
Caleb Lythgo, Zac Currie and Jack Kain were also among the Eagles’ best.
JUNIOR COLTS – KYBYBOLITE 9.10 (64) d PENOLA 0.0 (0)
IT was a tough day at the office for Penola’s Junior Colts, as they suffered at the hands of ladder-leader Kybybolite.
A 64-point deficit was the final result, as the Eagles failed to score for the full four quarters.
The Tigers were out to a 35-point lead by the first change, which grew to 51 at the main break, before scoring slowed down in the second half to see just 13 points scored.
Despite the convincing loss, Penola was best served by Lochlan Neale, while Anders McShane and Brock Summerhayes were also top performers.
Thomas Currie, Codi Kellett and Ozzy Morton rounded out the Eagles’ best, on a day they will want to put behind them looking ahead to round nine.