Young Eagles struggle to match Saints’ physicality

Samuel Hayes, Declan Martin Dsc 7252  TBW Newsgroup
HIGH PRESSURE: Penola's Samuel Hayes attempts to shrug off a high tackle from Kingston's Declan Martin during round four Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Junior Football League at McCorquindale Park on Saturday.

Samuel Hayes, Declan Martin Dsc 7252 TBW Newsgroup
HIGH PRESSURE: Penola’s Samuel Hayes attempts to shrug off a high tackle from Kingston’s Declan Martin during round four Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Junior Football League at McCorquindale Park on Saturday.

SENIOR COLTS – KINGSTON 10.23 (83) d PENOLA 2.2 (14)

KINGSTON flexed its muscles against Penola in their Senior Colts clash at McCorquindale Park on Saturday.

The Saints are the only undefeated side in the competition and showed why with a convincing 69-point victory away from home in the fourth round of the 2020 season.

The Eagles hoped to continue their momentum after two wins in as many weeks and appeared to be up to the fight in the early stages.

To the delight of the home fans Penola kicked the opening goal of the game.

The hosts continued to scrap throughout the first term and applied pressure on the ladder leaders, who missed seven of their eight scoring shots.

With only one kick separating the sides at quarter time, the Eagles would have felt they were in the game.

However, Kingston rose to another level in the second term and ran away with the contest.

The Saints raced the ball inside 50 to create endless scoring chances as Penola was left with little choice but to sit back and endure the visitors’ dominance.

Across the second and third terms Kingston kicked 57 points, while the home side only scored one behind.

Darcy Wright and Declan Martin were prolific for the Saints and received top votes.

In front of goal Ethan Murdock and Jack Harding were hard to miss and scored six goals between them.

After such a deflating two quarters of football, Penola bounced back with promise and avoided the embarrassment of a triple-figure defeat thanks to a spirited last-quarter performance.

The Saints could only manage one goal during the entire final term as the Eagles’ defence stood tall.

At the other end of the ground Penola gave the home fans something to cheer about with a late goal.

However, Penola Senior Colts coach Jamie Morton said the progress was not enough to overshadow a disappointing performance against an in-form side.

“You can see why they are the ladder leaders because they are a well-drilled side,” he said.

“I thought we were in the game during the first quarter, but afterwards they got their game going and we could not match it – we played into their hands.”

Having received a wake up call, Morton said there were many areas of the Eagles’ game which must improve.

“Our ball movement is a major one,” he said.

“In the week before our forward entries were spot on, but Kingston put us under so much pressure we just turned the ball over straight away.

“We need to lift our delivery, pressure and attack on the ball.”

Despite the disappointing result, a few individuals still caught the eye.

Anders McShane was a stand out on the back flank and found plenty of possessions and Lochlan Neale stood tall under constant pressure at full back.

Tom Skeer did not give up and Samuel Hayes dominated the ruck.

Those players will be keen to continue their form when Penola travels to Naracoorte this weekend.

With both sides locked at two wins each, Morton believes a lot is on the line.

“It is a must-win game,” he said.

“We have to get back onto the winner’s page for sure and we should be alright if we can play to our best standard.”

JUNIOR COLTS – KINGSTON 11.10 (76) d PENOLA 2.0 (12)

IT was another difficult weekend for Penola’s Junior Colts side, which continued its winless start to the 2020 Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara Junior Football League season on Saturday.

A return to the familiar surroundings of McCorquindale Park was not enough to inspire the Eagles as they slumped to a 64-point defeat against Kingston.

The visitors maximised their size advantage to control the game with long kicks and hard tackles.

However, the contest started well for the hosts with a goal scored in the first and second quarters from Thomas Currie and Arlie Shadbolt.

But that was all the joy Penola experienced for the remainder of the match as Kingston flexed its muscles.

The Eagles still managed to create several inside-50 entries but they did not score for the entire second half, while the Saints banged home five unanswered goals to wrap up a big win.

Jack Murdock made the biggest impact for Kingston with two goals in a best-on-ground performance, while Luke Watson kicked three majors.

Penola’s team leaders stood tall with Ned Skeer and Currie claiming the top honours.

The pair worked tirelessly all over the ground in their midfield roles.

Under heavy pressure Cooper Gartner and Kaleb Moulton impressed in the backline against challenging opponents.

Their efforts ensured the Saints’ margin of victory was smaller than it could of been with 10 behinds scored by the victors.

Zac Zema was the final player to receive an award after he collected plenty of possessions in various roles around the ground.

Despite those bright spots, Eagles’ coach Phil Gartner was disappointed with the performance.

He said the Saints’ physical game made life difficult for Penola’s small side.

“The boys are still trying their hardest, but at the end of they day we were out-sized,” Gartner said.

“I think if a few kids get some hits it does affect them and they are down in confidence.

“The opposition coach came up to me and said that was the best they have played by a mile, which was probably down to us letting them play like that.”

One positive Gartner can take away from recent weeks is the players’ interest in football with six school kids joining the side since the season started.

He said it was a great sign for the future of the club.

“We have started to get some new players coming out every week, so our numbers are good and we had four on the bench on Saturday,” Gartner said.

“I do not mind all of the young kids coming out to training and game day because it will only benefit the club going forward.

“The more quarters we can get into the young kids, the better they will be in the future.”

The Eagles’ difficult start to the season could continue this weekend when they travel to Naracoorte and play the third-placed side on Saturday at 10am.