North Warrnambool Eagles turn it around in fighting win over Kangaroos

NORTH Warrnambool Eagles’ fighting spirit was on display in their come-from-behind win against fellow top-three side Hamilton Kangaroos on Saturday.

The Eagles were nine goals down at half-time and facing a heavy loss at Melville Oval before a second-half revival guided them to a seven-goal win.

Eagles coach Sharon Kenna said the 37-30 result provided “a bit of a scare my girls needed”.

“It was a pretty massive turnaround from the second quarter,” she said.

“We just made stupid, stupid mistakes in the first half. Our passing was atrocious and I thought Hamilton defended fantastically.

“They were making us look stupid and we couldn’t seem to get on track.”

Kenna said the Kangaroos had “done their homework” and tried hard to negate the Eagles’ usually free-flowing game plan.

Kenna said she swapped her offensive goal ring in the second term in a bid to swing momentum the Eagles’ way to no avail.

The premiership mentor reverted to their more accustomed attack in the third term — Annie Blackburn at goal attack and Laura Blackburn at goal shooter. 

Kenna said the sister act was integral in the Eagles’ fightback but highlighted their defence as the catalyst.

The Kangaroos, who slotted 21 goals to 12 in the opening half, were restricted to six goals in the third term and three in the last as Rachael Ryan and Jordyn Billings took control.

Kenna said Maddie Smedts was another standout for the Eagles, mixing defence with attack.

North Warrnambool Eagles, who play South Warrnambool in the final round, lost strong defender Indi Morrison to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.

“I thought she’d fractured it and she was in agony but she had x-rays and they said it was badly sprained,” Kenna said.

Kenna said Morrison would potentially have a stalled start to her finals campaign.

Hamilton Kangaroos coach Sara Byrne said she was “happy to a certain extent” with her side’s efforts — defensively sound but with costly turnovers.

“We threw away 22 balls,” she said. “And they picked up their game after half-time and upped their pressure and we made silly passing errors.”

Byrne said the Kangaroos needed to work on their third-term lapses.

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