HAMILTON Kangaroos have thrown the proverbial spanner in the works for North Warrnambool Eagles’ double-chance hopes with an upset win at Bushfield on Saturday.
The Kangaroos held the lead briefly early in the contest, but didn’t hit the front again until the dying stages, sneaking home with a 12.10 (82) to 11.13 (79) win.
It was the first time the Melville Oval-based club has defeated the Eagles on the road since joining the Hampden league in 2013, and it becomes even more remarkable when you consider they had to play the better part of three quarters without star Tom Feely, who copped a knock to the head early in the second term.
Kangaroos coach Matt Dunn was optimistic the star midfielder would be able to take the field for next week’s clash with Camperdown.
“He wanted to come back on but our medicos wouldn’t let him,” an amused Dunn said. “He seems fine.”
Dunn would have liked to have Feely on the field when his side launched it’s big assault on the Eagles in the last quarter, booting 4.6 to 2.2, but the visitors were able to get the job done regardless.
In what had been a close contest much of the game – a 20-point lead to the Eagles was the greatest margin of the afternoon – the Kangaroos went into the last term 10 points in arrears.
But a yellow card to dynamic Eagle Jarryd Lewis midway through the quarter gave the Kangaroos the chance they needed, and they took it with two hands.
Dunn admits the final stages were “a bit of a blur” as the Kangaroos snapped their nine-game losing streak in thrilling fashion, but was pleased with the intent his players showed.
“It was a really consistent, four-quarter effort,” he said.
“Knowing we can compete with that (quality of) opposition is important. We want to try to back it up.”
The loss was a costly one for the Eagles, who would have moved into third position on the ladder had they won, given both Cobden and South Warrnambool lost their clashes.
Eagles co-coach Graeme Twaddle lamented a lost opportunity.
“They were quite good Hamilton and we didn’t play our best footy,” he said.
“We didn’t get the mix right. We were super young – we probably had 10 kids under 19 in the side – and with those conditions it wasn’t structural, it was about grunt and they had a bit more than we did."
The Eagles, who have accepted Lewis’ one-match suspension, were down on contributors.
“I think they boys are pretty keen to respond in the right way,” Twaddle said.
“They were pretty disappointed after the game. We had a few passengers and a few of those passengers were leadership boys.”