NORTH Warrnambool Eagles will embrace the challenge of taking on Koroit in the final round of the home-and-away season after bouncing back from last week’s shock loss.
The Eagles were back to the form that had them in contention for a top three spot against Warrnambool on Saturday, putting in a dominant second half to win 13.11 (89) to 6.12 (48).
It was a swift and galvanising response to last week’s slip against Hamilton Kangaroos.
“If you take the Hamilton game out, we’ve been pretty good,” Eagles co-coach Graeme Twaddle said.
“We just didn't want to be judged on what happened against them.
“Now we come up against Koroit; we’re looking forward to playing against them and seeing where we’re at.”
In a close first half at Reid Oval, the Eagles led by a point at quarter-time, and had worked to a 15-point lead by the main break.
In the third term, they clamped down even tighter defensively, conceding just one goal and slotting through three.
The visitors then held the Blues to just two behinds in the last, while putting through another three goals to sew up a 41-point win.
“The boys were pretty ruthless about the way they went about their job,” Twaddle said. “Their defensive pressure was pretty good … to keep Warrnambool to six goals, I think defensively, we’ve done really well.”
Luke Wines was best-on for the Eagles, sweeping up across halfback and providing drive for his side.
Taylem Wason, playing a similar role, was also a key contributor; Matthew Wines (two goals) provided grunt through the midfield and young forward Jackson Grundy (one) performed strongly in the attacking arc and when given a run through the midfield.
Warrnambool coach John Cook lamented a poor third term that saw the Blues yield just 1.5 from their scoring attempts.
“You can talk about opposition’s pressure and not taking away from North Warrnambool, but some of our efforts, in regards to being strong and executing skills and sticking to game structures (were lacking),” he said.
To compound the Blues’ woes, Jye Turland (jarred toe) and Dylan Cox (rolled ankle) were both struck with in injury in the second half.
Cook commended the efforts of the Blues’ youngsters, particularly Austin Steere, Aaron Robertson and Beau Turland.