Gutsy win for flying Eagles

July 7, 2024 9:55 am in by
East Geelong coach Ned Aulsebrook addresses his players. (Darren Phillips)

East Geelong coach Ned Aulsebrook has hailed his team’s ability to find different ways to win after overcoming key injuries and a gritty Thomson to take another step towards claiming the GDFNL minor premiership.

The Eagles registered their 12th consecutive victory following a 16-point result against Thomson at Richmond Crescent, 10.9 (69) to 7.11 (53), despite losing captain John McIntyre to a likely concussion early in the contest, and key forward Caleb Ezard (ankle), ruck Jacob Sobey (shoulder), and Aulsebrook (hip) being hampered.

“The bye’s come at a good time; there’s a few boys that just got through today,” an exhausted Aulsebrook said.

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“To find a way to win, I was very, very proud of the boys today.

“Having John go down in the second quarter and ‘Flez’ (Ezard) playing on one leg ten minutes into the first quarter, we were probably up against it.

“We threw the magnets around a bit; (we) had ‘Dicko’ (Jack Dickson) on the ball because I couldn’t move.

“And Will Hough had a spell in there, and they just got the job done.”

Aulsebrook also praised the efforts of Ben Mulvahil, who spent time in the ruck relieving Sobey, and Ben Crombie, whose three-goal effort also caught the eye of an East Geelong legend.

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Speaking to ‘KO’ (Kevin O’Leary) after the game, he goes to me, ‘I’ve been at this club for over 50 years, and Benny Crombie’s game today was the best I’ve ever seen’,” Aulsebrook said.

“So it must have been pretty good.”

In more good news for East, lively forward Jack Watson-Serle’s first senior appearance of the season resulted in two goals.

“He was awesome, particularly when the game was there to be won in the last quarter; he really stood up,” Aulsebrook said.

“He probably took a while to warm into the game.

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“I know it’s a different intensity and speed, but they were exiting our forward line a little bit easier than we would have liked in the first half.

“I put it on the forwards at half-time, ‘Yeah, the mids need to address some things, (but) we’re going to help you out by getting repeat stoppages in there’.

“Jake was one who really stood up in the second half, winning contests that were two-on-one and things like that.”

East Geelong hosts Inverleigh following next week’s bye, with McIntyre, who came off second best in a collision with Tigers star Billie Smedts, expected to enter the 21-day concussion protocol.

Thomson, which had seven individual goalkickers, was best served by Smedts, Darcy Troop and Daniel Mowat.

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Despite the loss, the Tigers will remain inside the top five with five rounds remaining.

They sit six points clear of sixth-placed Inverleigh and have an eight-point buffer on seventh-placed North Geelong.

However, the Hawks and Magpies have a game in hand, with winnable matches against Bell Post Hill and Anakie, respectively, in next weekend’s second half of Round 13.

Thomson returns to Godfrey Street for a meeting with fellow finals hopeful Bannockburn in Round 14,


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Winchelsea proved it will be more than nuisance value in the run to the GDFNL finals after an upset 36-point win over Bannockburn at Victoria Park.

The Blues outscored the Tigers in every quarter to earn their fifth victory of the season, 17.7 (109) to 10.13 (73).

Jordan Gould kicked four goals, and Tave Sauni and Leigh Ellis each contributed three as Winchelsea handed Bannockburn its fifth loss from seven games at home in 2024.

Fin Parish, Caleb Brown and Brayden O’Hanlon were also important for the Blues.

Fletcher Wilson was the lone multiple goalkicker for the Tigers, whose best were big man Kieran Fulton and teenager Austin Mahoney.

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The biggest beneficiary of Bannockburn and Thomson’s losses was Werribee Centrals, whose 71-point win over Geelong West Giants has it three games clear of both Tigers and in the box seat for a qualifying berth.

The Centurions took three quarters to shake the dogged Giants at Galvin Park, with an 8.4 to 1.0 final term helping the home team to a 16.15 (111) to 6.4 (40) victory.

Carmelo Saliba solidified his Rookie of the Year claims with four goals. Ben Leonard finished with three majors, and Blake Taylor and the returning Ryan Young two apiece.

Nick Butters and veteran Justin Carey each kicked two goals for the Giants.