This writer learnt a very important lesson this past weekend.
NEVER COUNT OUT A WEAKER OPPONENT
Complacency is the most dangerous word in the English language, and it can be said that every East Coast Eagles side became victims of this devil on Saturday, achieving back-to-back losses for the first time in 2018.
The locals call it a graveyard….. and Weldon Oval delivered on its promise, as Manly buried their East Coast opponents along with any credentials as competitions hotshots.
The Eagles Premier Division side seemingly matched up stronger against a less competitive Manly Warringah Wolves , yet couldn’t fire a shot on a chilly afternoon where Wolves howled and Eagles frowned.
Yes, there was wind. Yes, there was rain.
Although, still was the constant variable in 22 players either side, on a day where conditions were not perfect for footy and the winner would purely be decided by one thing: Who wanted it more.
So its a worry that the Eagles lost by 5 goals.
Gone was the grunt and run from the first month, along with the smart and potent skills that saw East Coast demolish St George and Wests on home soils earlier in the season.
The Eagles did not start well despite leading by a goal after two quarters. They struggled to capitalize on Inside Forward50 opportunities, lacking the leadership and direction without the injured Trent Stubbs, as gun forward Mark Weekes went goalless.
Once both teams returned for the second half, it was clear that the Eagles weren’t prepared to run themselves out of the hole that continually deepened throughout the 3rd quarter, with Manly blowing Eagles off the park kicking 5 goals to 0.
East Coast’s back-line were also significantly weakened without Full-Back and Captain Ben Bourke, as Manly forward pocket Anthony Robertson claimed best on ground honors kicking 5 goals.
The Eagles still remain inside the top, yet, at 3 wins and 3 losses, they must return back to square one and do some quick soul-searching before a crucial crunch game at home against UTS this coming Saturday.
The losses will hurt at the moment, but East Coast can blame no-one but themselves.
Best Players: A. Robertson, H. Washington, L. Kilpatrick, A. Butler, L. Brain, C. Pettersson
Best Players: D. Spiteri, L. Mansour, T. Zdrilic, J. Etto, B. Clark
|1||North Shore Bombers||6||6||0||0||663||318||208.49||24|
|3||Pennant Hills Demons||6||4||2||0||505||427||118.27||16|
|4||East Coast Eagles||6||3||3||0||464||338||137.28||12|
|5||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||6||3||3||0||396||373||106.17||12|
|6||Manly Warringah Wolves||6||3||3||0||424||454||93.39||12|
|9||St George Dragons||6||2||4||0||332||594||55.89||8|
|10||Western Suburbs Magpies||6||1||5||0||343||674||50.89||4|