The Eagles have one week until finals, therefore only one week to prove whether this past weekend result was a MAJOR or MINOR slip up.
In a game which likely would decide outright second place on the Sydney AFL Premier Division ladder heading into finals, East Coast travelled to Henson Park in Round 17 to meet a ready and willing UNSW Bulldogs outfit who absolutely took advantage of chances inside 50, on they’re way to a strong 20 point victory 11.9.75 to 8.7.55.
With this, the Eagles did indeed drop to 3rd place, as the Bulldogs now hold 2nd spot.
Add on the fact that this result snapped East Coast’s six game winning streak, and the enormity of the win is huge for UNSW.
Some would argue the damage in this game was done in the first quarter, with the Doggies kicking 5 goals to 1, and displaying relentless forward pressure.
The Eagles just couldn’t match them.
Clawing back slowly in the second term, had supporters hoping East Coast would play with more consistency in the second half.
However, these hopes were dashed in the 3rd quarter, as key defender Kieran Emery went down with an ugly injury that left the Eagles CAGE without its greatest champion.
Throughout this quarter, a stronghold became a strangle as the Eagles became overwhelmed and could not contain the Doggies attack at the carpark end, in yet another 5 to 1 goal quarter.
With a six-goal lead heading into the final term, Henson Park became a danger zone for all that wore Blue and Gold, as further key players Trent Stubbs and Karl Merson also ended the game with ice strapped to the lower body, gone for the game.
Despite their best footy played in this 4th quarter, it was too little too late for the Eagles, doubling their goals total to narrow the margin to a far more encouraging 3 goal loss.
Aaron Drinkwater was a bull in defence laying plenty of crushing tackles on his opponents, and Jamie Vlatko continued his outstanding second half of the season form kicking 3 goals.
Returning home, East Coast have the game’s toughest challenge waiting in the form of competition heavyweights North Shore in what is sure to be the perfect finals warm up slash wake up call.
Ladder positions will be on the line, and the importance of this clash will be massive for East Coast coming off the weekend’s loss.
Finals is where the gladiators rise and the heroes stand, the period where you have to play your best footabll.
Yet, if the Eagles step into finals on the back of a disappointing forntight, it shall be immensely difficult to move out of second gear.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs 5.4-34 5.4-34 10.8-68 11.9-75
East Coast Eagles 1.0-6 3.5-23 4.5-29 8.7-55
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs
Goal Kickers: T. Dickson 3, S. Pollock 2, T. Banuelos 2, T. Redden, D. Pfeiffer, M. Rawlinson, J. Pascoe
Best Players: D. Pfeiffer, L. Essenstam, J. Blair, M. Thompson, J. McKinlay, T. Dickson
East Coast Eagles
Goal Kickers: J. Vlatko 3, D. Visser, R. Haupt, A. Drinkwater, M. Weekes, T. Stubbs
Best Players: A. Drinkwater, J. Vlatko, A. Browning, B. Clark, K. Merson, R. Haupt
2018 Sydney AFL Premier Division Ladder after 17 Rounds
POS TEAM P W L D F A % PTS
1 North Shore Bombers 17 15 2 0 1909 996 191.67 60
2 UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs 17 12 5 0 1425 1027 138.75 48
3 East Coast Eagles 17 11 6 0 1169 970 120.52 44
4 Sydney University 17 10 7 0 1507 1108 136.01 40
5 Manly Warringah Wolves 17 10 7 0 1388 1109 125.16 40
6 Pennant Hills Demons 17 10 7 0 1476 1243 118.74 40
7 St George Dragons 17 6 11 0 1189 1552 76.61 24
8 Camden Cats 17 5 12 0 1171 1491 78.54 20
9 UTS Bats 17 4 13 0 983 1616 60.83 16
10 Western Suburbs Magpies 17 2 15 0 844 1949 43.30 8