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Great Flinders Football League
& Great Flinders Netball Association

EAGLES WIN A THRILLER IN GREAT FLINDERS A GRADE GRAND FINAL

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

United Yeelanna won a hard-fought game at Tumby Bay oval by 3 points in difficult windy conditions that made scoring and skillful play difficult. The game could have gone either way with United Yeelanna hanging on in the last quarter after Cougars threw everything at them but unfortunately fell just short again in a grand final.

Yeelanna kicking towards the norther end that the wind slightly aided had plenty of possession in the early stages of the first quarter but were unable to score. After some strong play from Brad Hazelgrove the ball ended up in the hands of the league leading goal kicker Johann Wagner who kicked truly for the game’s first goal. Cougars wrestled control of the game from the Eagles and were playing a short passing game to good effect denying Eagles any football. A snap goal against the run of play by Brayden Martin after good forward line pressure meant the Eagles were back on terms. A brilliant snap from Brody Falciani late in quarter saw Cougars go into quarter time with a 6-point lead, with Cougars having the better of the first quarter.

Cougars started well again in the second quarter and were controlling the clearances with United Yeelanna having no recognised ruckman. Pressure was strong from both sides with no side showing any sings of relenting. The quarter was played in two halves, Cougars controlling the game early and United Yeelanna bouncing back in the second half of the quarter. Eagles skipper Michael Crettenden lifted and a pass from him ended up with Daniel Havelberg kicking a goal from a set shot. After a dominant period from United Yeelanna, Cougars were able to get goal from Wagner following some loose checking from the Eagles. Honours even in the second quarter a goal each and Cougars holding a 9 point lead at halftime.

United Yeelanna made a significant move at half time starting Jaxen Norton in the ruck and this proved decisive giving the Eagles a clear advantage in the centre clearances. Norton had a number of clearances himself and dominated the contest which resulted in United Yeelanna kicking 4 goals for the quarter two from Bryce Breed who was having a good game, Havelberg another goal from a set shot and another from Stephen Crettenden after a Cougars error in the goal square. A late goal against the run of play by Cougars saw Yeelanna have a 12-point lead at the final change on the back of Norton’s dominance.

Cougars would have been confident of running over the top of Yeelanna as they had in the Second Semi when the overcame a 29-point deficit at three quarter time. Hazelgrove and Lochie Paech were strong in the midfield but where unable to penetrate the Eagles defence until a right foot snap from Matthew Coombs. Another goal shortly after from Wagner, his 100th for the year, brought Cougars within a couple of points. A tremendous effort from Johann Wagner to kick 100 goals in a COVID shortened season. Dylan Wandner was outstanding repelling any Eagle attack across half back, and Cougars were applying immense pressure all over the ground but Yeelanna were holding firm with Casey Carr and Michael Crettenden having an impact to slow the game down enough for them to hold for a great win. Although low scoring, the game was an outstanding contest that had the crowd on edge right to the very end. Best on Ground was Jaxen Norton who was solid across half back in the 1st half but his 3rd quarter turned the game around and Cougars were never able to get back in front. Another good player was Casey Carr who lifted when required in the last quarter, Michael Crettenden who again showed why he is one of the best players in league.

Cougars were well served by Dylan Wandner who was strong across half back and hand may intercept possessions, Brad Hazelgrove competed strongly, Jay Green had plenty of the ball and rarely wasted a possession and Johann Wagner. Johann Wagner kicked 3 goals and competed strongly up forward and at time moved up the ground and provided Cougars an option.

United Yeelanna premiers once again, but Cougars can hold their head high after a good season and gallant performance in the Grand Final. The game whilst not off high skill it was pressured packed and kept the large crowd at Tumby Bay entertained from the 1st siren to the last.

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