THE Sapphire Coast AFL’s high-flying Bega Bombers and Tathra Sea Eagles will meet in an elimination final following respective wins on the weekend.
The Bombers put 105 points over their Eden Whalers opponents in a strong showing for the club on Saturday.
The Bombers defeated the Eden Whalers 29.11 (185) to 12.8 (80).
Senior coach Matt Fleet said it was another strong performance and he was “really rapt with the team”.
“As far as I am concerned, we’ve come up against some big challenges this season, but they [Bombers] have kept going and kept fighting,” Fleet said.
Despite a number of injuries on the day and the threat of facing one of Eden’s strongest line-ups, the Bombers started the game unfazed.
A 40-point first quarter opened the account for the Bombers, who then ran away with the game.
Fleet said a number of players across the field doubled their efforts and guided the Bombers home.
“Justin Welsford, Larry Fuller and ‘Moona’ Harney in the back-line.
“Aaron Wheatley, Dale Leahy and Chris Dwyer through the midfield.
“And Steven Luff and Adam Blacka bringing it home up the front,” he said.
Meanwhile, Scott Hay continued his strong showings with a number of long-range kicks and excellent marking.
“He is a star, I’m really glad he’s come over to play a bit of AFL this year,” Fleet said.
The margin extended to 70 points by the half-time break.
Momentum slowed, but the Bombers’ pressure was relentless as they added another 20 to the lead for the third quarter.
Priorities shifted to defence for Bega in the last quarter, holding out against an Eden resurgence to come away with the 105-point win.
The weekend’s results mean the Bombers will take on the Sea Eagles in an elimination final at Tathra on Sunday.
Attempts to have the match rescheduled failed and Fleet said the club was “dealt a bit of a blow” by the move.
As many as seven Bombers will be out with commitments to other codes, but Fleet said the squad will have a full 20-man line-up.
“We will still have 20 blokes who will be really committed.
“I believe we can take it to Tathra and anything can happen with these Bega boys,” he said.
The elimination final will be played at Lawrence Park, Tathra, on Sunday from 2pm.
Bega Valley Coaches has also come on board and will run a bus from the Bega Showground on Saturday.
“It’s just $5 a ticket and there should be plenty of rooms for teams and supporters,” Fleet said.
A pick up time will be published in Friday’s BDN.
All four grades from the Bombers will play in the finals with a number of games to be held on the day.
The club will also hold a family-friendly casserole night at the Bega Showground tomorrow.
The squad will train from 6pm and everyone is welcome to watch the action.
Dinner will start from 6.45pm with AFL DVDs on the big screen and plenty of heaters running to keep the crowd warm.
Entry is $6 for a plate, or $3 for kids and small plates.
“It’s a fun bonding night for the club and will be a good do with the team, family and friends.
“We’d love supporters to come down,” Fleet said.
The Sea Eagles had a 15-goal final quarter to overwhelm the Narooma Lions.
The Sea Eagles defeated the Lions 28.11 (179) to 14.13 (97).
Playing-coach Luke Taylor said it was anyone’s game at half-time.
“It was a pretty even match up until half-time, in the last quarter we really put them to the sword,” Taylor said.
At three-quarter time the scores were 87-72 in Tathra’s favour.
The final term provided a flurry of scoring opportunities where Tathra added just shy of 100 points.
Dean Gartside led the attack for the Sea Eagles, kicking seven goals.
“And Ryan O’Loghlin kicked about four, both those guys were outstanding,” Taylor said.
A shift to the ruck position in the second half worked well for Ryan Dakis, while Adam Gartside impressed with his performance.
Training has been regular for the club, but Taylor has seen a stronger showing at the weekly sessions.
“Everyone finds a new spring in their step when the finals roll around,” Taylor said.
Taylor will look to a solid performance team-wide when the Eagles meet the Bombers on Sunday.
“I think if we can get an even team performance across the board [that] will go further to win than an individual effort.
“But that being said, I will still be expecting our leaders to stand up.
“We’re just trying to put our best foot forward now,” he said.
The Sea Eagles are looking to use their finals experience to help them across the line as they face their first elimination final in more than four years.
“You can’t buy experience and having those campaigners from the past will definitely give us a bit of an advantage,” Taylor said.
However, in the last four years the Sea Eagles have been safe with a second chance, finishing in the top two.
“We haven’t played a final like this in the last four year, whoever loses it is their season done so there is a fair bit a stake on Sunday.”
After playing-number issues early this season, the club is on the up and up.
“I think we all sort of put together and made sure we got our bit.
“It will be exciting to play in the final, the winner goes forward and the loser goes home pretty mcuh.
“I think the boys will be up for it,” he said.