Tathra’s hopes in the senior Sapphire Coast AFL competition have been dashed in an elimination final against the Pambula Panthers.
The Panthers were trailing by 20 points at the first break, but began to over-run the Sea Eagles, finishing strong to win 17-15-117 to 9-7-61.
However, the Sea Eagles will advance to the preliminary final in both the reserves and ladies fixtures with respective wins over the Narooma Lions.
In the reserve grade outing, the Sea Eagles had a marginal lead early, but blew out the scoreline in the second half to win 12-8-80 to 5-2-32.
It was a crushing finish for the Lions who had 30 points at the main break to trail by just 10, but could only find a single behind in each the third and fourth quarters.
A couple of key combinations came to the fore for the Sea Eagles in the result with brothers Baz and Leigh Manning working hard out of the middle, while Gordon Wiegold and Adam Blacka forged a key link-up with the front lines.
Wiegold led the charge on scoring with his three majors, while Grant Vine, Blacka and Scott Orr all kicked two apiece.
Early exchanges looked like a close battle with Narooma trailing by just one behind at the first break, but in later stages, the Lions became frustrated which proved costly as two players were sent for 10.
A lot of Tathra’s defensive efforts were headed up by David Little, who was literally throwing himself into mark contests and coming up with the ball.
In the ladies match up, the Eaglettes showed a return to form in their 8-5-53 to 5-5-35 win over the Lions.
The returned Sam Crowley made a huge impact in the front lines, kicking six of Tathra’s goals.
Meanwhile Cymmon Parker was best on ground with a great defensive hussle and good reach in ruck contests.
Captain Elouise Russell and Gina Bricachek were also heavily involved out of the middle as the Eaglettes fended off some good competition from Narooma.
Eliza Terrey and Yasmin Welsford had some solid runs, each kicking a goal.
Kirby Mackie and Talia Moreton-Stewart were ever-present threats out of the Narooma camp, but good resolve from Tathra’s midfield kept momentum favourable.
Finishing third on the ladder, both the reserves and the ladies outfits will now have to play a second elimination final for a chance in the grand final.
However, both teams will get a week of rest with the major semi-final matches to go ahead at Narooma’s Bill Smyth Memorial Oval this Saturday and the preliminary final to run on September 8.