Under-15s decided in last kick thriller
Following the success of the AFL Central West Youth Girls, the Under-15s took the field in their game. With only one rotation, it was going to be a test for the Central West side.
The game see-sawed early, with both teams getting inside-50s and it was the Bombers first to get a goal on the scoreboard. Thomas Bock and Cooper Brien found their range and kicked truly, but it was the hosts who took the lead into the first break.
The Central West game-plan left several counter-attacking opportunities for Northern Riverina who accurately sliced their way through the Eagles’ defence. Pinpoint passes gave the Eagles no chance to defend as the margin ballooned out beyond three goals. Again Central West fought back, led in the midfield by man of the match Brien and goal-sneak Bock (3). Some exceptional passages of play from the team in Yellow and Green gave Bock quick goals leading into the main break and with momentum shifting, only three points separated the sides at the half. Jake Roberts was everywhere, floating across to intercept mark, and then bursting out of defence. His fantastic first half ended with a corked thigh and required treatment during the break.
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Switched into attack, Matthew Bell had immediate success kicking a quick goal to start the third. Another Central West goal came quickly and with it, their biggest lead of the match. Northern Riverina found their legs whilst the Central West rested their midfield and clawed their way back into the game.
Another shift in momentum occurred early in the final term as Northern Riverina kicked the first two goals. The game turned back into tackles and forced errors, and with five minutes remaining, Jake Egan marked. Jake chewed up plenty of time for the set shot, but found the target from long-range. Stress levels on both benches were high as coaches and supporters willed their side across the line. As the one minute calls came from the Bombers’ bench, another Cooper Brien effort got the ball inside-50. At ground-level, Lachlan Micalos collected, threw it onto his boot and kicked the match winner.
Final Score NRFNL 8.7.55 def by AFL CW 9.4.58
NRFNL – J. Bischoff 3, J. Crofts 2, J. Golding 2, B. Dillon 1
AFL CW – T. Bock 3, C. Brien 2, J. Armstrong 1, J. Egan 1, M. Bell 1, L. Micalos 1
AFL CW Best Players:
C. Brien (BOG), J. Roberts, D. Patching, D. Belfanti, B. Hyland, M. Brown
What they said:
Coach Casey White:
“Traditionally, the Northern Riverina play a highly contested brand of footy and when they get it to their runners, its quite hard to stop. We were always going to concede, but the game-plan was set to encourage quick scoring ourselves so if we were behind late, I was confident we could get the job done.”
“Daniel Belfanti was huge for us in the ruck, we gave him a break during the third quarter which was when they fought back. He made a contest every time and with three of our goals directly from clearances, his work was vital. Cooper Brien and Jake Roberts provided all our run and were two of the standouts in the match. Our forwards worked really well as a unit, every time we went inside-50 we looked dangerous, the Northern Riverina were extremely impressive in defence though. Jake Egan worked hard up and down the ground all game, and Thomas Bock had a fantastic game and despite his size, was probably our main target up forward
“I’m extremely proud of the fightback in the last. In hindsight, we probably settled things down a bit too much as they were getting over enthusiastic about some niggle on the field. We needed to focus on the game and let the result take care of itself. For a team with so many playing their first rep match, they were fantastic and we will take a lot of confidence into Shoalhaven.”
Assistant Coach Kieran Brown:
“The determination and spirit the team played the game with was a credit to everyone in the team. Northern Riverina have historically been a hard side to beat, especially on their home grounds. It shows how far our footy style and skills have progressed and improved in the Central West area.”
“It was certainly a four-quarter effort, the work rates were high all around the ground and second and third efforts weren’t uncommon which was great to see. Northern Riverina was excellent in defence which restricted our attacking plays and allowed them opportunities to turn the ball over and go into attack, our defensive lines were equally up to the task and we saw some excellent attacking plays come out that lead to scoring opportunities.”
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