Eagles Fly in Wellington

Thursday, December 15 2011 @ 03:42 pm ACDT

Contributed by: Rod Shaw

Wellington had a tough Aussie rules season this year, resulting in a season of struggle after struggle. The North City Demons were unable to field a team this season, leaving a three team competition. Round robins were supposed to be played each weekend over 6 weeks before culminating in a December final. Unfortunately the Wellington City Saints Saints defaulted multiple games throughout the season with the Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs also struggling on a couple of weekends.

Throughout the season clubs catered for Demons players wanting a game, as were any available players whose team defaulted. This continued even on Grand Final day, with six players from the Saints and Demons playing in the final.

There are two schools of thought with this from my experience, allow them to play and keep them passionate so that they don’t walk away from the sport and come back to rebuild their Clubs next year, or cut them off from playing and ensure that the teams who do the right thing and turn up with a team aren’t compromised in who takes the field in their jumper. A tricky quandary but I believe Wellington took the right approach here.

During the year there were a number of administrative changes across the league, including new Club Presidents for both the Saints and the Bulldogs. The addition of these new and enthusiastic participants to the League administration hopefully sets a solid foundation for the league moving forward.

In representative football Wellington had a much better 2011 when compared to 2010. At both Senior and Under 20 level the Wellington Tigers were Runners Up at their tournament, with each team narrowly missing out on taking the title.

Finally, Wellington has again stepped up in the high performance area and this year contributed increased numbers of players to New Zealand Hawks representation as well as providing Assistant Coaches to both the Under 20 and Under 16 squads (Mark Langdon and James “JT” Terry respectively).

Players Selected include:

NZ Seniors
Stanley Chung
Troy Lavery

NZ Under 20
Troy Lavery (Vice Captain)
Daniel Annand
Jarred Burns
Jordan Mueller

NZ Under 16
Fletcher Barclay
Craig Morgan
Jordan Mueller
Hugo Phillips
Mitchell Purvis
Kade Riddell
Josh Thompson

The Grand Final

With 7 Wellington players and a Club Captain flying to Fiji with the NZ Under 16’s, it was agreed to hold the Grand Final mid-week instead on Thursday 8 December 2011.

Teams arrived both teams accepted players from other clubs to support their players. Captains shook hands, umpires got themselves set and other officials were all ready.

The scene was set with perfect playing conditions with remarkably no Wellington wind. As teams arrived the grass was even being mowed, allowing for free movement throughout the game.

Once the game started, the Hutt Valley Eagles were the quickest to settle and ended the first quarter ahead 3.3 (21) to 1.1 (7). During the break both umpires stated they enjoyed the first quarter and thought it was a good tight game of footy.

Second quarter continued along the lines of the first, with everyone giving everything they had, fighting for the ball. At half time the Eagles were ahead 8.3 (51) to 3.2 (20).

The third quarter saw both teams slowing down, but still fighting hard. The Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs came back hard but the three quarter time saw the Eagles still ahead 10.3 (63) to 5.2 (32).

The start of the fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs determined to win back the trophy they lost last year. They took out the fourth quarter but ran out of time, despite keeping the Eagles goal less - the final score was 10.5 (65) to 9.3 (57). Eagles win by 8 points.

The umpires' player of the game was Troy Lavery from the Hutt Valley Eagles. Congratulations to the Hutt Valley Eagles on becoming back to back Premiers for the first time in their history.

3.3 (21) 1.1 (7)
8.3 (51) 3.2 (20)
10.3 (63) 5.2 (32)
10.5 (65) 9.3 (57)

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