A dominant final term from the Collie Eagles allowed them to gain vengeance when they defeated South Bunbury by 18 points in a spiteful grand final re-match at Hands Oval on Saturday.
With a strong breeze aiding the team kicking to the city end of the ground, neither side was able to take control for much of the game, but four goals in the first five minutes of the final term gave the Eagles the advantage and ultimately the 10.6 (66) to 7.6 (48) win.
After days of rainfall, Hands Oval was heavy underfoot and the game began scrappy as a result.
South Bunbury was unable to take advantage of the breeze, kicking just one goal against a resolute Eagles’ defence.
The Eagles looked shaken by the Tigers’ tactics for much of the first half, with Damon Bull dominating as the spare man in defence for South Bunbury, while forward Leigh Kohlmann was strong in the air, taking a number of contested marks.
When Ryan Bennell kicked the Tigers’ second goal of the game, the Eagles found their run and kicked three-straight goals to take the lead at half-time.
Corey Griggs began to find some help in the midfield through Travis Cleggett, Teke Vernon, Jebb Swallow and dominant ruckman Paul Rinder.
If it was not for the defence of Mason Hislop on Joel Houghton and Craig Hutcheson on Blair Malatesta, the margin could have been greater.
The Tigers came out strongly after the main break, despite being down to just 21 men with defender Josh Ryder’s night over due to a shoulder injury.
Goals to Kohlmann and Bull had the Tigers wrest back the lead, but a vital goal to Houghton made sure South Bunbury’s hard work had them up by only eight points at the final break.
The Tigers were ambushed to start the final term, with Jayce Fontana (four goals), Houghton and Malatesta all kicking goals before the Tigers had entered their forward 50.
Kohlmann settled with a goal midway through the term to keep his side in the game, but when Cleggett booted the goal of the match soon after it was clear the Eagles would be travelling up the hill with the four points.
The win maintains the Eagles’ hopes of winning the minor premiership.