Eagles up the intensity to pressure Dons

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
Collie Eagles' Mark Williams gets a handball away under pressure from Donnybrook’s Bradley Epis.
Camera IconCollie Eagles' Mark Williams gets a handball away under pressure from Donnybrook’s Bradley Epis. Credit: South Western Times, Mitchell Woodcock

Relentless pressure was the key to the Collie Eagles 30-point win over Donnybrook at the Collie Recreation Ground on Sunday.

Eagles coach Clint Swallow admitted after the game he was not happy with his side’s pressure in the first term and they responded in the next three quarters on their way to a 9.16 (70) to 5.10 (40) victory.

It looked as if Donnybrook would have the advantage inside their forward 50 with Eagles’ key defenders Perry Francis and Mat Michael both missing the game through injury.

When the Eagles lost Chase Griggs to an ankle injury in the first term, the Dons were in the box seat, but inaccuracy in front of goal cost them and they trailed by 11 points at half-time despite having 12 scoring shots to eight.

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The Dons were the better of the two sides in the first term, but brothers Jack and Cameron Davidson made sure the Eagles got off to a good start with the first goals of the game.

Swallow put regular forward Adam Bignell into defence in a surprise move which worked, as Bignell was dominant in defence, keeping the Dons’ forward thrusts at bay.

This also allowed Travis Cleggett to play loose across the field and at times it seemed as there was no one playing on him.

Alongside Blake and Kyle Shanahan, the trio dominated in the midfield all game to give the Eagles the edge.

Only their own inaccuracy in the second half cost the Eagles claiming a bigger victory, with Joel Houghton and Paul Rinder both booting just one goal from three shots.

Last year’s leading goal kicker Jayce Fontana returned to form, booting three for the Eagles, as did Donnybrook’s Jacob Green, who again looked the only option up forward for the Dons.

Swallow said his side’s pressure in the final three quarters was the most pleasing aspect of their game.

“I wasn’t happy at quarter time because I thought we missed a lot of tackles and I thought the guys could lift their intensity, which I thought the guys did in the second and third terms,” he said.

“They got a lot more accountable and made sure those tackles were not slipping through. So I was very impressed.”

Swallow said he put Bignell behind the ball because he felt he needed to “find touch”.

“He played a really good game,” he said.

Collie Eagles 2.2, 5.3, 9.11, 9.16 (70)

Donnybrook 1.5, 2.10, 4.10, 5.10 (40)

Goals: Collie Eagles – J. Fontana 3, J. Davidson 2, B. Kent, C. Davidson, J. Houghton, P. Rinder. Donnybrook – J. Green 3, S. Lynch, K. Hug.

Best: Collie Eagles – T. Cleggett, K. Shanahan, B. Shanahan, A. Bignell, T. Vernon, J. Davidson. Donnybrook – S. Lynch, K. Hug, L. Dale, C. Miller, S. Cristaldi, J. Kendle.

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