Eagles topple ladder-leaders to take home the Hitchcock Shield and Warcaba Cup
A handful of big inclusions (Samu, Ioane, Marrazol-Kotz, Chan-Tung, Taueki and Hyland) have helped us give the Vikings just their second loss of the season.
An emphatic win for the Eagles, taking down the competition leaders 36-26 at Viking Park with the win edging us closer to the top 3.
This win was made extra special due to the adversity our players and coaches faced with no access to a turf pitch to train on for nearly three weeks. This is to preserve the waterlogged Nicholls Oval after a series of rain events.
We opened the scoring at Viking Park through Jamie Marrazol-Kotz after some strong, barnstorming runs from our forwards, followed by some exquisite passing from our backs.
We defended with resilience for a long period, but our boys weren’t able to keep a strong Vikings outfit from scoring. A conversion gave them a slim 7-5 lead.
The Vikings lead did not last long as their defence could not stop the size and power of Tamati Ioane close to the line as he bustled his way over. 10-7 Eagles.
Another response by Vikings gave them a 14-10 lead on the stroke of half time in an entertaining encounter between two of the better teams in the competition.
A very sneaky short kick off from Crowey, allowed us to get the ball back and the speed and skill of our backs was too much for the Viking defence with Taueki going over on the half time siren.
A beautiful kick from left to right from Haddad gave us a 17-14 advantage over the ladder-leaders at the main break. The Eagles were determined to hang on to their lead, unlike our first encounter with the Vikings earlier in the year.
The start of the second half saw Vikings mount so much pressure on the Eagles line but through some great communication and team defence the Eagles didn’t let them in.
Some great ball movement and speed at the ruck led to Finesy finding Marrazol-Kotz went for his second of the day. Haddad added the extras to increase the lead to 24-14.
Vikings were able to score in the corner a short time later to drop our lead back to five points.
After several errors and penalties, the Vikings gained momentum which led to them scoring again to gain a slim two point lead after a conversion, 26-24.
This was short-lived as Tamati Ioane crossed over for his second try off the back of a 5m scrum, which came from a beautifully weighted kick forcing the Vikings into their own in-goal area.
Haddad added the extras to make him 3 for 3 in kicking for the game. We took the lead back 31-26.
Some penalties against us and a strong Vikings push was met with great team goal-line defence as we didn’t allow Vikings to get over the line.
With a small lead, and a scrum feed just 5m out from our own line, the stage was set for some Eagles backline brilliance.
That brilliance came in the form of Corey Toole.
Fines drew a defender on the short side, threw the ball to Corey, and he danced around Viking defenders for the next 90 metres. He cut back in, drew a defender, and offloaded to Tom Haddad for a 10-point lead. Tom couldn’t convert his own try but the Eagles family was loving the hectic play from Tooley. The crowd ERUPTED!
There was still time on the clock for the ladder leaders to get over but again great defence prevented the scoreline from changing.
The full-time siren went and the Eagles took a critical win, 36-26 at Viking Park and brought the Warcaba Cup and Hitchcock Shield back to The Nest.
Our next game is another huge encounter against Wests on Saturday at Jamison Oval with the main game starting at 3:15pm.
A win over Wests next week will put us in the top 3 with Vikings and Owls. Get over to Jamison to support the boys in their push for finals.
Report written by Josh Dunstall
Photos by Jayzie Photography