Blues Juggernaut rolls over Eagles. Bulldogs hold off Cougar challenge
For the second week running, the Eastern Blues have stamped their authority on the competition, with an emphatic demolition job of the reigning premiers. This was evident after half time when they kicked 14 13 to a meagre 3 behinds from the Eagles. The Eagles played like rugby players and were constantly pinned with the ball after trying to step around multiple players. Their team talk was almost non-existent. The Blues forward line cut a swathe through the riddled Eagles defence and one could have been excused for believing that there were 3 to 4 extra Blues on the park. Justin Kent has proved a handy acquisition for the Blues this year, along with Chris Murray and emerging talent such as Sean Butler and Levi Inglis. It has not been a good year for the Eagles, on the other hand, with many injuries to key players, while others were unavailable for selection due to relocation.
The Bulldogs v Cougars game was predicted by the Bulldog's coach to be a close one and he was correct. Scores were level twice in the last quarter and this game was arguably the best contest of the season. The last quarter was played at a phrenetic pace, with players throwing themselves at the ball and launching desperate tackles. The Cougars showed that they have something to offer, but need to perform more consistently if they want to progress up the ladder. The Bulldogs were admirably served by mid-fielders Ethan Church and Mitch Harding. The accurate and penetrating left foot of Zac Williams was a critical weapon when it was needed. Irish import Pat Smith has taken to the game like a duck to water and young Bulldog Garrett Beck is now finding his feet at senior level.
Round 9, to be played on November 2nd, will see finals aspirants, the Eastern Blues take on the top placed Christchurch Bulldogs, a mouth watering prospect and a foretaste of the grand final. The outcome may well depend on who is available for selection, with both teams highly dependant on key players.