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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Eagles 10 fly the coop

Echuca United has lost 10 of its players to Picola and District Football League club Mathoura.

LUKE MCMANUS March 28, 2014 4:04am

Echuca United coach Scott Beattie has let fly at former teammates Damien Dalziel and Nathan Rowbottom over the veterans’ move to Mathoura Football Club.

Beattie labelled Dalziel, Rowbottom and eight other former Eagles ‘‘quitters’’ after the group switched to the Timbercutters during the off-season.

Beattie said money had been a factor in the defection and, following the club’s premiership win in 2013, questioned the group’s ‘‘mental capacity to work hard and be part of continued success’’ with United.

Joining Dalziel and Rowbottom at the Picola and District Football League club included Matthew Nunan, Rodney Reeves, Nathan Marsh, Wayne Phyland, Mathew Giorgianni, Andrew Mortimer, Daniel Kavanagh, Nathan Kavanagh and Josh Roberts.

‘‘Minor league football clubs pay ordinary players money to play football,’’ Beattie said.

‘‘They’re not as good as they once were, they’re only reserves players and if they can get the money to play senior footy then good luck to them.

‘‘They’re probably at the standard they warrant, they’ll be the big fish in the small pond and it’s up to them to make their own decisions.

‘‘I’m disappointed that an ex-coach (Mick McInnes) has targeted United for his whole recruitment campaign.

‘‘Instead of a broader area, Echuca and Moama and the surrounding district, they’ve just targeted our club.’’

Beattie said Dalziel’s decision to leave United, after 252 games and a life membership, was triggered after the veteran was overlooked at the selection table ahead of the 2013 finals.

Returning from a knee injury in 2012, Dalziel strung together five senior games before he was dropped (after round 19) from the senior squad and finished the year off playing in the reserves preliminary final loss to Tongala.

Beattie said Dalziel and Rowbottom (also recovering from a knee injury) were approached during the year and were told their senior football was over at United.

Rowbottom returned in July and played nine reserves matches by the end of the season.

‘‘I had to be blunt with those guys,’’ the premiership coach said.

‘‘I could have given it to them in a way that gave them hope of playing in the grand final, that they’ve still got a senior career with us.

‘‘But that wouldn’t be me doing the right thing by the individuals involved.’’

Dalziel admitted he was ‘‘dirty’’ after missing out on grand final selection but denied the notion that money influenced his decision to move.

Dalziel and Rowbottom said players saw the writing on the wall and wanted a change, denying McInnes’ initial involvement in luring them across to the Timbercutters.

‘‘I earned myself another year or two of senior footy,’’ Dalziel said.

‘‘Blokes saw an opportunity... and made the change because they may not have had that opportunity if they stayed.

‘‘I’ve moved on and have no issues with anyone at United apart from a select few.

‘‘I’m not worried about what’s happened or what’s been said.’’

‘‘I’m ready to play and focusing 100 per cent on what’s happening at Mathoura as there are exciting times ahead.’’

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