Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Eagles eye MFL finals

Echuca United finish home and away season on best possible note

ERIN LYONS August 25, 2014 7:50am

41Zayden MollusoMFL Echuca United V Numurkah 230814HC

Echuca United kept its premiership hopes alive after surging home to defeat Numurkah in the final round of the Murray Football League home and away season.

Holding a mere two-point advantage at the major break, the Eagles issued a seven-goal third term and carried a 43-point lead to the full-time siren, 12.9(81) to 6.2(38).

The win pushed the Eagles to third spot on the ladder, ahead of Barooga, Mulwala and Deniliquin who all finished the season on the same amount of points.

Nathalia just missed out on a spot in the top six after drawing with ladder-leader Rumbalara.

Echuca United coach Scott Beattie said his side had been lucky to pull third place with less than one percentage separating the Eagles and Barooga.

‘‘Look, we’re just happy to win it (the game against Numurkah),’’ he said.

‘‘We got a lot of things right on the day. We didn’t perfect anything of course, but just got it right.’’

Having only defeated Numurkah by two points in their previous encounter, the Eagles had their work cut out for them.

But after applying pressure at both ends and dominating play in their defensive half, the Eagles stormed home.

‘‘We really limited their (Numurkah’s) run into 50. We only let them score 38 (points) for the match,’’ Beattie said.

‘‘I felt the game really opened up a few times and we took advantage of that.

‘‘We were really dominant in the second half too.’’

Beattie said his side was exhilarated to cement third place in such a tight race to finals.

‘‘It was just so tight to the end,’’ he said.

‘‘Seeing Nathalia just miss out, it’s really unfortunate.’’

Echuca United will play Deniliquin in an elimination final on Saturday at Tongala Recreation Reserve.

‘‘We’re happy to be playing Deni on this weekend,’’ he said.

‘‘We played well against them the last two times.

‘‘And the boys are really confident going into this week’s match, especially on neutral ground.’’

Beattie said while a few of Echuca United’s most talented players may have missed the cut, the team effort realistically stole the win.

‘‘You can’t always choose on the basis of talent,’’ he said.

‘‘I choose guys who aren’t always the most talented but they can do things for each other and work together.’’

According to Beattie, Cameron Parker was dominant all day, booting five majors, while Bryn Barnes-Webb, Liam Guinan and Zayden Molluso were also impressive.

Echuca United will engage in a light recovery session tonight, but Beattie said his side would train hard this week in the lead up to the knock-out final.

The Eagles’ reserves team finished second on the ladder after romping to a 98-point win against Numurkah, 23.13(151) to 8.5(53).

United dominated the match from the outset and were led by Rhys Egan, Matt Jackson (seven goals) and Tyler Lethlean.

Ricki Waters, Phil Hazelman and Daniel Edwards also combined for a further 10 goals for the team.

The team now enjoys the week off before playing in the second semi-final.

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