Whittlesea ready for finals

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By Jackson Russell

Whittlesea closed its Northern Football Netball League division two season on the right note with a 74-point win over Watsonia, but it wasn’t enough for the Eagles to nab the top spot ahead of the finals.

A tight start had the Eagles leading by five points at quarter time after a three goal to two first term.

Whittlesea showed why it’s one of the elite sides in the competition with a massive seven unanswered goals in the second term to blow the lead out to 50 points at half-time.

The Eagles kicked four goals to two in the third term to extend their margin to 66 points at three-quarter time.

Another four goals in the final term sealed the important win for the Eagles as they find form ahead of the finals.

Whittlesea coach Blair Harvey said it was a good effort in windy conditions.

“We tried a few things out that worked so that was pleasing. It’s renowned to be windy during the finals, especially in Epping and Preston so it was about controlling the ball with and against the breeze which could help us out if it’s windy in the next few weeks,” he said.

“We were kicking against the wind in the first, it was a five or six goal breeze so we had it in the second and scored pretty heavily on them.

“Jaron Murphy and Xavier Dimasi were very good. Clancy Bland was very good also.”

Whittlesea finished the season second on the ladder with a 13-3 record, behind Banyule on percentage.

The Eagles face Banyule in a one-versus-two semi-final at Epping on Saturday with the chance to advance straight to the grand final while the loser will have another chance when they take on the winner of the Eltham-Thomastown semi-final.

“The winner goes straight in with a week off so it’s a massive game,” Harvey said.

“We’ve beaten them and they’ve beaten us. They’re a great side so we’re going to have to play well to beat them.

“We’ll work on what we’ve been working on since they beat us 10 weeks ago. Our pressure has to be at an elite level because if it’s not, they can cut us up pretty quickly.”

Watsonia 7.5 (47) def by Whittlesea 18.13 (121)

WATSONIA Goals: K. Van Zwienen, S. Leishman, M. Perfetto, X. Kelly, T. Leonardis, B. Sutherland, K. Kemp. Best: G. Hines, M. Crawford, D. Gervasoni, K. White, X. Kelly, K. Kemp.

WHITTLESEA Goals: J. Murphy 4, C. Bland 3, M. Atta 2, C. Taplin 2, R. Dyson, M. Andrews, S. Indian, X. Dimasi, M. Langford, T. Falls, B. Bell. Best: M. Atta, X. Dimasi, C. Bland, J. Murphy, B. Bell, J. Eid.