Parrots reach semis
LEONGATHA has won through to a semi final next week after defeating Drouin by 29 points at home on Sunday afternoon.
There was a huge crowd gathered at the Leongatha recreation reserve to watch the teams do battle, and they spent a great portion of the match cheering as they saw their beloved Parrots take
Coach Adrian Campbell was excited with the win, but was wary that his side shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves, preferring to tell his players to get some rest and properly prepare themselves for next week’s big clash.
Drouin suffered a second consecutive loss to Leongatha, both in season defining clashes. It seemed destined that the Parrots were going to prevail, as the players had the hunger in their eyes all game.
Holding a steady lead all day, Drouin never seemed to provide the spark to get them going, a toast to the relentless pressure applied by the home side.
Tom Dowd led the way with a great unselfish game that inspired the rest of his team-mates to lift.
Dowd was tagged throughout the match, but was able to put aside the negative effects of that and continue working hard for the ball, assisting his team- mates all day.
In the most team spirited game that the Parrots have played for the year, they increased their amount of possessions and used the ball much better, taking time to make good decisions and apply them with effective disposal.
The tackle count was up, which is to be expected come finals time, but it was the intensity of the tackles that had a taxing effect on the Drouin players.
Every time Drouin gained possession they were crashed and tackled, every possession was earned and they were forced to work harder for the ball.
Poor kicking also hurt the Hawks, as they had one more shot on goal than Leongatha, but they only managed seven goals, compared to the Parrots’ 13.
The game started well, with Dwayne Holt kicking accurately on goal, and with Cowell adding another a minute later the Parrots appeared to have come to play.
And play they did. The defence, led by young guns Sean Westaway and Tom Marriott, was as stingy as ever, strangling all Drouin’s forward forays.
Westaway and Marriott have been stalwarts in the back half this year. The 17-year-olds have played on players that are often twice their age, but neither has taken a backward step when it comes to the crunch.
Such is the spirit of all of the Parrots’ players; the challenge came at them head on and they stood up, a far cry from the team that struggled so painfully two to three years ago.
That made Sunday’s win even sweeter. The hard work and pain that this football club has gone through to get to finals footy has been immense and the players and coaching staff deserve all the rewards that come their way.
In the second quarter tensions spilled over as a Drouin player was forced to exit the field on the back of a yellow card.
The Parrots took the advantage and kicked four goals to gain a handy lead that the Hawks couldn’t peg back.
A three goal to two third quarter set up the win, with the Parrots up by 21 points and with the wind at their backs.
The boys stormed home, kicking four goals, including a special from Justin Cowell, a set shot from outside 50 that never looked in doubt.
After the win the players could only retreat to their trenches, a sore but relieved side that battled its way to a semi final
If Leongatha plays the way it did today they will beat Maffra next week, but we all know that the Eagles turn it on come finals time so it will be a truly entertaining and memorable clash.
Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=327