The winning North Warrnambool Eagles team. 140824AS04 Picture: AARON SAWALLNORTH Warrnambool Eagles’ rise from no under 16 side to premiers and champions in two years was completed with an emphatic victory yesterday.
The Eagles rounded out a dominant season with a 13.6 (84) to 0.3 (3) triumph against Cobden at Gardens Oval, Port Fairy.
It was the fifth time the Eagles had beaten the Bombers this season.
Key forward Joe McKinnon led the way for the Eagles with eight goals in his side’s 81-point victory. He was awarded the Ray Russell Medal for best on ground after taking a number of skilful marks in the wet conditions.
Coach Glen Scriven said the win marked a significant day for the club after having no under 16 side in 2012.
He and the club worked hard to build a team of bottom-age players that was beaten in the preliminary final last year before this season’s unbeaten run.
“Last year it was more about the boys believing they belong and earning some respect for themselves and the club,” Scriven said.
“The year after not having a team it’s about being competitive and earning some respect.
“If you have another horror year you don’t regain any momentum and respect. We were able to get some momentum and then come back with the same group of boys.
“Now the important thing is people realise we are a genuine place you can send your kids to be developed. It was always Warrnambool and South Warrnambool and we weren’t ever thought about. Because of the success of our seniors and our under 18s have been strong for the past few years, people now know you get quality training,” he said.
“It’s my job description to train boys to play seniors and if any success comes along that’s good.”
Best on ground Joe McKinnon. 140824AS01 Picture: AARON SAWALL
Scriven said the Eagles’ players were impressive kids.
“The way they used the ball was good. It was as good as I’ve seen them kick the ball and use it into the forward line.
“They won because they are really skilful. We’ve been working for two years with the boys on their skills. It just pays off eventually. They are a big strong side but they are very skilful. They are a quality group.”
Scriven said the Eagles struggled to award their best players because every player did their job.
“They are very selfless,” he said. “They work hard for each other.”
He said their midfielders were good, led by Lachlan Rhook, Zach Bussell, Sam James, Tom James and Tyler Petric.
“It’s fun to watch them. Some days you watch them and shake your head, they’re that good,” he said of the Eagles’ side.
He said of the Eagles’ 27 players, 15 move up to under 18 s next season, with 12 of the successful side remaining.
Scriven said he had told his players earlier in the season to watch how Cobden went about their football.
“I have nothing but respect for Cobden. I think they have been in the grand final the last three or four years. They constantly churn out good kids.”
He said the Eagles’ development throughout the season had become evident in their past three matches with big wins.
Cobden’s Ryan Robbins, league best and fairest winner winner Charlie Darcy and Zac Green were the Bombers’ best contributors.
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