An outstanding performance by Tailem Bend has seen them fall just short of claiming another major scalp in 2017, allowing Meningie to sneak home late and produce a hard fought 15 point win at home.
The first quarter was hotly contested, as both teams worked unbelievably hard to get on top in the early stages. The pressure was put onto Meningie early, with their physicality being a major factor in the Bears being unable to execute their skills.
The brilliant start from Tailem Bend started to produce plenty of scoreboard pressure, allowing them to kick the first two goals of the match. The Bears managed to scrap two goals late in the opening term, but it was all Tailem Bend for most part of the first quarter and their dominance was exemplified through their 12 point lead.
The second quarter was much similar to the first, with Tailem kicking four goals to two to continue their strangle hold they had on the match. It was clear to see that Meningie’s lack of cohesiveness was frustrating them, with there being multiple occasions where they brought their core midfield group together to stop Tailem’s dominance around the ground.
A couple of the main reasons behind Tailem’s strong first half came from a couple of their superstars, Nick Westhoff and Michael Sumner who were leading the way for the Eagles.
Regardless of their inability to get back on top of the match, Meningie’s Karl Lohde showed why he is so highly regarded at the club, as a couple of his individual efforts helped produce valuable shots at goal.
The half-time lead was 21 points in the favour of Tailem Bend, with many of the Tailem fans hoping they produced more of the high pressure and fast ball movement which helped get them their lead in the first place.
Like the saying goes, you can’t keep a good team down and that’s exactly what happened.
Many of Meningie’s biggest names started to make an impact on the game, none more than ruckman Peter Nelson whose tap work was vital in giving his team mates first use.
The same run and dare which brought so much success for Tailem Bend in the first half suddenly disappeared, with Meningie’s improved disposal efficiency not allowing for cheap turnovers which resulted in many Tailem goals.
It wasn’t just Meningie’s midfielders who were getting it done, their backline stood strong in the presence of quality forwards such as former AFL star Scott Welsh. None more than James Lawson who wore his opponent like a glove, not allowing for any easy possessions.
The one moment which typified Meningie’s passion for the cause, was the goal from Myles Warmington. His goal came off the back of a free kick for striking and his set shot from 40m out brought the entire ground to its feet.
The three-quarter time siren sounded and Meningie had managed to turn a 21-point deficit into an eight-point lead, setting the game up for a grand stand finish.
A great game deserved a brilliant final quarter and that is what the crowd got. The first couple of minutes were a struggle for both teams, with no one being able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
It wasn’t until a brilliant individual effort by Jed Durdin in the goal square to result in him kicking a goal which brought the lead out to around three goals. The game then started to get out of hand, as the effort was put into verbally abusing each other.
Taking away the unsportsmanlike behaviour Tailem gave themselves a chance to grab an unlikely victory late on, as Ben Franks slotted a brilliant running goal to bring the margin back to two goals.
The remaining couple of minutes proved to be a struggle and time slowly became the enemy of Tailem, with the clock quickly ticking away.
Tailem had the opportunity to improve the losing margin with a kick after the siren, but deep down they knew that is was a game that got away from them.
In a round full of thrillers, it is fair to say that there most likely won’t be another game this season which produces the same level of passion and physicality shown by both sides.
Meningie again showed they have a habit of winning games even when they are not at their best, which isn’t a bad trait to have when the season is as tough as it is in 2017.