Superb conditions greeted both sides at Johnstone Park for this important round nine clash between the Blues and Eagles.
The Blues were keen to keep their strong early season form going in the right direction, while the Eagles were desperate to get their first win of the season despite being more than competitive in the majority of their games.
The opening few minutes of the contest was a tough, rugged display of football with neither side willing to give the other much opportunity to settle into a rhythm.
It was, however, Will Crane of the Blues who scored the opening goal of the afternoon when he sharked the ball out of a congested pack and goaled from 30 metres out.
The Eagles, not to be outdone, hit back on the scoreboard quickly when Jake Hewett found James Dawson 30 metres from goal.
Dawson made no mistake.
Johnny Boras kicked a miraculous goal for the Blues in what seemed to be an impossible piece of play, proving that the bye last week hadn't hindered the Blues’ gun forward and his insatiable appetite to win the the ball and put it through.
The game was being played end-to-end at a frenetic pace as both sides looked to gain control.
The Blues, however, just had that touch more polish to their disposal, though the Eagles’ intensity was hard to thwart.
In an entertaining passage of play Jamie Honner combined with Mitch Lienert, then saw the Blues’ playing coach Scott McMahon soaring like an eagle, taking a huge pack mark 10 metres out.
McMahon gave himself a nice birthday present by finishing his great mark off with a goal.
The Eagles’ defence was holding firm under the Blues attacking forays, but a mark to Boras 40 metres out led to his kicking the second of his six goals of the afternoon, giving the Blues a handy lead at quarter time, 4.2 to the Eagles’ 1.1.
The first quarter had been an entertaining affair and, despite trailing by 19 points, the Eagles were well and truly in the contest.
The Eagles got the start to the second quarter they were seeking when a strong mark and goal to Nick Westhoff reduced the Blues’ lead.
Dylan Hogarth continued the Eagles’ impressive start to the quarter by goaling shortly after.
The Blues had their chances in front of goals but squandered them with wayward kicking, making the margin still really attainable for a desperate Eagles side that was showing – despite being winless this season – they weren’t far away from where they needed to be.
The Blues settled after the early-quarter pressure from the Eagles with a goal to Jamie Honner.
Two minor scores continued to highlight the Blues’ inaccuracies in front of goals but Jacob Rance showed how to calmly kick a goal when running onto the ball – he goaled for the Blues from 30 metres out.
Despite the Eagles’ impressive start to the quarter, the Blues increased their lead at half time to 32 points.
They had kicked a staggering 3.8 for the quarter – it was the Blues’ inaccurate kicking that had kept the door ajar for the Eagles heading into the third quarter.
At half time the score was Imperials 7.10, Tailem Bend 3.2.
The third quarter started with chances for both sides in front of goals.
The Blues got the opening goal of the quarter when Boras kicked quickly to Rance, who found Gareth Williams in the goal square.
Williams made short work of kicking the goal.
The Eagles responded on the scoreboard through Mackenzie Hansen, then followed that up with a goal to Hewett when Kyle Daish was caught in a superb tackle, resulting in a free kick to the Eagles.
The Eagles had a sensational third quarter as the Blues found themselves under relentless pressure.
They piled on an impressive six goals for the quarter while the Blues managed four, with goals again to Boras and McMahon to keep the Eagles at arm’s length during the third.
Late in the quarter the Eagles produced a brilliant piece of running team play, resulting in a goal to Westhoff.
At three quarter time the Blues led 11.13 to the Eagles’ 9.5.
The Blues’ 32-point lead at half time had slowly been whittled down to 20 points as the final quarter started in perfect late afternoon sunshine with no breeze to favour either end of the ground.
The Eagles had the term’s first chance to goal, but the resulting kick was into the man on the mark.
The Blues then squandered their own chance to score soon after when, from a free kick to Nathan Daish, the resulting shot on goal fell short from 35 metres out.
The Eagles reduced the Blues to a 14-point lead early in the quarter when a free kick to Westhoff five metres out from goal gave him a goal and gave the Eagles’ players and fans real hope.
The Blues’ players and supporters were sent into a little bit of "oh no".
A goal to Kyle Dalitz settled them back down again and extended the lead to more than three goals.
When Boras goaled for the Blues after an intense few minutes of play, the Blues had appeared to snuff out the flame of hope for the Eagles.
A goal to Bradley Hartman late in the quarter reduced the Blues’ lead but it was too late to affect the result.
Not even Michael Holland’s shot after the siren would prevent the Blues from being triumphant.
Holland’s shot missed though, meaning the Blues ran out victors 13.13.91 to the Eagles 11.8.74.
The win saw the Blues continue their much improved form this season and took them to five wins and two losses after round nine.
The luckless Eagles are yet to record a win in season 2018 but that ought to change shortly as they play an entertaining, hard-working and competitive style of football that will serve them well going forward.
Ramblers v Mannum
No report submitted.