By Hayley Wildes
The Doveton Eagles’ quest for back-to-back premierships failed at the final hurdle; unable to keep up with Highett as they ran away with the Southern Football League Division 2 premiership courtesy of a dominant final quarter.
In tough and windy conditions, both teams failed to make the most of their opportunities in a wasteful first half in front of goal. Just five goals had been kicked and a whopping 26 behinds, with Highett 2.16 (28) level with Doveton 3.10 (28) at half time.
The third term was more of the same as neither team took a backwards step and contested football was the order of the day.
Doveton star Michael Callinan kicked his side’s only goal of the term – an early major that put the Eagles up by five points.
Highett responded though and despite having kicked fewer goals than Doveton, held a slender one-point lead, 3.20 (38) to 4.13 (37), with a quarter to play.
With the crowd at Jack Barker Oval riding every bump, and with premiership glory on the line, it was Highett which powered home and finally kicked truly in front of goal.
Having kicked just three goals – and 20 behinds – in three quarters, Highett turned on the afterburners and kicked four goals in a premiership-winning fourth quarter performance.
Doveton was simply overrun as Highett held the Eagles goalless and claimed the flag with a 7.22 (64) to 4.16 (40) win.
It was a disappointing way to end a season of tremendous growth that was full of highs – including the minor premiership – for the Eagles.
In their first season in Division 2 after claiming the Division 3 premiership last season, the Eagles proved they belong at the level. Although they ultimately fell on the biggest day of the year, a 16-2 home and away season record was a mighty effort.
The ever-consistent workhorse that is Michael Callinan was best for the Eagles, while Travis Graeske, Jarrod O’Neill and Nick Battle battled valiantly.
Highett’s Tom Brown was sublime in a dynamic display that included a goal, while Yianni Pasialis and Harry O’Neill played vital roles. Chris Langdon was the game’s only multiple goal scorer with two key goals that helped get his team over the line.