The Harvey-Brunswick-Leschanault Lions have proved their place atop the ladder with a comfortable 19-point win over the Collie Eagles, thanks to a dominant first quarter.
The Lions exploded out of the blocks for the do-or-die clash in front of an impressive home crowd for the twilight game on Saturday night.
The Lions kept possession of the ball for almost all of the opening term, seeing Collie struggle to even make it inside their forward 50.
HBL kept it short to kick into the goal square, allowing Jake Bloomfield to seal the side’s first major and put the first goal on the scoreboard.
Despite impressive defensive efforts from Collie’s Adam Bignell, Lion Cameron Hill found himself all alone right in front and able to score another goal, to the delight of the home crowd.
Kristin Thornton had his own attempt at goal from the right pocket all alone and on the run but it hit the post. Thornton worked hard to intercept the kick in from the Eagles, and chip it to Dylan Heasman but he kicked it out on the full.
Luke Slater and Ty Armitage were quick to pick up the accuracy again for the Lions though with goals of their own before the siren sounded for quarter time, with Collie still scoreless and without even a handful of inside 50’s.
HBL were up 4.4.28 – 0.0.0, causing Collie coach Clint Swallow to serve his team a mouthful at the break.
“I’m not going to scream like everyone expects, but that was weak,” he said.
“We’re pretenders at the top of the ladder… we’re undisciplined, lethargic, there’s no talk.
“I wish you had’ve told me it would be like this, I would’ve booked a weekend off, it’s embarassing.”
The Eagles took possession of the game early with Kyle Shanahan putting his body on the line to defend in the midfield.
A controversial umpires call for a HBL free kick saw Collie supporters erupt, furious about the decision which led to Bailey Taylor sealing a goal for the Lions.
Collie worked hard, with Jayce Fontana finally scoring the Eagles’ first goal halfway through the second term.
Blake Shanahan helped to keep the ball alive in the midfield for Collie and Jared Debenham scored the away side’s second goal as tensions began to boil over between players, coaches and spectators.
The score stood at 5.7.37 – 2.2.14 at half time, the Lions still with a comfortable lead heading into the second half.
The Lions were fiesty in intercepting Collie targets early in the third but seemed to struggle to convert the possessions into scores.
It didn’t last long though, with Slater scoring his second from a set shot more than 40 metres out. Zachariah Piper took an impressive mark shortly after and turned it into his first major for the game, only to back it up just minutes later with a second.
Both teams wrestled for possession for a while in the middle of the term before Rhys Chappell broke the scoring drought with a goal for Collie.
Joel Houghton kicked a point on the siren to see the scores stand at 8.7.55 – 4.5.29, the Lions still holding on with a comfortable lead.
Mathew Michael opened the term with a goal for the Eagles to get them within 19 points, followed by a second major for Fontana and a rushed behind, putting them just two straight kicks away from a come-from-behind-victory.
But with a goal from Thornton for the Lions, the fate of the Eagles was sealed at second place on the ladder.
The siren sounded on a low-scoring quarter with HBL claiming a 19 point win over the Eagles, 9.8.62 – 6.7.43.
The Lions now look to round ten when they play Busselton away on Saturday, while Collie head to Harvey to play the Bulls.