INVERLOCH-KONGWAK has started the year with a bang, knocking off three-time reigning Ellinbank premiers Cora Lynn by 36 points in the first ever match of the new West Gippsland Football Netball Competition.
The match under lights at Cora Lynn was a standalone game, with the rest of the competition set to begin its campaign this Saturday.
The Sea Eagles started well with four goals to one in the opening term in muggy conditions, with the match played at a frantic and unpredictable pace.
The visitors held an 11-point lead at half time as the Cobras edged closer.
Inverloch-Kongwak coach Ben Soumilas said both sides looked really quick in the first half.
“It was a typical first quarter of a first game of the year and it was probably more chaotic than organised, and we were able to get a reasonable start on the board,” he said.
“Throughout the first half when the game was at its most frantic they missed gettable set shots at goal which put them behind on the scoreboard, but not behind as far as scoring shots went.”
Cobra Nick Helsby was taken from the field and transported to hospital after a serious knock from friendly fire in the second term, which left the home side one man down.
But they bounced back after half time with three unanswered goals to take the lead, before the Sea Eagles steadied and took a three-point lead into the final change.
The Sea Eagles came out and ran over the top of the Cobras, booting seven goals to two to seal a memorable victory.
Forward Toby Mahoney kicked five goals in a commanding performance, Andy Soumilas was a workhorse and new recruits Josh Purcell, Shem Hawking and Jeremy Smith were impressive.
Soumilas was pleased with his side’s start to the season.
“It looked like a good win, but they were really undermanned and walking wounded,” he said.
“Purcell was good up forward and in the middle. He’s really competitive with a strong body and does a lot of his work on the inside and is able to reach high to take marks.
“Shem Hawking ran up and down the wing and we were able to pressure the ball well so he intercepted a lot of kicks.
“I gave Jeremy Smith the job on their full forward Ryan Gillis and he gave him a bath on the day. He wore him like a blanket, was really competitive and very disciplined. We think he’s going to be a bit of a utility for us.”
There was further interest in the match for the Sea Eagles faithful, with youngsters Jarvis Pryor and Lachlan Scott making their debuts, 29 years after their fathers Brendan Pryor and Pete Scott played their first senior games for the club.
Inverloch-Kongwak will now face rival Korumburra-Bena at Korumburra this Saturday in the official round one match, with Saturday’s standalone match with Cora Lynn switched from round 11 on the fixture.
Cora Lynn will host Nar Nar Goon this week, before playing the Sea Eagles against on Easter Saturday at Inverloch.
A 14 page football preview in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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