Sport

Pigeons down in a thriller

by
May 24, 2017

Tim Cooper was important around the packs for Yarrawonga.

Beau Seymour determined to get a hand on the ball.

Yarrawonga’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Saturday when the Pigeons were defeated by five points at the hands of arch rivals the Albury Tigers in a thriller at JC Lowe Oval. 
With ruckman Lachlan Howe a late withdrawal due to a call up with Collingwood in the VFL, youngster Jake Wild was given the ruck duties.   
Wild performed well against Oliver McEwan and Ben Dower and as a result Tim Cooper, Xavier Leslie and Mark Whiley gave drive around the packs as did Damon Hemphill from defence.
Jess Koopman gave the Pigeons the perfect start with a goal within 22 seconds of the bounce.   
After that it became a real battle for the goal kickers, with the Tigers only goal through from Uthayakumar after 17 minutes.   
Both teams had players back making congested forward lines with both teams were locked on eight points at quarter time.
Albury kicked the first goal of the second term but the Pigeons produced their best period of football for the match when Drew Barnes, Koopman and Brad O’Connor all goaled to give the Pigeons a 16 point lead.    
Nick Lawless’ run and carry was an important asset as the Pigeons went long to talls O’Connor, Symes and Marcus McMillan.  But unfortunately that played into the hands of the Albury   crammers who were able to run the ball out.  
The Pigeons still lead by 11 points at half time but had wasted a lot of the ball going inside fifty, 12 times to four.   
Albury took control of the third quarter kicking five goals in the opening 15 minutes.  
The Tigers got a lot of run from Elliot Powell, Dylan McDonald and Jake Page and a really finishing ruck forward in Luke Daly bagging three goals.
Pigeon’s defender Connor Hargreaves was sensational down back, his tackling and long penetrating kicks were a highlight.  
Beau Seymour is another often under-noticed ‘Mr Fix It’. If it went far and wide or whenever the Pigeons had a hole to plug, Seymour was the go to man.   
Late goals to O’Connor and Lawless kept the Pigeons hopes alive trailing by eight points at the last change.   
Yarrawonga were kept scoreless in the opening 11 minutes of the fourth as the Tigers responded with four goals in the last term taking a 29 point lead.   
The Pigeons looked in real trouble but then in a complete turnaround with pressure and presence around the contests, it was the Tigers turn to be kept scoreless for a while.
With momentum Yarrawonga went long and direct and as a result found four goals to O’Connor and three goals to Symes.   
The Pigeons fell short but there was plenty to like about the effort that they showed. They demonstrated that they are a team of exciting youngsters capable of running out a game.    
Albury remain as the yard stick of the competition, with a very experienced list, and will continue as premiership favourites.
Coach Chris Kennedy said the Pigeons were their own worst enemy.   
“We let ourselves down with inaccuracy especially in the first half,” Kennedy said. “When they had the momentum they were able to score, when we had it, we didn’t.   
“We kicked 4.7 and they got numbers back and it’s not easy for the forwards when that happens.   
“We didn’t do a hell of a lot wrong it was just not finishing off our work when it counted most.”
Kennedy said the team was still developing and was yet to play their best footy.
“The thing I liked about today is we kept coming,” he said.
“We were five goals down and in the past we have won games coming from those situations, so if the game had have gone another two minutes we might have grabbed it.”
Chronicle award: 5 Hargreaves, 4 Symes, 3 Seymour, 2 Morey, 1 Cooper .

Reserves

Albury have kept their top spot after a hard fought game gave them victory over the Pigeons on Saturday.   
Mark Athanitis and Isaac Byrne pushed their opponents to their limits with great defence work right from the start.
But it wasn’t enough as Albury made their move in the second and secured a three goal lead at half time which the Pigeons found hard to close.
Kennedy responded early in the third for a quick goal, backed up by Gallagher’s mark of the day in the square for his second.  
Senior experience has paid off for the young Gallagher who was pivotal on many occasions pushing the ball forward.  
But it was a repentant Jones giving an unfortunate free in front of the Albury goals that allowed them to continue to push out the margin late in the third.
Ten minutes into the last, Grinter kicked his first reducing the margin to 15.
The Pigeons were all over the ball and had plenty of play in the final term, but inaccurate kicking let them down and the  Tigers got away with another win  8.10 58 to 12.6 78.
Goals:  J Gallagher 2, I Byrne 2, X Kennedy 1, M Grinter 1, M Hargreaves 1, R Mulquiney 1.
Best: J Gallagher, M Grinter, M Hargreaves, M Athanitis, J Elliott, T Hargreaves.

Under 18s

With a strong win over the previously unbeaten Albury Tigers, the Under 18s are now on top of the ladder.
It was a very even contest early with both sides struggling for ascendancy.
Albury drew first blood but a strong mark and goal from power forward Matt Casey shortly after kept the scoreboard even.
Great defensive efforts from both teams resulted in a low scoring first quarter, with the Pigeons having a one point lead at the first break.
The second was more of the same with Albury matching Ely Smith and Tim Lawrence’s goals to see scores level at the half time break.
In the third Ely Smith and Isaac McMillan showed the way with dominant performances.
Macca Lonergan had been busy all game and was rewarded with a great goal.
Ely Smith added to the tally shortly after and when the elusive Tim Lawrence kicked his second, the young Pigeons started to pull away.
Ned Mullins’ attack on the ball saw numerous 50/50 contests go the Pigeons way.
Bailey Frauenfelder was providing great run from the backline and with fellow back men in Kayden Sharp, Zac Smith and Troy Bryce, they managed to keep the Tigers to only one goal in the third.
In the last and with a two goal lead, Ronan Pritchard showed his silky skills in evading several defenders to hit up Macca Lonergan in front of goal.
Tim Lawrence took his goal tally to a team high of three shortly after and Matt Casey put the result beyond doubt when he booted another.
Yarrawonga 9.11.65 defeated Albury 6.9.45.
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