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AFL Outer East: Beaconsfield staves off storming Narre Warren

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Beaconsfield led Narre Warren by 36 points at three-quarter-time.

Yet won by just four.

The AFL Outer East Premier Division top-of-the-table clash had looked certain to finish as an anticlimax.

But the Magpies had something to say, rallying to deliver a rousing final quarter that had the Kalora Park crowd captivated.

Despite the unrelenting advances of Narre Warren, Beaconsfield clung on, the significance of which wasn’t lost on coach Mick Fogarty.

Before his players had left the ground, Fogarty brought them into a tight huddle, seeking to capture the weight of their achievement.

“I just applauded them on such a great win,” he said.

“To beat the reigning premiers at Narre Warren, just a fantastic, fantastic effort. I was giving them some really good positives and praise.”

There’s no doubting his side was the better team early, having skipped away to a 29-point quarter-time lead.

The Eagles were dominant across the board too, mopping up Narre’s limited entries with ease in defence, getting first use of the ball in the midfield and capitalising on the plethora of forward 50 entries.

Narre began to work its way into the contest in the second quarter, but still trailed by 28 points at the half, 3.5 (23) to 7.9. (51).

Discipline was plaguing the Magpies’ comeback hopes, and it came to a head when two separate incidents resulted in a downfield free kick and 50-metre penalty, leading to a Beaconsfield goal right in front.

In the third quarter, Narre managed spurts of dominance, but could only produce two goals, and was down 5.6 (36) to 10.12 (72) at the final break.

By the time Tylah Stokoe split the sticks for the Eagles with a handy goal to start the last quarter, the margin had ballooned beyond 40.

It was hardly telling of the comeback that would ensue.

Yet when the Magpies replied with two goals in a matter of minutes, and then a third, and then a fourth, the previously subdued home crowd roared to life.

Momentum can be influential, and Narre Warren found itself with an abundance of it.

Exciting Eagles half forward Jafar Ocaa – regarded as one of the best young prospects in AFL Outer East – did his best to stop the surge, squeezing through a tight set-shot.

But it offered his side little comfort as Narre replied with a further two goals, reducing the deficit to just 13.

The ball was locked in the Magpies’ half, and there was no escaping for Beacy.

Regardless of how hard they fought, every clearing kick found its way to opposition hands.

When Josh Tonna put Narre Warren within a goal, launching a bomb from outside 50, the noise was deafening.

With the crowd behind them, and the ball cemented forward, it was only a matter of time before the Magpies hit the lead, but time was against them.

Every second felt like an eternity for Beaconsfield, as the clock ticked over 30 minutes and then 31.

Narre continued to hound, but the siren sounded, 12.9 (81) to 12.13 (85) the final score.

And while it came as a crushing blow to the black and white, it was as sweet a symphony as any for the ears of the Eagles.

Their undefeated record was intact, albeit by the barest of margins.

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Fogarty lauded his side’s first three quarters, but lamented the last.

“It’s always a positive when you beat the reigning premiers in Narre Warren,” he said.

“You’ve gotta give full credit to them, they were gonna come and they came in that last quarter.

“We’ll take a lot of learnings out of the game, especially that last quarter. I thought our first three quarters were terrific, our pressure around the contest and our ability to finish our work was really good.

“Full credit to Narre, they nearly pinched it. I’ll say pinched it because I think we were the best team for the first three quarters.”

As for the learnings, Fogarty believes “it’s just about being a bit more composed when the opposition do get a hold of you”.

He saw Nick Battle and Brandon White as the standout players, believing they were terrific and set the tone.

He also credited “young Sammy Merrick on the wing (who) had a really good game”.

“And down back I thought young ‘Dochers’ (Jack Docherty) was terrific, he was cool and composed.”

And although Fogarty wouldn’t label it the sweetest victory of the season, he said beating the reigning premiers on their own turf is “as good as it gets”.

“We’ve had some good (wins). Obviously Round 1 at Beacy against Narre was good. Then we followed that up against Cranbourne in a really close game,” he said.

“And then today, like I said, I thought for the first three quarters we completely controlled the game and the scoreboard showed that.

“Then to hang on like we did, it was a real nailbiter at the end.

“Everything was like a tidal wave, it just didn’t break thank god, so we were OK.”



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