Eagles soar in first victory

Whittlesea captain Xaiver Dimasi. (Picture : Shawn Smits)

Michaela Meade

The Whittlesea Eagles have won their first game since being bumped up to division 1 of the Northern Football League (NFL).

Coach Blair Harvey said the victory was a “long time coming”.

“[The boys were] very excited, very happy,” Harvey said.

“Obviously it’s been a while coming… we hadn’t had a win since moving up divisions.

“We were close against West Preston… this time [against the North Heidelberg Bulldogs] we built up the momentum.

“The win was good for the boys’ confidence.”

The Eagles had faced the West Preston-Lakeside Roosters in round four, losing 74-57.

The Bulldogs were undefeated in the division’s first four weeks before facing Whittlesea.

The Eagles flew to their first win, defeating the Bulldogs 72-59.

Blair said the team had lost some much-needed momentum over 2020 when the season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

“We won in 2019, but then 2020 put a stop to our progress a bit,” he said.

“We definitely lost our pace because of last year and everything that happened.”

The Eagles earned a spot in division 1 after taking the crown in 2019’s division 2 competition, beating Banyule 74-47.

Blair said it is “hard to say” what to expect from the team heading into the rest of the season.

“Adjusting to division 1 is interesting,” he said.

“It’s taken us a few weeks to get used to it.

“We want to keep improving – win, lose or draw.

“We’re a young, exciting side and we’re looking to improve week in and week out.”

“It’s bigger, and more of a challenge going up to division 1.

“There’s a lot more that’s challenging, especially coming off the back of the year off.

“We’ve got a rhythm going now, hopefully we can continue and always improve.”

Blair said captain Xavier Dimasi is among a trio of clear standouts.

“The club’s really happy with [him as the] new captain.

“He saw us through some tough times earlier in the season.

“Blake Watson also had a fantastic start to the season.

“Max Dyson has probably been the most consistent player for the first five weeks of the season.

“There’s been too many injuries for the team… so those three are really pivotal.”

On injuries, Blair said he hoped the team would be back to full strength in the next few weeks.

“We lost some key players early, but hopefully we can get [them] back… and strengthen our side soon.”

The team will face the Macleod Roos next, who also recently secured their first win in the division 1 2021 season against the Montmorency Magpies.

The Whittlesea Eagles and the Macleod Roos battled it out on Saturday, the Eagles losing 66-55.