Promising performance from Eagles

Brad Bryant was once again named amongst Penola's best players during his side's loss to Mundulla on Saturday. Picture: LACHLAN ONIONS.

By Lachlan Onions

Mundulla 10.16 (76) d Penola 6.6 (42)

Penola’s third-quarter fightback was not enough as Mundulla claimed another win and defeated the Eagles by 34 points in Round 9 of Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara football.

The first three quarters were an enthralling contest between second and 10th on the ladder.

“I thought it was a fantastic effort,” Penola coach Brad Maney said.

“It was arguably our best effort since Round 2.

“It might not look like we played four quarters of footy but I felt as though we did and there was a lot of satisfaction with our performance.”

Penola started the game strongly as it went toe-to-toe with the second-placed Tigers and the scores were tied at the first break.

“Whilst we had the wind in the first quarter, we struck a bit of rain which was a bit of bad luck,” Maney.

The Eagles were unable to keep the pressure on the Tigers in second quarter as the away side were held scoreless and Mundulla went into halftime with a 12-point lead.

The game returned to life in the third term when Penola had the breeze and the Eagles kicked three goals to be within five points of the home side at the final change.

However, the Tigers’ strength was displayed in the final quarter as they kicked five goals to win by 34 points.

“Mundulla showed their class and the reason why they have won four premierships,” Maney said.

“Their system and ball use really shone through late in the game.

“The better team lifted to get the win.”

Drew Clayfield was once again the Eagles’ main man in the forward line as he kicked two goals for Penola.

Scott Merrett put in another strong performance and was named Penola’s best on ground.

Merrett has been in solid form since the Interleague bye after he was one the the Eagles’ best players in Round 8 against Kingston.

Brad Bryant was once again one of Penola’s best players with another strong performance.

“I thought Brad Bryant was enormous, he rebounded from halfback and went through the midfield, he was really strong,” Maney said.

He was full of praise for his younger players, who stepped up against strong opposition.

“Jacob Pfitzner played his best game of the year across halfback and showed what the Penola supporter have become used to seeing over the last 10 to 15 years,” Maney said.

“I thought Dale Bunnik dominated his position in the ruck.

“Lochy Neale had a really good game in his second game, Caleb Lythgo continues to shine and Jacob Robbie did a really good job on Darcy King for us.”

James Hinge continued his impressive form for the Tigers as he kicked two goals to make it 14 majors in four games this season.