Sea Eagles shake off Cobras

Cora Lynn captain Gemma Stacey only has eyes for the ball against Inverloch-Kongwak on Saturday. 398177 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel

Back-to-back champion Inverloch-Kongwak has begun an historic quest for three-consecutive premierships with a 44-34 victory over a new-look Cora Lynn on Saturday.

New coach Liza Burrows has big shoes to fill this season, with former coach Jarrad Walker umpiring Saturday’s game after two years of premiership success.

Both Burrows and Walker would have been impressed with the first-up performance, with the Sea Eagles beginning well.

With Millie Sadler (GK) and skipper Renee Pilkington (GD) keeping things tight at the defensive end of the court, the Sea Eagles skipped out to a 10-7 lead at quarter time.

The margin blew out to 20-12 at the halfway point of the contest with familiar faces such as Kelsey Buxton (C), Lanni Pryor (WA) and Asha Boyd (WD) producing some fantastic work through the midcourt.

But Cora Lynn is chock-full of new faces this season and proved it will be no pushover with a strong second-half performance.

The Cobras matched the Sea Eagles with a 13-all third term, and were tough to shake off in the last; going down by only two.

There were plenty of positives for coach Lou Walsh to take away; with the Cobras sure to improve even further as their synergy continues to build.

Brooke Abu-Jaber (GS) was fantastic for the Cobras in the third term, scoring 11 of their 13 goals, while Annabel Sheppard (GD) joined the returning Danielle Cameron (GK) in an impressive defensive display.

Skipper Gemma Stacey (GS) gave great instruction from the attacking ring, while Alannah (C and GA) and Ellie Keen (C and WA) showed they will be versatile assets for Walsh and coaching team this year.

Lexi Schade (WA) and Paige Brooks-MacMIllan (WD) were others to show promising signs for the visitors; who have two weeks to prepare for a home game against Tooradin-Dalmore.

Inverloch will make the long trip to Warragul to take on the Dusties.

Phillip Island is also on the board after winning all four quarters on its way to a 48-37 win over a vastly-improved Warragul Industrials.

The Bulldogs looked terrific in the first half, opening up a 25-16 lead with Christie Edwards (C) and Ella Duggan (GA) providing star-shooter Lily Mewett (GS) with plenty of scoring opportunity.

The Dusties really tightened things up in the second half, with Brooke Weatherhead (GD) moving from midcourt to defence (GD), to help Natasha Green (GK) cope with her duties.

The Bulldogs won both quarters in the second half by one goal, in a positive sign of the Dusties’ competitiveness moving forward.

Anthea Bennett (GK) and Jaclyn Clark (GD) were rock-solid for the Bulldogs, while Holly Cheyne (WA) and Steph Warburton (WD) gave the Dusties great drive through the midcourt.

Things don’t get any easier for the Dusties, who host IK in round one on Saturday 13 April, while the Bulldogs head to Spencer Street to take on the Goon.