Eden Whalers were defeated by Merimbula Diggers 6.10 (46) to 16.13 (109)
The Eden Whalers Football Club played its game of the season on Saturday.
The senior Aussie rules squad played host to
the second placed Merimbula Diggers.
The club said plenty of supporters were on hand as the day coincided with Shannon Kirkby’s 21st birthday.
The club wished her a happy birthday and welcomed her as umpire for the match.
Club members said it was great to see women getting involved with three female umpires on the day.
Kirkby was central umpire, while Ally Crowe and Dakota Hooper worked the boundary.
Shane Clohesy joined the Whalers for a last hurrah before moving to Batemans Bay, and had a strong impact on the game.
Officials said the club’s affiliation with Canberra and Albury players has certainly helped in the progression of skills and ability of the team.
It has also “injectedsome much needed confidence into the side”.
The game started as a nail-biter with the Diggers narrowly edging ahead in the first quarter.
With just a 10-point margin, the second stanza was shaping up as a challenge.
The Whalers responded to the Diggers attack throughout the midfield with John Love, Matt Hooper, Terry Grant and “Crusher” working tirelessly to move the ball forward.
Fans described the quarter as an “epic battle” with the Whalers keeping Merimbula to just two goals.
Heath Chester was a welcome return to the squad and veteran Paul “Plugger” Kirkby provided the enthusiastic crowd some great entertainment on the field.
Club faithful Stu Conn brought his runners along while visiting town and ran water for the boys.
During halftime, the Whalers were asked to dig deep and apply pressure to the Diggers forward line by coach Greg Hooper.
When play resumed, the backline stood up and all players performed well throughout the match.
Despite the scoreline extending in Merimbula’s favour, the Whalers continued to show solid form in the third quarter.
The crowd was building and showing their support for the Whalers.
The Whalers rallied around the cheers and kicked three unanswered goals.
However, the Diggers fought back to keep a reasonable lead of 35 points going into the final quarter.
John Love kept moving the ball forward from the centre, hoping the forwardline could capitalise on his efforts.
Meanwhile, Matt Hooper moved to the backline to keep pressure on the Diggers.
Unfortunately, he was sent off halfway through the quarter, which enabled the Diggers to run off with the game.
The club said the game provided good experience for the team and expects they will pick up a win soon.
The awards for the day went to:
Bi-Lo award: John Love.
Eden Motor Group award: Ryan Turnbull.
Eden Radiator and Exhaust award: Ian Merrington.
Cass’s Corner Store award: Scott Munday.
Eden Carpet Cleaning Award: Matt Hooper.
Eden IGA award: Chris Archibald.
Golden Ocean Restaurant award: Jaydn Spivey.
Eden Fishermens Club award: Braedan Deas.
The club said it was grateful for the continued support from local business and fans.