K rock Football

Eagles look to extend winning start

Newtown & Chilwell coach Damien McMahon (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

HAVING made its best start to a season in the GFL era, Newtown & Chilwell will look to further consolidate its spot inside the top three when it hosts fellow finals contender Colac at Elderslie Reserve.

Until last week’s 136-point hiding of North Shore, the Eagles had never won four consecutive matches to open a year, – even during its glory years under Kevin Higgins in the 1980s that yielded three premierships.

The cynics will point to the relative ease of their draw, with their victims including the Seagulls, Lara, Geelong West and a struggling St Mary’s.

That’s why coach Damien McMahon is keen for Saturday’s clash with the Tigers.

“Colac has been really strong for a number of years; they’ve started off the season really well – a close one for them with St Mary’s,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to a big clash at home. It’s a good opportunity to play some good competition.”

Much of the Eagles’ early success has been built on an impressive backline, which has conceded an average of just 40 points per game, with the 63 points kicked by Geelong West in Round 1 the most they’ve given up.

“Our defence is something we’ve been working on for the last couple of years, and we’ve really developed some good key backs, with (Luke) Maddock, (Braeden) Hocking and Nelson Browne,” McMahon said.

“Then having guys the ilk of (Alex) Cincotta and Mitch Diamond, it’s a really good blend of talls, quicks, and skills.

“So, it’s no surprise our defensive group’s been really solid.

“And in fairness to those guys, it’s probably been our strongest line for the last couple of years. It probably hasn’t been supported as well by our forwards up the ground.

“So I think more forward pressure has allowed our defence to get a little bit better.”

Young key forward Will Robinson will return after missing the win over North Shore, while Alex Cincotta’s availability is dependent on the fitness of players at Geelong.

The defender, who was the VFL carryover player last week and warmed-up with the Cats ahead of its MCG clash with Essendon, has been named Geelong’s extended bench.

Twitter: @tom_king79