ECHUCA UNITED Football Club may have caused one of the biggest upsets in the Murray Football League this season with a win over Barooga on Saturday.
Every player on the field made an impact in some way to show the Eagles are not only competitive against the top sides — they can beat them too.
Lance Oswald has made an incredible comeback to be named best on ground in the stunning 16-point victory over the Hawks at Echuca South Recreation Reserve.
In only his third senior game since suffering an injury in round three, Oswald kicked an impressive four goals in getting the home side across the line.
Coach Guy Campbell said every player was close — if not equal — to his performance, making picking the best players a near impossible task.
‘‘When you look at every name on the board on Saturday everyone made an impact in some shape or form,’’ he said.
‘‘The game had everything and there were lots of good moments in the game from our perspective.
‘‘It was the way we’d all been waiting to play all season — a great team effort.
‘‘Lance had a huge impact and has really stepped up his footy since coming back, but every player was brilliant especially our defence.’’
The Hawks went into the game as clear favourites but were restricted in their ability to play from the onset to give United an 11-point lead by half-time. The Eagles were up by three points at the first break (2.1 to 2.4) and had Barooga looking rattled, unable to play their usual style of game.
The Eagles overall pressure at every stage helped deliver the team its most satisfying win in a long time.
‘‘For us being able to limit the opposition’s ability to play is what we did incredibly well (on Saturday),’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We put a big emphasis on it during the week and it’s probably opened up a lot of eyes from other teams.’’
And it wasn’t only their ability to create scoreboard pressure which gave them the upper hand as the back six worked tirelessly to keep four of the league’s leading goal kickers to a minimal impact.
The performance from Jack Hajro, Luke Sanderson, Corey Wanganeen, Marcus Roberts, Kyle Coates and Tom McMinn meant Tyrone Downie scored just one goal for the game and Will Gorman kicked two.
Three goals to 1.4 in the second term enabled the Eagles to get the upper hand and they ran with it in the third, scoring another 2.3 to three points.
A 23-point lead going into the fourth quarter was still a surmountable challenge for an outfit like Barooga, however United wasn’t about to let the game get away from it.
A goal and two points in the final term was enough to get the Eagles the four points, winning 8.9 (57) to 5.11 (41).
There were plenty of heated exchanges on the field and from dedicated supporters who erupted at the final siren in an elated roar from the hill.
Farran Priest, Brayden Worsnop, Zac Mihocek and Jamie Ferguson each kicked one goal and Dean Moon and Nicholas Denahy were also among the best players.
Campbell said the most important thing to come from the game was a final belief in knowing they could play out a game against one of the top sides.
‘‘It’s been a pretty interesting week in terms of top six with Nathalia also getting beat by Mulwala,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘I think the six is set, but there will be plenty of changes throughout the season between those teams.’’
United play Nathalia this weekend and Campbell said even if the Purps hadn’t lost on Saturday they would still be going into the same confident in getting another win.