Bombers shot down in Eagles opening-quarter ambush

AFL Wide Bay grand final - N.E McLean Oval, Hervey Bay - Players from Across The Waves and Hervey Bay Bombers form a line to sing the national athem before the match.
AFL Wide Bay grand final - N.E McLean Oval, Hervey Bay - Players from Across The Waves and Hervey Bay Bombers form a line to sing the national athem before the match. Griffith Thomas

FROM outside the team and to the casual aussie rules follower Across The Waves's 14.16 (100) to 10.6 (66) win over Hervey Bay in the Wide Bay AFL senior grand final was a complete shock.

But from inside the camp of the victors it was a different story.

For the past six weeks coach Shaun Stone has been drawing up plans on how the Eagles were going to shoot down the high-flying Bombers and get revenge for the 2013 grand final embarrassment.

"There was a bit of revenge in there that's for sure," a jubilant Stone said about the victory.

"It doesn't give back the result from last year, but we worked hard for it and got the right result.

"There was no way we were going to dish up what we did last year and the boys came to play and when they're on they're hard to beat."

Knowing what worked in past seasons the ATW game plan was to spread the ball from stoppages, use its ability to run and carry the ball and not kick wildly into the forward line. Stone had each one of his 22 players reading from the same play book and they pulled off their roles


Chasing three premierships in a row Hervey Bay came off a two-week break were indecisive - ATW's pressure on the ball carrier was at its best and the usually-clinical Bombers second-guessed themselves and fumbled the ball more than ever this season.

Skipper Ryan Paterson won the toss and elected to kick with the breeze, and the clear message from Stone was to start the game well, Patrick Power stunned the home crowd with three goals in the opening term to give his team a 5.4 (34) to 1.1 (7) lead.

ATW's star midfielder Mathew Stevens injured his back in the first quarter and didn't return for the match, against the Hervey Bay on-ball brigade led by Bradley Richards it could have spelt disaster.

Hervey Bay rallied in the in the second term and when wingman Dylan Ward guided a left-foot snap through the goals the margin closed to nine points, but that was as close as it got.

With Stevens on the bench Paterson, Michael Blair and best on ground winner Russell Vandenberg filled the void left by Stevens and the Eagles were always in control. Power finished with eight majors and took home the coach's award as well as a premiership medal. Another ATW highlight was Ronnie Blair's ability to shut down Richards.


Wide Bay AFL grand final

Across The Waves 5.4, 7.9, 11.12, 14.16 (100) d Hervey Bay 1.1, 5.5, 7.6, 10.6 (66)

Goals - ATW P Power 8, M Blair 2, R Vandenberg, J Bethune, J Trotter, R Paterson.

Hervey Bay I Dunbar 3, J Crowe 2, T Andrews, D Ward, S Collier, S Buckley, J Powley.

Best on ground: Russell Vandenberg (ATW).

Coach's player of the game: Patrick Power (ATW).

Topics:  across the aussie rules bundaberg grand final hervey bay bombers sport

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