Narangba Clinches Title and Promotion
It was a fitting end to a season like no other – Narangba Eagles Football Club sealing the Capital League 3 title on a Monday night finale that had it all with a great number of supporters, enjoying the updated facilities.
Contiguous with a year of disruptions, a series of disputes between Football Brisbane and the Eagles’ grand final opponents, Springfield United, resulted in the match being rescheduled to the Monday.
It set the platform for a fiery encounter between the two leading sides of the competition, one with the best attacking record (Narangba) and the other with the best defensive record (Springfield).
The first period of the match didn’t play out that way though, as Springfield took the lead in the 28th minute via a long-range stunner from Cooper Weeks.
The home side missed an open goal soon after which would’ve levelled the scores, but they did manage to hit back on the stroke of half-time as Will Kirkbride converted a penalty awarded after a corner kick tussle.
“We’d actually done our homework on their goalkeeper and knew he liked to come out and contest corners, so we put a man right on him to block his path and that resulted in us winning the foul,” Narangba coach Nathan Walker said.
“Credit to the boys – they didn’t panic after going 1-0 down because they knew they had the ability.
“We only needed a draw to win promotion, but we definitely didn’t come out after the break playing for a draw – we wanted the win.”
It made for an exciting contest, but two goals in two minutes from Narangba’s Jamie Hilliar proved to be the difference as the Eagles took an unassailable lead.
His first came in the 57th minute with a classy finish off a rebounded shot from his brother, Cody, before skipper Ethan Wilson’s superb through-ball set him up for another and put the home side 3-1 in front with half an hour to play.
Some crucial saves from Narangba ‘keeper Malcolm Van De Graaff ensured the Eagles went on to claim the victory, but not before a series of controversial moments made for a tense finish.
Wilson’s night was soured when he was sent off in the 79th minute for a misguided challenge, while Springfield were given two red cards (including an assistant coach) in an eventful last 10 minutes as they held nothing back but ultimately fell short.
The home side were awarded the Capital League 3 title, as well as the coveted sole promotion into Capital League 2 for season 2021.
“We knew that Springfield would be a tough opponent, and both teams had their chances but the boys stayed strong and managed to come out on top,” Walker said.
“Malcolm had a blinder, and special mention as well to Chris Harris at left back who managed to contain their best player all night.
“It was definitely one of the trickiest seasons I’ve been involved in, with COVID putting a halt to our flying start to the season.
The biggest challenge was getting the boys prepared mentally after that – making sure they were in the right headspace every week and could adapt to the unique situations they faced this year.”
Walker joined Narangba the start of the season, looking to help turn the club’s fortunes around after a tricky few years led to their hiatus from the Brisbane competition.
The restructured season meant only one promotion spot was up for grabs – and the Eagles made it their mission to grab it.
“It’s a great achievement not only for this side, but everyone involved at the club – coaching staff, committee and supporters,” Walker said.
“We also managed to win the club championship with the reserve side finishing second overall which was another goal of ours before the season.
“Capital League 2 next year will be a big step up – but we’ve got some experienced guys in the squad who know what it takes to move through the ranks.
“It does mean we’ll be doing some more recruiting and competition for spots is only going to get more intense – but it makes for a strong squad with a lot of depth.
“There’s a lot of really good signs for this club moving forward.”
For more information about the club, visit Narangba Eagles Football Club facebook, or website www.narangbaeagles.com.au