The Mid Canterbury Eagles have claimed back to back titles in the the Canterbury AFL (CAFL) Premiership after they defeated the Eastern Blues by 21 points at QE2 Park in North New Brighton.
It was the second straight season that the two teams have contested the CAFL final, with the Eagles taking the honours in 2020.
With a core of experienced players, the Eagles were quick out of the blocks. Andrew Howison, Josh Robles and Paddy Smith were all strong in the first quarter and moved the ball forward, but the Eagles were unable to capitalise. The Blues defensive outfit, led by Kieran Charlton targeted AFLNZ Premiership golden boot James Southby, which kept them to a slight lead and the end of the first term.
The Blues found their feet in the second quarter and were relentless with their attacking pressure. League Best and Fairest, Dan Farrar was showing off his skills and creating plenty of opportunity in the forward line. With a couple of late goals, the Blues found themselves back in the game at halftime.
The Eagles fought back again in the second half of the game. Their fitness shone through as they kicked back to back goals to extemend their lead.
The Eagles then controlled the final term as they ran out 21 point winners and claimed their second consecutive title.
New Zealand Falcons Captain Andrew Howison put in another grand slam performance in big games to win the 2021 Niki Dow Award (Best on Ground) for the second straight season. His solid performance as sweeper cleaning up the mess and delivering clean ball to the forward line saw him take out the award. Howison played against Niki in 2009 and was very honoured to receive the award.
Thanks to all of the players, officials, volunteers and supporters who contributed to a very successful season.
Mid Canterbury Eagles: 6.11: 47 def. Eastern Blues 3.8: 26
Photo: Matthew Musson