Early goals set up Eco title shot

WATER POLO

ECO Energy will be out to stop the Tigers’ roar next Friday night after they set up a grand final showdown with a one goal preliminary final win over Southgate on Friday night. 

Backing up from a three-goal loss to the Tigers in the major semi-final the night before, Eco held on for a 5-4 win.

They came out well scoring two quick goals to lead 2-nil midway through the first quarter.

Grant Hopson got Southgate on the board half a minute later but Tony Fisk struck with just over a minute to go in the quarter to restore Eco’s lead to two at the break.

That proved the difference in the end with Laarn White scoring the only goal in the second quarter to bring it back to 3-2 at the main break.

Eco jumped away again to a two-goal lead in the third quarter with Fisk and Jackson Sharpe netting their second goals but as was the case in the second quarter they couldn’t get through the Southgate defence in the final quarter.

But Southgate could only take a goal off them.

Hopson slotted that with over four minutes remaining. Eco keeper Sean Hofman said the pace of the game really picked up in the last four minutes as they looked to give themselves a bit more of a buffer and Southgate searched for an equaliser.

Both sides had their chances, Southgate just missing on a couple of ocassions with one shot hitting Hofman in the chest and another just going over the top.

“It was prety close,” Hofman said.

“The boys were a bit tired after the game Thursday night.”

He said after getting that early break they really concentrated on holding Southgate out, which they did reasonably well.

That was probably what won the game for them.

“The boys held a good defensive structure, which helped,” he said.

They were still without a couple of their big guns – and will be for the grand final – with Jordan Sharpe and Ryan Martin both out with serious injuries.

“We lose a bit in attacking flair and general organistation in the field, but the other boys all stepped up to the plate,” Hofman said.

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