The first game of the season promised to be a good one with Willunga considered favourites after playing in last year’s grand final and the Bays not making the finals. Bays were quietly confident and following good wins in Junior Colts and Reserves, couldn’t wait to get started.
There was a fair breeze blowing and the Bays went with it. They had trouble finding the big sticks, kicking points. Bays scored their first goal with Illingworth on the run.
The ruck contest was interesting with two new players to the GSFL opposed. Callum Tonkin for the Bays seemed to have the early edge over Willunga’s Daniel Bass. Willunga forced the ball into space up forward and they soccered their first goal through.
Bays began to get some teamwork going when Campbell and Horrocks combined to find Neale for his first goal. Barnes kicked another to give the Eagles a 16 point lead at the first break.
The Bays started the second term looking good, but could not convert. Willunga had use of the breeze with Hoffman and Standfield both marking and kicking goals. Hutchens ran through traffic and kicked another to put the Demons in front. Not for long though as Bays used the ball well to see Marshall then Karpany kick goals. The dangerous Hoffmann replied for his team and Bays 5.7 led Willunga 5.5 at half time.
The third quarter saw Bays gradually increase their lead with the wind and the game should have been virtually over. Through hard work, Jed Wilson snapped truly and Neale kicked another. Bays were 17 points in front at the last change and it looked like being a cliff-hanger.
The Eagles came out playing tough relentless footy against the breeze. They won the ruck contests and mid field battle. The backs were solid and Karpany and Neale up forward kicked three between them.
This made it impossible for their opponents to win. The Demons rallied late. Cook, Telfer and Hoffmann kicked the last three goals of the game. However at the siren it was Bays 10.11 to Willunga 8.6.
The game was won in the centre with Callum Tonkin doing a superb job. Bays strong midfield took advantage of opportunities with Ben Davis a shining light. Campbell and Illingworth kept firing the ball into Neale who produced four goals.
For Willunga, Hoffmann impressed, Alexopoulos was solid in defence and Brown, Nelson, Ficken and Bass played well.