The Murrumbateman Eagles will go into the mid-season bye full of confidence after brushing aside the third-placed Southern Cats on Saturday at Kambah Oval, defeating the hosts 17.8.10 to 3.4.22 in Round 7 of the 2023 Community Men’s Division Three competition. 


It was a challenging week for the Eagles off-field with two players being ruled out to play for varying reasons, but it didn’t stop them from piling on eight goals to none in the first half and holding a 48-point lead at the main break.

Murrumbateman booted another nine goals to three in the second half to go on to record an 88-point win, locking themselves to second on the ladder after the first half of the season. 


Samuel Ryan-Baker, Cameron Hourn, Kaiden Armstrong, Mitchell Lamb, Jake Prince, and Pat Ryan were among the best players on ground for the Eagles against the Cats. 

The Eagles spread the load of goalkickers with 10 players hitting the scoreboard, including four from Samuel Ryan-Baker, three from Mitchell Lamb, two each to Blake Collins and Ben Telford, and singles to Cam Hourn, Pat Ryan, Matt Bell, Ash Johnston and David Jean. 

Eagles Coach Mark Welsh said his side used the Club’s off-field setbacks during the week as inspiration for the game. 

“It was a bit of an emotional game for us because we had some players have some medical emergencies during the week,” Welsh said. 

“I just reminded our boys of how lucky we are to have an opportunity to play sport in a safe town and be healthy and we don’t know when that’s going to get taken away from us.


“The boys really ran with that in mind, never to leave anything on the sidelines. They went out there with a lot of heart on the weekend. I thought it was going to be a much closer game than what it was, but they were just so determined to play for those two boys.


“Our two-time Best and Fairest and arguably one of our best week in and week out, Blake Hourn had a workplace incident and will be gone for the rest of the season. To be honest, he’ll be lucky if he can get back to a stage where he can play footy.

“Obviously at the moment, he is just thinking about getting back up and recovering and then getting back to some kind of normal life. That was a big incident for him.


“A couple of days earlier, Josh Wallace, who’s an inaugural player as well and has been around since the start of the Club, had some medical emergencies. He spent the week in hospital with some quite serious health issues. 

“Having two guys that have been around since the start of the Club both have some pretty significant issues in the same week really kind of drove home the idea of going out there each week and making the most of it, whether it’s for ourselves or for others.”

Welsh was also impressed with his side’s fast start, putting the result almost beyond doubt at half-time.


“It was a dry first half, so we were able to play a pretty good pressure game in those dry conditions. We lost a player in the first minute of the game to a massive cork in his leg, so we were down on rotations.

“It rained just after halftime, which turned it into a completely different wet game. We only conceded three goals for the whole game, which against the Cats is impressive. Defence and pressure was the two big factors for us.”


With the win against the Cats, the Eagles have now created a two-game buffer between themselves and third spot on the ladder, having a secure hold of finals footy in their hand. 


“That two-game buffer does take the pressure off at the back end of the season, but we won’t take the pedal off the accelerator. 

“We’re always going to be putting our best foot forward, but it is nice to know we have that gap now.”


All AFL Canberra competitions will have a bye this weekend for the King’s Birthday long weekend, before the Eagles take on Tuggeranong in Round 8 on Saturday 17 June at Kambah Oval. 



  • Yass – 28 points – 355%
  • Murrumbateman – 24 points – 316%
  • Goulburn – 16 points – 115.19%
  • Southern Cats – 16 points – 115.14%
  • Cootamundra – 8 points – 92%
  • Eastlake – 8 points – 48%
  • Belconnen – 8 points – 43%
  • Tuggeranong – 4 points – 32%

Tim Warren