Craigieburn Eagles celebrated Robert Toller-Bond’s 200th Big V game in style, upsetting ladder-leaders Coburg Giants.

After an up and down start to the season, the Eagles used the Easter break to regroup and on Saturday night led from start to finish against the Giants, winning 89-77.

Eagles coach Simon Wilson said the team really wanted to win for Toller-Bond.

“The boys were really motivated and play well for him,” Wilson said. “He’s played with a number of these guys for a number of years. They wanted to get up for him.”

The Eagles were boosted by the inclusion of Liam Watt who missed the first three games through injury.

Wilson said Watt’s inclusion was a big lift for the boys.

“He sets the tempo and it filters through to the team.”

The Eagles led at every break but had to hold strong several times as the Giants came at them. Five players scored double figures, including the milestone man who scored 12 points in 12 minutes on court.

Aaron Carlton top-scored with 18 points, while import Damon Smith had 18 points.

Smith has been a standout in the first month of the season averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Wilson said Smith was playing an important role on and off the court.

“He’s a fantastic guy to have around the club,” he said. “He just has a fantastic sense of community.”

The win brings the Eagles back to 2-2 with Wilson saying they weren’t looking any further than this weekend.

Rob Toller-Bond. Picture Shawn Smits.

The women’s side had a good win in Kellie Baliey-Lynn’s 350th game.

Meanwhile, a big last quarter sealed Hume City Broncos’ win against Werribee Devils on Saturday night in Big V men’s state championship.

The Broncos led by three points heading into the final quarter, before a 41-26 last quarter sealed the 113-95 win. Veteran Luke Egan top-scored with 32 points, including five from six from beyond the arc. On Sunday, they made it two for the weekend, defeating Blackburn Vikings 86-78.

The women’s side also had a strong last quarter to win against Eltham Wildcats, 73-61. Nicole Zammit top-scored with 25 points.


Tara Murray