EAGLEHAWK kept their 2014 finals hopes well and truly alive with a 59-point win over South Bendigo at Canterbury Park on Saturday.
The Bloods trailed by only 21 points at half-time before the Hawks stepped up their intensity on the way to a 16.14 (110) to 7.9 (51) victory.
The Hawks’ Sean Williams strapped on his kicking boots for the second half – his first three shots of the day registered behinds – to finish with 4.4. Big spearhead Matt Gilmore also drilled four goals.
Eaglehawk’s second half was sparked by dynamic outside midfielder Brodie Filo who launched attack after attack from half-back and through the middle. He’d also contributed two first quarter goals.
Josh Ketterer completely nullified Bendigo Gold skipper Steve Stroobants and booted one memorable third quarter goal himself when he swooped on a loose ball 45 metres out and rammed home his shot.
The Bendigo Gold had the VFL bye this round, allowing Stroobants and Liam Byrne to play with South and Jesse Collins with the Hawks.
South stayed in touch early on through the accuracy around goal of Ryley Barrack (2 majors) and Josh Whelan coupled with the strong overhead marking of Ben Jones in the front half.
Just 21 points separated the sides at the long break but the Bloods couldn’t match Eaglehawk’s second half pressure.
Tim Nicholson took over in the ruck and booted a timely last term major. Tyler Miles, Brodie Collins, Glenn Daly, captain Luke Button and Jesse Collins held firm in the back half and across the centre.
The home side stretched the lead to four goals by three-quarter time before a last quarter burst of 6.6 completely sunk South.
After South’s Whelan had missed following a spectacular mark, Williams landed his best goal of the day. He scored with a set shot from the grandstand forward flank boundary line while Kevin Archbold stretched his personal tally to two with a 45-metre major.
Gilmore took full toll from a downfield free to sink his fourth for the day as Eaglehawk bombarded the town end goalmouth.
The Hawks suffered a major blow when pacy Tom Harrington was stretchered off in the second quarter with a knee injury.
Coach Luke Monaghan said he was pleased that Eaglehawk controlled the game for the most part although they hadn’t dominated on the scoreboard.
“We kicked too many points early on and didn’t make use of the footy that we had. But we were able to fix things up and not make so many decision errors. By the last quarter we had a really good term to kick 6.6,” he said.
The loss leaves South Bendigo firmly anchored at the foot of the BFNL ladder with one victory, especially considering Maryborough took its win tally to three with a thumping victory over Castlemaine.
Statistics – Stoppages: Eaglehawk 24, South Bendigo 23. Centre clearances: South Bendigo 15, Eaglehawk 13.
Inside 50: Eaglehawk 54, South Bendigo 41.
Eaglehawk 5.1 7.6 10.8 16.14 (110)
South Bendigo 1.2 4.3 6.8 7.9 (51)
Goals – Eaglehawk: Sean Williams 4, Matt Gilmore 4, Kevin Archbold 2, Brodie Filo 2, Riley McIvor, Glenn Daly, Tim Nicholson, Josh Ketterer. South Bendigo: Ryley Barrack 3, Galen Munari, Josh Whelan, Ben Jones, Kieran Strachan.
Best – Eaglehawk: Brodie Filo (best afield), Josh Ketterer, Tim Nicholson, Brodie Collins, Tyler Miles, Jesse Collins. South Bendigo: Kieran Strachan, Jake Smythe, Daniel Frew, Aaron Connaughton, Charles Trotman.