In front of a packed QEO, the Tigers crept out to an eight-point lead at quarter-time but were then outscored by the Hawks 12 goals to eight in the final three terms.
It was a remarkable turnaround by Eaglehawk. Without the league’s leading goalkicker in Matt Gretgrix and prolific small forward Jarrod Findlay the pre-match pundits suggested Eaglehawk lacked firepower in the front half.
Into the breach stepped reliable flanker Sean Williams named as an out and on the “injured” list along with Gretgrix and Findlay in Friday’s Bendigo Advertiser.
Williams played his best game for 2015, nailing six goals, while his teammates in the back half choked the usually prolific Tiger forwards.
Brenton Conforti and Tim Hill shut down big James Meiklejohn and Mitchell Scholard restricting them to a total of three goals between the pair.
Ben Weightman did his bit to lift the Tigers. The second highest goalkicker in the league this season, Weightman took his 2015 total to 76 with three in the elimination final.
The Hawks didn’t kick a major until six minutes into the second term through Brodie Filo who was hampered by a knee injury. Two goals from Williams handed the Two Blues a 13-point lead at the main break.
Kyneton’s cause wasn’t helped by a lack of discipline from veteran Darren Chambers. He was booked for allegedly striking Ben Holman and spent 15 minutes of the vital third term in the ‘sin bin’.
Four of the first five goals of the third term virtually shut the door on Kyneton as Eaglehawk scooted out to a game-high 31-point lead.
Even though Meiklejohn slashed the Eaglehawk lead to 12 points with the first goal of the last quarter, that was as close as the Tigers were to get.
Williams hammered home his fifth and sixth goals in quick succession fed by hard-working midfielders Ben McPhee and Brodie Collins.
Eaglehawk 0.2 4.5 8.9 12.17 (89)
Kyneton 1.4 2.4 5.9 9.9 (63)
Goals – Eaglehawk: Sean Williams 6, Cam Milward 2, Ben McPhee, Pascale Craig, Brodie Filo, Joshua Ryan. Kyneton: Ben Weightman 3, Mitchell Scholard 2, Rhys Magin 2, James Meiklejohn, Alik Magin.
Best – Eaglehawk: Sean Williams (best on ground), Ben McPhee, Brodie Collins, Lachlan Ryan, Brenton Conforti, Tim Hill. Kyneton: Ryan Carafa, Alik Magin, Jake Hyland, Joshua Houlden, Rhys Magin, James Meiklejohn.
IN Saturday night’s qualifying final Golden Square unleashed a workmanlike second half to down a battling Sandhurst by 18 points.
Just a single point separated the clubs at half-time and then they were separated by one goal at the last change before a last quarter, which yielded 4.8, got the Square home.
They’ll face unbeaten minor premiers Strathfieldsaye Storm in the major semi-final on Saturday evening with the chance to move straight into their seventh BFNL grand final in eight years.
The Bulldogs star Corey Jones showed how valuable he is to the Square’s 2015 premiership hopes.
Jones booted six goals and had a hand in several others.
But when the Dragons’ Lee Coghlan booted the first goal of the final term scores were level and Sandhurst wasn’t going to go quietly away.
Square’s Tom Toma capped off a fine game with a major before key forward Ryan Herring marked five metres out and drove home his second goal. The Dogs were snarling.
Adam Parry handed the Dragons a lifeline with a wonderful snap before quick responses from teenager Riley Saunders and Jones’ sixth sealed a spot in the second semi-final for Golden Square.
Golden Square 5.4 6.4 10.6 14.14 (98)
Sandhurst 2.0 6.3 9.6 12.8 (80)
Goals – Golden Square: Corey Jones 6, Ryan Herring 2, Tom Toma, B. Ryan-Storey, J. Burke, James Sullivan, Riley Saunders, Dale Lowry. Sandhurst: Lee Coghlan 4, Matt Thornton 3, Adam Parry 2, Nick Stagg, Koe Ngawati, Tom Calvert.
Best – Golden Square: Corey Jones (best on ground), Travis Baird, Jack Geary, Tom Toma, Ryan Herring, Jack Daley. Sandhurst: Lachlan Tardrew, Tim Martin, Jake McLean, Matt Thornton, Adam Parry, Koe Ngawati.
Second week of finals, Saturday night second semi-final: Strathfieldsaye Storm v Golden Square. First semi-final, Sunday afternoon: Sandhurst v Eaglehawk.