Hawks flying high

September 06, 2017

Going nowhere: Barooga duo Glenn Nye and Ricky Thomson wrap up Echuca United's Lance Oswald. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Dylan Brooks of Barooga tackles Farran Priest of Echuca United as he handballs during the MFNL seniors football elimination final between Barooga and Echuca United. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Barooga put paid to Echuca United’s finals campaign with an emphatic 98-point victory at Lonsdale Recreation Reserve in Mulwala on Saturday.

Co-coach James Hazelman was happy with the win and is now looking forward to the rest of the team’s finals campaign.

He said the Hawks were definitely expecting a real contest at Moama this coming weekend.

‘‘The first quarter panned out like that — for the first 25 minutes of that game there wasn’t much in it, I suppose,’’ Hazelman said.

‘‘But from quarter-time on we were able to control the game.

‘‘It’s a good confidence boost for the boys, but we know this week is going to be harder.

‘‘We haven’t changed much over the past six or seven weeks, we just knew we needed to get on top — and to do that early in the second quarter and go away with it was pretty pleasing.’’

Hazelman acknowledged the Hawks’ defence had excelled and said that was a positive factor throughout the year.

Apart from a couple of games where things slipped a little, the team’s robust defensive play had enabled it to go on to set up attack after attack in key matches during a highlight season.

‘‘That’s definitely a big focus of ours — not letting the opposition score, well, not too easily anyway,’’ Hazelman said.

He said despite the massive win, the Hawks will not be getting ahead of themselves in the current finals campaign.

‘‘We did a similar thing in last year’s first final, where we won by a pretty good margin, then came out and lost the next final.

‘‘With next Sunday’s match against Moama at Numurkah we may take all day to get over the top of them — they are a very hard side to beat.

‘‘It’s going to be a massive step-up for the weekend,’’ Hazelman said.

‘‘It’s a bigger ground and plenty of open areas down there, that will mostly suit our game style.

‘‘We will aim to start well and put a bit of pressure on them.

‘‘Numurkah have had a good couple of weeks too so they must be confident.’’

The Hawks will aim to contain Moama’s key players, but with the opposition’s even team strength they will need to ensure they don’t let other players get away with the ball too often.

Hazelman recognised that, like Barooga, the Moama team had the capacity to be a grand final contender.

‘‘This game is massive,’’ he said.

‘‘If we lose this one it’s season over — so it’s very exciting too.

‘‘We’re coming in with as good a form as anyone, so there’s no reason why we can’t go away with the points.’’

- Grahame Whyte

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