Sport

Hawks live up to expectations

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May 02, 2018

Ben "beast" Ryan getting carried off after playing his 300th club game for Barooga. Photo: Jackie Vogel.

It was a game it was expected to win and Barooga duly obliged, thumping a hapless Tongala to the tune of 72 points in an ominous performance.

While the game did not reach any great heights from a neutral fan perspective, it was certainly one to savour for Barooga veteran Ben Ryan, who laced up the boots for his 300th game for the club.

Billy Andrew, Will Gorman and Brodie A’Vard were again the Hawks’ most prominent players around the football, but it was the work of the forward line that impressed co-coach James Hazelman the most.

‘‘The most pleasing thing out of the game was that we had Lucas (Olson) kick seven goals and Spiro (Vourgaslis) kicked three and they are two boys who have probably been struggling a little bit at the start of the year, so for them to find a bit of form and touch on the same day is a bonus for us going forward,’’ Hazelman said.

The Hawks were able to effectively put the game away at quarter-time, kicking nine goals to Tongala’s two in the first term.

‘‘To start the game like that was obviously really pleasing,’’ Hazelman said.

‘‘We had a pretty big focus during the week to bring the right mindset and start the game well and put them out of it as early as possible and that’s what we were able to do.’’

Barooga recruit Cam Sudholz has started the season strongly, bagging four majors at the weekend in an accomplished performance.

‘‘Obviously Cam has the luxury to play at both ends, which is obviously a good thing for us,’’ Hazelman said.

‘‘On the weekend we were without Matt Demaio and Tyrone Downie, so we had to shuffle the side a bit which allowed Olson to play deeper and Cam to play centre-half forward, which worked well for us.’’

One player who has taken his game to new levels this year is Billy Andrew. Hazelman said it had been a major focus over the summer for the coaches to develop his midfield craft and he is now reaping the rewards.

This weekend Barooga faces the ultimate MFL test in Nathalia on its home turf in a preliminary final replay of last season.

Hazelman said for the first time this season the Hawks will have a full list to choose from, which would pose a few headaches for selectors. ‘‘We know they are probably the hardest team to beat in this competition and they have proven that in the last 10-plus years, so no doubt it will be a pretty contested type of game and I think whichever side holds in there the longest will come out on top,’’ Hazelman said.

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