Sport

Barooga has point to prove in opening match

By Andrew Johnston

Some would say it was to be expected.

A grand finalist team last year returning to the field with players playing their natural game.

For Barooga, it was slightly different.

They had a point to prove in the opening match of the season.

‘‘A lot of people have written us off,’’ coach James Hazelman said.

‘‘They’ve looked at the players who have left the club and probably thought we wouldn’t be as good of a side.’’

At the end of the round, the message was pretty clear — Barooga was not going anywhere.

The Hawks were dominant in the opening match of the Murray Football League for 2019, kicking 17 goals in their 94-point victory against Katandra.

Hazelman said his club was proud to get an early victory on the road.

‘‘It’s never easy to start with an away game,’’ he said.

‘‘We had to give it our best if we were going to win and we were able to do so for the first three quarters.’’

The Hawks kicked 16 of their goals before three-quarter-time, with 11 goal kickers getting on the board.

The side went into their shells in the final term, which Hazelman puts down to round one fatigue.

‘‘It was a warm day and that starts to affect you,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that would have been pretty common across the whole league on Saturday, people would have been cramping up as they readjusted to match play.’’

While Hazelman understood his players fatiguing, he said the team would still have to work on taking their chances.

‘‘We had as many entries in the final quarter as we had at any other stage in the game,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to work on our goal kicking, we need to make sure that we take our opportunities going forward.’’

Barooga now faces fellow top four side Tungamah, with Cobram on the horizon the week after.

‘‘We have a couple of really big games coming up,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re matches that we can use as a statement to the rest of the competition that we are still a genuine threat.’’