EAGLEHAWK and Gisborne put their seasons on the line in the Bendigo Football League tomorrow night in the first semi-final at the QEO.
Gisborne – which has lost captain Casey Summerfield to a two-match suspension – last week defied its underdog status to comfortably account for Sandhurst by 41 points in the elimination final to win its fourth game in a row.
Eaglehawk has used up the double chance it earned for finishing second after kicking itself out of the qualifying final against Golden Square last Sunday.
Despite having six more scoring shots than Golden Square, the Hawks were beaten by four points as they paid the price for a wasteful 8.17.
“The game could have gone either way last week and unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of it,” Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said.
“We’ve been on the right end of a couple of close games this year, but that’s the way footy goes and we’ve got to bounce back this week.
“The guys have been really positive this week and the feeling around the group is we can get a lot of confidence in how we played last week and how we fought back during different situations.
“We’ve got areas we need to improve on, but they are only minor areas. We have confidence that we finished in the top three for a reason and good sides bounce back.”
Eaglehawk and Gisborne split their home and away meetings 1-1, with the most recent of those clashes in round 17 when the Hawks cut what had been a 47-point three quarter-time deficit to a final margin of eight points.
“Gisborne was brilliant against us a couple of weeks ago and has been able to maintain that form in round 18 against Castlemaine and last week against Sandhurst,” Monaghan said.
“We know the style of footy they’re going to play, but we think we’re playing some good structured footy and hopefully, we show that Saturday night.”