A SEVEN-GOAL to one third quarter was the catalyst for Eaglehawk’s resounding 64-point first semi-final win over Gisborne on Saturday night.
The Hawks trailed by a point at half-time, but took over after the main break.
Led by defender Darcy Richards, the Hawks ran all over Gisborne, winning 18.14 (122) to 8.10 (58) to book a preliminary final berth against Strathfieldsaye.
“We bounced back well from the loss to Golden Square,’’ Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said.
“We didn’t want to go out in straight sets and, to the boys credit, they got the job done well.”
It didn’t look good for the Hawks early after Gisborne opened with the first three goals of the game inside 11 minutes.
The Borough tightened up through the middle and their back six took over, restricting Gisborne to just five more goals for the rest of the match.
Richards was oustanding off his half-back flank.
For the second-straight week he was arguably his side’s best player.
In the first half he constantly stopped Gisborne’s forward thrusts by taking intercept marks, while in the third quarter he helped break the game open by drifting forward and kicking two team-lifting goals.
He was ably assisted down back by the under-rated Brenton Conforti, Luke Button, Tim Hill, Glenn Daly and Tyler Miles.
At the other end of the ground, Kain Robins and Matt Gretgrix took advantage of the Borough’s midfield dominance.
Robins clunked 10 marks and kicked one goal, while Gretgrix returned to his brilliant best with 6.2 from seven marks.
Brodie Collins and Brodie Filo did the damage through the middle, while veteran ruckman Tony Plim played his best game of the season.
On the other side of the coin, Gisborne had few winners.
The Bulldogs’ field kicking was poor which didn’t help their key forwards, while star midfielders Ollie Messaoudi and Casey Summerfield had little influence on the game.
Jarrad Lynch, Anthony Belcher, Patrick Fitzgerald and Harrison Huntley battled hard on a sorry night for Gisborne.
“Eaglehawk were just too good,’’ Fitzgerald said.
“The longer the night went the worse we got.
“Eaglehawk dominated the contested ball after half-time and with quality players up forward like Robins and Gretgrix...they hurt us.”
Gisborne had high hopes going into the 2013 season, but never really hit top gear on the back of a frustrating run of injuries.
“It’s been a wasted year – that’s how we see it,’’ Fitzgerald said.
“We didn’t get any continuity throughout the year.
“We lost blokes for five or six weeks and then it takes them another five weeks to get going.
“It was a disappointing season.”
The only negative on the night for Eaglehawk was the sight of star centreman Lucas Matthews and ruckman Plim sitting out most of the final quarter on the bench with leg injuries.
“We’re very confident they’ll be right to play next week,’’ Monaghan said.
“It was only a precaution to take them off.
“Lucas is very happy with the way we’s pulled up, so he’ll be right to go next week.
“Plimmy got a knock on the knee, but we’ll manage him through the week and he’ll be fine.”