EAGLEHAWK is back in the BFNL top five after dismantling Castlemaine by 77 points at Camp Reserve on Sunday.
Anything less than the four points would have dealt the Hawks’ finals hopes a crushing blow, but the visitors produced a much-improved performance to win, 19.13 (127) to 7.8 (50).
“Playing Castlemaine at Castlemaine can be risky, so a 13-goal win means we walk away pretty happy,’’ Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said.
After playing poorly in a narrow loss to Kangaroo Flat eight days earlier, the Hawks needed to show something against the Magpies.
Their forward line against Kangaroo Flat was dysfunctional and their kicking inside 50 was poor.
They were two areas of the game the Hawks improved significantly in Sunday’s win.
The inclusion of forwards Ryan Wellington and Daniel Johnstone paid instant dividends.
Wellington bagged four goals and Johnstone also kicked four goals in his first senior game.
“After half-time we started to play our brand of football which was pleasing,’’ Monaghan said.
“We were a lot more mobile inside 50 and we had plenty of options.
“I was critical of our ball use in the first half, but in the second half we attacked the ball with more intensity which created more space and we used the ball much better.
“It’s still an area of our game we need to improve.’’
Brodie Collins was a clear best on ground for the Borough, while Glenn Daly provided plenty of drive from half-back.
Riley McIvor and Kevin Archbold won plenty of the ball through the middle of the ground and Wellington and Johnstone played their role inside forward 50.
You can never doubt Castlemaine’s endeavour, but the Pies lack the class and run to go with the teams in the top half of the ladder.
Ruckman Tom Godsell battled hard, while David Stephens, Tom Horne and Alex Farrow impressed on a day when it was hard to find four-quarter contributors for the Pies.
The only negative for the Borough was a hamstring injury to Hayden Collins.
Monaghan said Collins was unlikely to play in next Saturday’s match of the round clash with Gisborne at Gardiner Reserve.
“Every week our season is on the line, so we’ll go to Gisborne and give it everything we’ve got,’’ Monaghan said.
It only gets tough for Castlemaine.
The Magpies head to the QEO to play a second-placed Sandhurst side which will be desperate to post a big score in a bid to close the percentage gap on top side Strathfieldsaye.