HAVING secured what two weeks ago seemed an unlikely Bendigo Football League finals berth, Eaglehawk is determined to capitalise on its opportunity.
The Hawks - who snuck into fifth spot on percentage after upsetting Sandhurst last week - face Golden Square in Saturday night’s elimination final at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
“A couple of weeks ago it was looking like we weren’t going to be playing finals, so I suppose it’s a bit like we’ve been given a second chance,” Hawks coach Luke Monaghan said on Friday.
“But in saying that, it’s a final and an opportunity to take it a week further and that’s how we’re treating it.
“We’ll treat the opposition, who are the five-time reigning premiers and know how to win finals, with the utmost of respect.
“We know what we’ll be up against and we’ll certainly go out and give it our all.”
The Hawks were beaten by the Bulldogs by 69 and 34 points in their two home and away meetings this season.
“We’re going to need 22 contributors on Saturday night. We can’t rely on an out-and-out star to win us matches or spark us,” Monaghan said.
“We need everyone playing their role from the start.
“If you look at our best games this year, we’ve had guys contributing right across the board... be it five possessions with five tackles and a couple of smothers.
“And when you look at the games Golden Square has won, they would have had a run of 10-15 minutes where they would have absolutely dominated the opposition, so we’ll need to restrict their scoring when they have momentum.”
As well as limiting the damage when Golden Square gains the upper hand, the Hawks can’t afford to waste opportunities like round 16 against the Bulldogs when they kicked 8.18, and last year’s qualifying final when they kicked 8.17 against them in a four-point loss.
Young Bendigo Pioneer-listed tall Joshua Ryan and veteran Damien Lock, who returns from a calf niggle, are two inclusions for the Hawks, while Oliver Butler was the only out named Thursday.
Dylan Hanley Tyler Miles Sam Thompson
Glenn Daly Brenton Conforti Kevin Archbold
Brock Rogers Brodie Collins Hayden Collins
Sean Williams Cam McGlashan Ryan Wellington
Ben McPhee Joshua Ryan Riley McIvor
Tim Nicolson Luke Button Brodie Filo
Interchange: (from) Cody West, Damien Lock, Lachlan Atherton, Pascale Craig, Damian Wust
In: Damien Lock, Joshua Ryan
Out: Oliver Butler (unavailable)