Sandhurst celebrated former captain Wayne Mitrovic’s 100th game in style with a 27-point win over Eaglehawk at the QEO.
The Dragons were missing a host of senior regulars and played three quarters of the game with only two players on the bench after Blair Holmes (calf) and Mitch Dole (hamstring) suffered match-ending injuries.
The Dragons’ pressure around the contest, superior team work and structures allowed them to keep the Hawks at arms length all day.
Eaglehawk did get within 15 points of the Dragons midway through the last quarter, but the final scoreline 13.16 (94) to 9.13 (67) flattered the Hawks.
Sandhurst could and should have been five goals up at quarter-time, but wayward kicking kept the Hawks in the contest.
It was a similar story in the second term. Sandhurst had numerous opportunities to put the Hawks away, but they failed to do so and a late surge from the visitors kept the margin to four goals at the main break.
The six-goal margin at three quarter-time was a better indication of Sandhurst’s control of the contest.
A combination of Sandhurst running out of petrol tickets and Eaglehawk finally finding a way to hit targets enabled the Hawks to get a run-on in the final quarter.
However, the Borough lacked the class to make further inroads and the player with the most class on the ground – Sandhurst’s Andrew Collins – put the game to bed with two late goals.
Collins followed up his best on ground effort in last week’s inter-league clash with another sublime performance. He kicked four goals, had a hand in a couple of others and bought his team-mates into the game with efficient disposals.
While Collins could quite easily have received the 3, 2 and 1 votes for the Michelsen Medal, such was his dominance, the most pleasing sign for the Dragons was the form of Jon Coghlan.
The two-time best and fairest winner played his first senior game for the club in four years and gave Dragons fans a reminder of his class with some telling touches across half-forward, particularly in the first half when the game was up for grabs.
While Sandhurst had plenty of reasons to smile, the Hawks were left to lament a wasted opportunity.
The Hawks showed in patches that they’re a worthy top three contender, but until they can show that form on a consistent basis they’ll be back in the pack fighting for fifth spot.
For the Hawks, Ben McPhee battled hard, Brodie Collins picked up his fair share of contested footy and Matt Gretgrix kicked five goals.