EAGLEHAWK underscored its standing as a top-three ladder contender with an emphatic 45-point win over former leading side Strathfieldsaye on Saturday.
With spearhead Matt Gretgrix unstoppable up forward as he drilled seven goals, Ben McPhee the most prolific midfielder on Canterbury Park and youngster Oscar Madden shutting down Storm goalsneak Lachie Sharp, the Hawks surged further ahead at each break.
Strathfieldsaye could manage just a miserable nine goals for an afternoon’s work.
Gretgrix saw off two Storm defenders in Keelan Payne and Nick Clydesdale as he took his season’s goal tally to 65 with Eaglehawk roaring home 17.12 (114) to 9.15 (69).
The Storm’s only real competitive quarter was the first. With Shannon Geary and Kellan Smith providing the spark, and Geary on target with his goalkicking, Strathfieldsaye was just four points down at the first change.
And that was despite Gretgrix sinking three majors at the Simpson’s Road end, with his second and third coming from set shots.
The Hawks gradually forged further and further ahead with Matt Filo drilling two second term goals, Cam McGlashan kicking truly after a strong overhead grab and Gretgrix twice outmarking Payne for a pair.
There was some drama at the Simpson’s Road end goalmouth. Storm’s Jake Hall appeared to have snapped truly for a major, but after three umpires conferred – a central, a boundary and the goal umpire – Hall’s shot was ruled touched as it travelled over the line.
The Hawks added five goals to three in the third term with McPhee dominant around the stoppages.
The Storm looked cooked. Even though Sharp nailed his second major from a set shot after playing on, but then being called back to take his kick, Hawks’ skipper Tim Hill and Madden shut down the Strathfieldsaye forwards.
McPhee nailed two Eaglehawk goals, both from snaps, Gedd Hommelhoff bobbed up with another after Riley McIvor had sweetly passed the ball to him and by the last change Eaglehawk was in complete control, seven goals up.
The last quarter was just a formality. Even though Storm’s Harry Conway nailed an early set shot Strathfieldsaye’s fourth term tally ended up as a paltry 1.7.
Gretgrix took his individual goal tally to seven after marking strongly, playing on and sending a high bomb through the big sticks.
And even though he didn’t add to his one major from the first term, Sean Williams’ marking and forward line teamwork was outstanding.
Hawks’ coach Josh Bowe said adding to the club’s midfield depth was something he’d identified when he’d first been appointed.
“We’re really happy about how we’re going with that part of our game, especially with our young players such as Gedd Hommelhoff and Dylan Hanley coming on.
“But overall we’ve got real belief we’ve got that good footy in us, even though the team might have been a little bit rusty early in the season.
“We’re really starting to get it together now,” Bowe said.