Hungry Hawks put Demons to the sword by 122 points in Heathcote District elimination final

Huntly crushed Whte Hills by 122 points in Sunday's elimination final.
Huntly crushed Whte Hills by 122 points in Sunday's elimination final.

FOR the second time in three years, White Hills had its Heathcote District league season ended with a loss in a final by more than 100 points.

White Hills were put to the sword by a brutal Huntly, which crushed the Demons by 122 points, 23.17 (155) to 5.3 (33), in Sunday’s elimination final at Colbinabbin.

From 1980 onwards it’s the biggest blowout in a Heathcote District final, surpassing the 114 points Mount Pleasant defeated Elmore by in the 1994 first semi.

“Today we went away from what we did well against some of the better teams earlier in the year,” White Hills coach Brent Millar said.

“It just wasn’t our day and Huntly with a full strength team showed just how good a side they are.

“We won enough of the ball ourselves, but we turned it over too often and they made us pay, which is what good sides do.”

The Hawks are peaking at the right time of the year, with Sunday their fourth win in a row by more than 100 points as they set up a first semi-final encounter next Sunday against Colbinabbin.

Huntly led by 21 points at quarter-time, 44 at half-time and 81 at three quarter-time, before the final 122.

“We certainly didn’t expect to win by that sort of margin today; I’m obviously very pleased with how we went about it,” Huntly co-coach Jamie Hogan said.

“We bombed the ball into our forward line early, but once we lowered our eyes and started hitting up our short targets, the game started to get played on our terms.”

The Hawks’ slaughter included 10 players kicking goals, led by Michael Ryan (five), Ryan Semmel (four), Chris Gleeson (three) and Rhett Sutton (three).

Co-coach Semmel starred for the Hawks to be their best player, along with versatile big man Sutton in the ruck, up forward and even on the wing, while Ryan with his five goals after starting high and then playing deep was also a standout in an even team performance.

The Hawks had former Demon Jack Daley (groin) as a late withdrawal, with Matt Rule his replacement.

Playing against his former team, Ryley Dickens as part of the midfield rotation was named best for the Demons, who also lost the previous final they played by triple figures when beaten by North Bendigo by 106 points in the 2015 first semi-final, also held at Colbinabbin.

The under-manned Demons – who had seven players eligible to drop back to reserves next week – had their five goals kicked by Lachlan Sidebottom (three) and Gavin Bowles (two).

The heavy defeat came in David Wright’s 200th senior game for the Demons, who suffered injuries to Sean Christopher (shoulder) and Jasper Ibbeson-Coatsworth (hamstring).

“It’s disappointing it ended the way it did for us today, but I’m proud of the effort the boys have put in, particularly with the way our depth has been tested,” Millar said.