Seven rounds into the BFNL season the doubters were circling Canterbury Park.
The reigning premier Hawks had just suffered a five-goal loss on home turf to Gisborne to slip to a 3-4 record.
One of those three wins was an unconvincing performance against Maryborough and the Hawks weren't playing with the same energy they had in 2018.
New coach Travis Matheson was under the pump.
Matheson had taken over a premiership side from club favourite son Josh Bowe.
Unfairly, Matheson was on a hiding to nothing as he stepped into Bowe's shoes. Anything less than a return to the grand final would have been seen as a failure by the Borough's passionate supporters.
After the loss to Gisborne on June 1, a grand final berth looked one million miles away.
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To Matheson's credit he didn't lose faith in what he was doing or his players.
In their next 13 games the Hawks won 12 and on Saturday they'll play Strathfieldsaye in another grand final.
"We had a number of key players who didn't get a decent pre-season in,'' Eaglehawk assistant coach Jeremy Brown said.
"We weren't playing our best footy early and Matho didn't have it easy. He didn't walk in and have everyone flying.
"He's been sensational. When we knew Bowey was leaving he was the only person we spoke to.
"His credentials are outstanding having coached several flags at Kerang, coached inter-league footy and had an association with the Pioneers.
"He's very good with his relationships with the players. He keeps calm, he doesn't raise his voice, he's very measured and thinks his way through situations.
"That rubs off on the players, they can see he's in control and that helps them if we're in a tight situation.
"He's been outstanding."
Eaglehawk captain Brodie Collins admitted some members of the playing group probably weren't as hungry as they should have been at the start of the season.
The premiership midfielder said the loss to Gisborne at Canterbury Park was the turning point of the Hawks' season.
"People might think that Bowey and Matho are chalk and cheese, but they're very similar people and they're similar in the way they want us to play footy,'' Collins said this week.
"Our start to the year wasn't great, but that was for a number of different reasons.
"Matho made some changes and the players did as well.
"We had to write down on a piece of paper what we thought of each other as a footballer.
"It was pretty honest feedback as to what you do well and what you don't do well. Everyone handled it differently, it came down to the personality of each player.
"That was one of many things we changed.
"Matho started wearing his pink budgie smugglers to games (after that loss to Gisborne). We went on a hot trot and the pink budgie smugglers got the blame for it, so he had to keep wearing them."
While there's some doubts surrounding the validity of Collins' pink speedo theory, Matheson is superstitious.
On match day he always has a Sherrin in hand when he coaches from the sidelines.
"No-one can get that footy off him,'' Collins said.
"It's a nervous thing. He has to have the footy in his hands.
"He loves his lollies as well. The trainers bring lollies out at the breaks, but when you come to the bench after three quarter-time there's no lollies left because the coaching staff have eaten them all and it's usually Matho."
Win or lose on Saturday, Matheson has done a great job with the Borough.
On top of leading the group back to the big stage, he's provided Collins with some inspiration for his Mad Monday costume.
"We'll try to get the pink budgie smugglers out on Mad Monday,'' Collins said.
"I might even have to dress up as Matho."
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