Hawks fall short

MDFL - Tatyoon fought the good fight but ultimately fell short of minor premier Penshurst in Saturday's Mininera and District Football League grand final.

Little separated the sides throughout the match at Willaura, but a superior fourth quarter allowed the Bombers to pull away to claim a two-goal victory, 16.7 (103) to 14.7 (91).

Tatyoon coach, Julian Sambell was understandably disappointed with the result, but not with the performances of his charges.

"We gave it a really good crack, but we just came up a bit short," he said.

"I can't fault anyone or anything. I'm really proud of the boys - Their effort was right up there.

"Penshurst played really well, but I think we played very well too. We just ran out of legs. Our midfielders couldn't get the rotations throughout the game and in the last quarter it cost us - They just got a burst and we couldn't stop them."

The match was hard fought from the opening bounce, with Tatyoon the first to penetrate the scoreboard six minutes in courtesy of a roving goal from Tyler Cronin.

Penshurst coach Grant Ewing was quick to follow suit after outmarking Ash Graham, who was working hard to nullify the dangerous forward.

Both teams were finding scoring hard to come by. Although Tatyoon captain Damian Cameron was winning the majority of the hitouts, Penshurst onballer Kane Uebergang was continually rebounding out of defence.

Teammate Luke Ferguson employed various penetrating kicks through the midfield, but a number of the Hawks' midfielders pushed back to curb their impact.

Cronin was getting plenty of the ball on the forward flank and wing, hitting up Ross Panther on a strong lead.

Panther's goal gave the Hawks a seven-point advantage, but the Bombers piled on two quick majors to claim a narrow five-point buffer by the first break.

Brad Everall continued the Bombers' momentum in the second quarter, scoring a goal from a tight angle one minute into the term.

The Hawks made a number of errors going forward, allowing the ball to be turned over, before Aidan Bell broke through to boot a goal from a set shot in the pocket.

Two quick majors to Brandon Ross allowed the Bombers to extend their lead, before the Hawks once again began to dictate terms, with Cameron a key playmaker.

Tatyoon was rewarded for controlling the play for a long period with a goal to Pat Tucker.

The Hawks went on to kick 4.1 for the remainder of the quarter to Penshurst's 3.3 to be within seven points at half time.

In the third quarter it was still anyone's game.

Tatyoon took charge early, with Panther converting from 50 metres out to draw the scores level, after Cameron's earlier attempt at goal resulted in a behind.

Panther booted a second major, while Sean McDougall began to have a major impact in the centre.

Uebergang continued his good form for Penshurst, kicking a long goal, with Ewing converting minutes later.

Sambell was leading by example, kicking through the middle to find Bell, who went on to kick two goals to give the Hawks a one-goal lead at the final break.

Bell scored the first major of the last quarter within the opening three minutes to extend the Hawks' lead, before a turnover resulted in a goal to Bomber Troy McCormack.

Teammate Chris Eales went on to kick a critical goal from a quick centre clearance, levelling the scores once again before a great goal from Uebergang on the boundary allowed Penshurst to get its nose in front.

The going was tough. Every possession was being contested and players had to work hard at each contest.

Unfortunately for Tatyoon, they fell off the pace as the quarter rolled on and another goal from McCormack gave the Bombers a 13-point buffer.

A minute later, Brenton McKenry broke through from a pack and ran in to kick the sealer.

The Hawks continued to battle it out and after 10 minutes of scrappy football, Sambell capitalised by running forward into an open goal to kick the last major of the match.

Despite the loss, Sambell took plenty of positives from the encounter.

"We moved the ball pretty well, we ran our guts out and the blokes put their bodies on the line," he said.

"There were some very sore bodies on both sides afterwards. Everyone was cramping by the end, but that's just the nature of footy."

Sambell said it was difficult to pinpoint the better players on the day because everyone did their job.

"There wasn't anyone who didn't play well and there wasn't anyone who was outstanding," he said.

Armstrong was named best on ground alongside Cameron and Aaron Bird.

Sambell was pleased with the efforts of Panther, who finished with five goals, along with Graham, who restricted Ewing to just two goals for the match.

"Sean McDougall was also really good, as was the midfield. Tim McDougall had quite a good game, as did Pat Tucker (one goal) and Aaron Bird," he said.

Ferguson (two) claimed the VCFL Medal and JA Knight Medal for his efforts in Penshurst's midfield, with Taylor McKenry and Uebergang (two) the Bombers' other top contributors.

Continued page 31.

The Hawks also encountered some bad luck along the way, with Andy Maconachie breaking his leg early in the first quarter.

Brandon Mason was the next casualty, copping a shoulder injury, before Tim Barr broke his arm later in the match.

Despite the downsides, Sambell said it was a good day for the club, with both the Hawks' reserves and under 16 sides claiming their respective flags.

"We were absolutely thrilled for them," Sambell said.

"The under 16s was a great game to watch. They were down for most of the game and came back to win. The reserves played really, really well and had a good win. We had a good night Saturday night, with everyone coming together to celebrate the two wins.

"I'd just like to thank the Tatyoon Football Club for giving me the opportunity (to coach), along with all the people who supported me and all the volunteers. It's most appreciated.

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