Tatyoon has advanced to a historic 12th senior football grand final since 2005 following a comprehensive preliminary final win over Penshurst on Saturday.
The Hawks and Bombers met at Willaura in a much-anticipated clash, with the Hawks finidng some great form in their previous finals.
The Hawks quashed any nerves or pre-game doubts early in the game, with nine scoring shots in the first quarter – including five goals – helping them out to a 22-point lead at the first break.
“We got away to a good start but were a bit wasteful in front of goal, we probably could have had about eight goals,” Tatyoon coach Simon Brearley said.
“We identified the fact when we played Penshurst earlier in the year we were playing catch up. We have had a great emphasis on starting well in this finals series.
“Once you’re in front it can be hard for sides to catch up.”
The Bombers were still well and truly in the game at half-time, trailing by 25 points but with the potential to chase Tatyoon down.
The Bombers kicked four third quarter goals but could not keep the Hawks quiet, as they booted five of their own to extend the lead to 32 points and make it tough for Penshurst.
The Bombers ran out of steam in the last quarter, failing to kick a goal as Tatyoon ran away with a 15.11 (101) to 9.6 (60) win.
“It was a bit of an arm wrestle but we pulled away in the third and fourth quarters which was really pleasing,” Brearley said.
“A real improvement in the last two weeks has been our defensive structure. We have created a lot of turnovers with some good pressure.”
In just his second game back after missing five-weeks with an injury, Sean McDougall was at his best to help the Hawks to victory.
“He probably played 75-80 per cent game time and spent more time in the midfield. He has been a champion player for a long time and he adds an extra dimension to our midfield,” Brearley said.
One month ago it looked unlikely the Hawks would win one final let alone reach the grand final after a tough finish to the season. Brearley said he has always had belief in his side.
“After the game there was a mix of relief and satisfaction. There was relief because they threatened to come back at us a few times but satisfaction because I have always believed we are good enough to play in the grand final,” he said.
Brearley and his coaching panel will be faced with some difficult decisions this week, with all players from Saturday’s preliminary final fit and another “five or six” vying for a spot.
“We are at as full strength as we are going to get,” Brearley said.
“Nathan Mahoney missed the prelim with a hamstring but could come back into contention among other guys vying for a spot.”
The Hawks will take on Wickliffe-Lake Bolac in the grand final.