BRING IT ON

The Cobram Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Gra­hame Whyte

DOU­BLE DE­LIGHT: Ba­rooga’s Shaun Rob­bins is chaired from the ground at the week­end to cel­e­brate his 150th game and his team’s crush­ing vic­tory over Echuca United.

Ba­rooga put paid to Echuca United’s fi­nals cam­paign with an em­phatic 98-point vic­tory at Lons­dale Re­cre­ation Re­serve in Mul­wala on Satur­day.

Co-coach James Hazel­man was happy with the win and is now look­ing for­ward to the rest of the team’s fi­nals cam­paign.

He said the Hawks were def­i­nitely ex­pect­ing a real con­test at Moama this com­ing week­end.

‘‘The first quar­ter panned out like that — for the first 25 min­utes of that game there wasn’t much in it, I sup­pose,’’ Hazel­man said.

‘‘But from quar­ter-time on we were able to con­trol the game.

‘‘It’s a good con­fi­dence boost for the boys, but we know this week is go­ing to be harder.

‘‘We haven’t changed much over the past six or seven weeks, we just knew we needed to get on top — and to do that early in the sec­ond quar­ter and go away with it was pretty pleas­ing.’’

Hazel­man ac­knowl­edged the Hawks’ de­fence had ex­celled and said that was a pos­i­tive fac­tor through­out the year.

Apart from a cou­ple of games where things slipped a lit­tle, the team’s ro­bust de­fen­sive play had en­abled it to go on to set up at­tack af­ter at­tack in key matches dur­ing a high­light sea­son.

‘‘That’s def­i­nitely a big fo­cus of ours — not let­ting the op­po­si­tion score, well, not too eas­ily any­way,’’ Hazel­man said.

He said de­spite the mas­sive win, the Hawks will not be get­ting ahead of them­selves in the cur­rent fi­nals cam­paign.

‘‘We did a sim­i­lar thing in last year’s first fi­nal, where we won by a pretty good mar­gin, then came out and lost the next fi­nal.

‘‘With next Sun­day’s match against Moama at Nu­murkah we may take all day to get over the top of them — they are a very hard side to beat.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be a mas­sive stepup for the week­end,’’ Hazel­man said.

‘‘It’s a big­ger ground and plenty of open ar­eas down there, that will mostly suit our game style.

‘‘We will aim to start well and put a bit of pres­sure on them.

‘‘Nu­murkah have had a good cou­ple of weeks too so they must be con­fi­dent.’’

The Hawks will aim to con­tain Moama’s key play­ers, but with the op­po­si­tion’s even team strength they will need to en­sure they don’t let other play­ers get away with the ball too of­ten.

Hazel­man recog­nised that, like Ba­rooga, the Moama team had the ca­pac­ity to be a grand fi­nal con­tender.

‘‘This game is mas­sive,’’ he said.

‘‘If we lose this one it’s sea­son over — so it’s very ex­cit­ing too.

‘‘We’re com­ing in with as good a form as any­one, so there’s no rea­son why we can’t go away with the points.’’

Photo: LUKE HEMER

Pic­tures: Luke Hemer

Fly­ing tackle: Dy­lan Brooks of Ba­rooga tack­les Far­ran Priest of Echuca United as he hand­balls dur­ing the MFNL se­niors’ foot­ball elim­i­na­tion fi­nal be­tween Ba­rooga and Echuca United.

Go­ing nowhere: Ba­rooga duo Glenn Nye and Ricky Thom­son wrap up Echuca United’s Lance Oswald.

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