Hawks outlast powerhouse
Barooga fired a stern warning shot to the rest of the MFL that it means business this season, outlasting powerhouse club Nathalia in a spirited game to record its fifth victory on the trot.
In a preliminary final replay of last season, the Hawks turned the tables to inflict Nathalia’s first loss of the season by 13 points.
Since Barooga was upset by Cobram in round one, the Hawks have bitten back with a vengeance, defeating premiership threats Nathalia and Numurkah as well as the vastly improved Rumbalara along the way.
There was nothing between the two sides at the first change. But the course of the match was altered when Barooga kicked three goals in the second term while keeping Nathalia goalless.
That burst proved to be the difference in a lowscoring affair, with the ultra-resilient Purples unable to haul in the two-goal buffer at the major change.
The result showed Barooga can match it with any team in the competition when it is in the mood.
‘‘It was really pleasing to beat Nathalia,’’ Barooga coach James Hazelman said.
‘‘They’ve been the best side for more than a decade and it was a pretty physical contest. There were some sore boys after the game, so we were pretty happy to come away with the four points.’’
Spiro Vourgaslis and Lucas Olson both backed up their strong performances from the previous week against Tongala, each kicking two goals against a strong Purples defence, while Cam Sandral provided the Hawks with plenty of dash on the outside.
The coach was full of praise for co-captain Jake Russell, who was superb in the midfield.
‘‘Jake was excellent,’’ Hazelman said.
‘‘He copped a knock early in the game and for him to keep playing the whole game and the way he was able to contribute was pretty pleasing from the coaches’ point of view and it obviously lifted the guys around him as well.’’
Barooga’s four-quarter performance was the most pleasing aspect of the game for Hazelman.
‘‘They just don’t give up,’’ he said of the opposition. ‘‘A three-goal break on them is never enough. You just have to keep crashing in and eventually try and wear them down because you know they aren’t going to lie down.
‘‘For them to kick two goals straight after threequarter-time and really challenge us and for us to hit straight back obviously shows a bit of maturity in the group as well.’’
The Hawks will be confident of making it six in a row when they take on Shepparton East this weekend.
Return to form: Lucas Olson was solid up forward for Barooga. Photo: Steve Huntley.