Hawks out­last pow­er­house

The Cobram Courier - - GAME ON - By Pa­trick Tansey

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.

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