Drought breakers: Hawks win first flag in 25 years

benflEAGLEHAWK broke a 25-year premiership drought a decade ago by claiming a thrilling two-point win over Gisborne in 2007’s grand final.

More than 6000 people packed into the QEO to see the Hawks boot three last quarter goals to one to snatch a memorable victory over the Graveyard Dogs.
The Two Blues seemed gone early in the tense final stanza.

Eight minutes in the Bulldogs looked virtual certainties. Their best player Ollie Messaoudi nailed a clutch goal and Gizzy’s lead --- 11 points at the last change --- was suddenly out to 16 points.
The Dogs had the advantage of what was considered a five-goal breeze favouring the city end and after Ollie’s major they looked home.
Just five grand final goals had been scored at the Barnard Street end.
Eaglehawk’s match-winning burst started with eventual Nalder Medallist Rhys Healey’s third goal of the day: a running major from 40 metres out.
Gisborne’s lead was slashed to less than a goal when Brodie Filo crumbed a pack 20 metres out from the sticks. He sprinted into an open goalmouth to land his second major.
Suddenly the heat was on Gisborne with their lead slashed to a single kick.
But the Dogs just couldn’t respond. In contrast 39-year-old Hawk coach Derrick Filo could.
At the 15-minute mark Filo outmarked Ryan Webster, a footballer 19 years his junior. It was a one-on-one contest 40m out from goal.
The kick held up in the swirly breeze but Eaglehawk forward Brady Herdman marked deep into attack.

HERDMAN was placed on an acute angle on the boundary line in the swimming pool pocket. But he missed.
Nonetheless Gisborne’s lead was back to four points and then 70 seconds later Derrick Filo was back in the action again.
He was awarded a free kick for a high tackle and once again lined up from 40m out. This time the 413-game veteran nailed the shot and Eaglehawk had hit the front by two points.
But there were still 11 minutes left on the clock and Gisborne was still a chance, if they could get some momentum and flow happening.
At the 18-minute mark key forward Richard White was the recipient of a downfield free kick.
However his 48 metre set shot faded right with the difference between the two sides now a solitary point.
From the kick-in Eaglehawk cleared the ball from the city end defensive 50m area. The ball wouldn’t enter Gisborne’s attacking end for the rest of play.
The Hawks played superbly for the final nine minutes, bottling the ball up inside their forward 50 metres.
The Bulldogs tried everything to clear the ball. But every time they did either an Eaglehawk player would mark the ball on the wing and send it back into attack.
Or the Two Blues would win the disputed ball and pump it forward again. The siren sounded at the 27-minute mark --- only four last term goals had been landed --- just as Gisborne rover and dual Michelsen medallist Matt Fitzgerald was storming out of defence to launch the Dogs into attack.

JAYDEN Dole was rightfully named in the Hawks’ best.
Rock solid in defence for the opening three quarters Dole was moved into the ruck for the final term and took control of the centre square.
Seventeen-year-old Healey and Josh Ketterer both collected important possessions in the concluding 10 minutes. Healey’s smother on Fitzgerald with the Hawks ahead by just one point at the 20-minute mark was crucial.
Kain Robins at centre half-back consistently held up Gisborne, one of the factors restricting Gisborne to a mere 35 forward 50 entries for the day.
Filo gave the crowd a reminder of why he’s one of the BFNL’s legends. He collected 18 possessions, five marks, laid seven tackles and nailed the match-winning goal.
For Gisborne Jason Duff-Tyler was dominant in the ruck for the first three quarters, Cameron Medica staged an enthralling duel with Herdman and kept him goal-less, Casey Summerfield held Shannon Milward pretty well, while coach Marcus Barham shaded Matt Gretgrix restricting the G-Train to a solitary major and provided plenty of drive from half-back.
And of course the Bulldogs in-and-under ‘grunt’ man Ollie Messaoudi was in everything right from the first bounce. He booted two goals –- including the important last term opening major — to be the Dogs’ best.

Eaglehawk 5.5 7.8 9.9 12.12 (84)
Gisborne 2.0 10.6 11.8 12.10 (82)
Goals – Eaglehawk: R. Healey 3, B. Rogerson 2, B. Filo 2, D. Brown 2, M. Gretgrix, D. Filo, L. Milroy. Gisborne: L. Saunders 3, S. Davis 2, D. Saunders 2, O.Messaoudi 2, L. Moss, M. Fitzgerald, D. Farrugia.
Best – Eaglehawk: R. Healey, K. Robins, J. Dole, D. Filo, J. Ketterer, B. Rogerson, B. Filo. Gisborne: O. Messaoudi, C. Medica, C. Summerfield, J. Duff-Tyler, M. Barham, L. Saunders.
Nalder medal: Rhys Healey (Eh). VCFL Medal: Kain Robins (E’hawk). Gate takings: $44,000.
Other grand final scores – Reserves: South Bendigo 10.5 (65) def. S’hurst 4.6 (30).
Major goalkickers: Brad Rohde 4, Josh McLeod 3 (both SB).
R.F. “Dick” Turner Medal: Josh McLeod (SB).
Under 18s: Eaglehawk 6.15 (51) def. Gisborne 2.3 (15).
Rod Ashman Medal: Cody Bravo (Eh). VCFL Medal: Kallen Geary (Eaglehawk).

THE Hawks had produced one of the most commanding finals efforts in recent years, certainly for the mid-2000s, with a 114-point thumping of the Hurst in the Saturday night qualifying final.
Pre-match the experts, your correspondent included, believed the qualifying final would produce a tight contest.
But it didn’t. The Borough blew the Dragons away from the first bounce as they cantered home, 23.14 (152) to Sandhurst’s 5.8 (38).
Key forwards Matthew Gretgrix and Brady Herdman contributed 13 of the Two Blues’ 23 goals: the ‘G-Train’ 7 and Herdman 6.
Sandhurst playing coach Nathan Gilliland was left scratching his head by 8.30 p.m.
“Eaglehawk outplayed us in every area,” he said. “They actually demonstrated to us how to play QEO finals footy, especially under lights.”
Gilliland added Eaglehawk’s pressure and the “way their players used the footy precisely” was a huge learning experience.
Borough coach Derrick ‘Dekka’ Filo said his club had 21 contributors who worked really hard for each other.
“In the second half of this season we had dropped away a bit in terms of pressure and manning up. But in tonight’s qualifying final the boys really lifted the pressure and never let up.”

ON the weekend when the Hawks progressed to the second semi-final courtesy of that 114-point mauling of Sandhurst a young Bendigo footy product starred in the AFL.
Nineteen-year-old Joel Selwood racked up 22 disposals, coming off the bench in the first term, as Geelong crushed North Melbourne in the 2007 qualifying final.
Named in the Cats best six along with eventual Geelong match record-holder Corey ‘Boris’ Enright (332 games) Selwood had won the 2007 Rising Star award four days before the qualifying final.
Scores: Geelong 23.18 (156) def. Kangaroos 8.2 (50).
Around the traps on September 8th that season and South Bendigo ended Square’s BFNL season with a three-goal elimination final victory: 13.13 (91) to 10.13 (73).
Bloods Dayne Frew and Josh Dawson nailed three goals each while Frew’s co-key forward James Burke along with Daniel Bevan rammed home two apiece.
Without late withdrawal Matt O’Toole in attack the Dogs relied on Christian Carter and Leigh Davies for their majors.
Harcourt snared a three-point second semi-final win over Carisbrook in the MCDFL, 13.14 (92) to 13.11 (89) while Avoca moved into the preliminary final with an 18.6 to 7.11 trouncing of Talbot in the first semi-final.
My assignment that weekend was out at Inglewood watching the LVFL prelim. final where Newbridge beat Mitiamo by less than two kicks. They’d fought back from a 10-point last term deficit to win: Newbridge 14.16 (100) def. Mitiamo 14.6 (90).
Sam Mildren (later to star with the Strath Storm) booted six goals for the Maroons, three in the crucial last term, with Brad Comer adding two while Ryan Haythorpe banged home six majors for the Superoos.
Next week we’ll look back not just 10 years, a single decade, but 70 years. Yes,
right back to 1947 when Sandhurst won the first of their late Forties three-in-a-row flags: a comfortable victory over Golden Square.

BFL preliminary final tip: Strath Storm over Golden Square by 14 points.

By Richard Jones