Cats shake off Hawks

Forced to work extremely hard for the first three quarters, reigning Riddell League premier Macedon finished full of running to defeat Woodend-Hesket by seven goals on Saturday.
While the visiting Hawks were gallant for much of the match, Macedon’s near water-tight defence only conceded one goal, from a 50m penalty, in the second half and the Cats now face two season defining matches against formidable opponents in Wallan and Riddell.
Macedon retained the Bill Tunn Cup contested between the two neighbouring clubs, and on Saturday evening the club held its annual goods and services auction with Richmond premiership player Josh Caddy the celebrity guest.
Now with a precarious grip on sixth spot, Woodend-Hesket has not been afraid to ‘blood’ some young players this season. But three losses in succession has stalled early season momentum, and a home match against powerhouse performer Riddell to come this Saturday awaits.
It promises to be a big day at Gilbert Gordon Reserve, with the Hawks welcoming back members of three premiership teams (1978 seniors, 2008 Reserves, and 1968 3rd XV111).
Saturday’s encounter at Tony Clarke Reserve saw Macedon play Woodend-Hesket, and the Hawks more than matched the home side’s work rate in the first quarter, much to the delight of coach Tom Carland.
It was low-scoring, tightly contested football and Jacob Hunt’s fine snap for an angled goal lifted the Hawks early in the second term.
Both sides interchanged players at a regular rate to try to gain an edge, and a couple of indiscretions and 50-metre penalties led to the Cats finally hitting the front and breaking at half-time five points up.
It was again a stalemate as the Hawks tried desperately to break through. Macedon lifted intensity after a melee left them a player down.
Ruckman Tom Waters, one of the most consistent players in the league, had a strong influence and a brilliant tackle and resultant goal by skipper James Wright gave the Cats an 11-point lead at the last change.
Who would kick the first goal on resumption? Eventually it was the Cats who broke through, and growing in confidence and capitalising on errors they finished strongly with 5.2 to a point in the last quarter.
Young Hawk Finn Urie came off after his shoulder ‘popped’ and he may be sidelined for a while.
This season Macedon’s defence has been the tightest in the league, and a further test awaits at Wallan on Saturday.
Just outside the top six, Romsey kept in touch with Wallan in the first half, but the overall evenness of the Magpies took its toll and the eventual margin was nine goals.
The outcome of the Woodend-Hesket versus Romsey match on August 4 may decide which of these two sides finishes up with a finals spot.
Riddell went on a scoring spree kicking 38 goals against a hapless Rockbank, with skipper Haydn Ross leading with eight. The Bombers actually increased their percentage by over 44 per cent in one afternoon; astonishing at this stage of the season.
Lancefield battled hard to restrict Rupertswood to a winning margin of 119 points at Tigerland, and Sunbury Kangaroos kicked 33 goals against a battling Broadford.
Diggers Rest, with a game in hand over the other double chance contenders, always held sway against Melton Centrals.
After 11 rounds, the battle to see who will end up being leading goal kicker for the season is wide open, as follows:
47 – Dylan Weir (Melton Centrals), 44 – Haydn Ross (Riddell), 37 – Todd Podolczak (Rupertswood), 34 – Joshua Burgess (Sunbury Kangaroos) and Tom Gawthrop (Woodend-Hesket), 31 – Cam McCabe (Diggers Rest), 27 – Matt Knox (Macedon).

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