EAGLEHAWK’S latest premiership coach Josh Bowe and Strathfieldsaye rival Troy Coates praised their club’s fighting spirit in the aftermath of Saturday’s Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League senior footy grand final.
Another great battle between the Hawks and Storm ended in a 49-point victory for the Two Blues at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Just as Storm had done to it in the grand final a year earlier, Eaglehawk dominated the last 20 minutes of this showdown to win the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup.
Cheered on by the parochial fans, Eaglehawk scored the last six goals of the match to win 19.8 (122) to 11.7 (73).
At the 12-minute mark of the third quarter, Storm was within a goal after Fergus Payne was on target.
A run of three unanswered goals by the Hawks settled the nerves of the team and fans.
Strathfieldsaye would not score consecutive goals as a confident Borough had the answers.
From the presentation dais, Bowe said all 22 players knew they would be in for a tough contest.
“We knew we would be in for a fight today.”
Bowe said the Hawks had learnt a lot from the grand final defeat of a year earlier
“We know how dangerous you are,” he said of the Storm line-up.
It was the 22 players who basked in the glory of joining the “premiers club”, but Bowe said many had worked behind the scenes to ensure the on-field success.
Bowe praised coaching staff Linton Jacobs, Jeremy Brown, Peter Gibbs and Josh Gitsham for the massive amount of work they had done all year.
“There is so much work that everyone puts in.”
A club steeped in 138 years of history has endured many highs and lows.
“The noise from the crowd was unbelievable in that last quarter.
“There is a great sense of community spirit in Eaglehawk,” Bowe said.
As in any grand final there were the hard-luck stories of injury that meant some missed out.
Star full-forward Matt Gretgrix never made it back on-field after injuring his knee mid-season.
A multiple premiership-winning coach at Kerang, Coates has to wait at least one more year to lead Storm to its fourth seniors grand final victory.
“Eaglehawk was too good today. They really brought it today.
“This is not the way we wanted to finish the season, but it will definitely motivate us for next year,” said Coates.
In a year where Storm had a wretched run with injury, especially to gun forward Lachlan Sharp, the club unearthed many exciting prospects.
The agony of grand final defeat may be the catalyst for Storm to be gunning for the cup in 12 months time.