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Hawks ascend

Drouin’s Ben Hughes gets by a grounded Matthew Murphy in the race for the prize.DROUIN dragged itself into the Gippsland League top five after being made to earn the points against Morwell on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Hawks summoned a mighty fourth quarter effort to overrun the Tigers down the home stretch and secured a three point victory at the final siren.

Trailing by two goals at three-quarter-time, and at one stage four kicks in the last, Drouin booted 5.4 (34) to 3.1 (19) in a back and forth fourth term to sneak home and into the finals frame.

Drouin coach Bob McCallum said his side’s ability to clutch out a win under duress was a huge boon ahead of finals.

“We’re at the stage where we need to start playing finals footy, and when we needed to find a way to win we did,” he said.

“Just relieved to get over the line. It was a must win… the pressure was on with finals around the corner and it’s something we’ve not been a part of since 2011, so it’s nice to know we could produce when the pressure was on.”

Morwell’s Riley Hogarth evades the clutches of his Drouin opponent.

Morwell led by a point at the first change with two goals apiece on the board, and extended the lead to 15 by half-time.

Coach and best on ground McCallum led a second half revival, and his attacking weapons responded in kind.

Ben Hughes racked up four goals, Brad Virgona popped up for two vital majors late in the game and Steve Ballingall mustered some crucial clearances out of the middle in the dying moments to stave off Morwell’s challenge.

McCallum was full of praise for Morwell’s effort.

“I know they’re on the bottom of the ladder but they’re a really well drilled side,” he said.

“They may not have the ‘superstars’… but across the board they seem to work really well as a team and on the big ground it suited them more than it did us.

“It wasn’t the complete performance we had hoped to put together but the promising thing was when we needed to, we found a way.”

Almost: Drouin’s Keegan Bott watches on as Ryan Hearn attempts to keep the ball in play.

In sixth place prior to round 15, the Hawks have now pushed up into fourth following Warragul’s loss to Leongatha last weekend and Wonthaggi’s defeat at the hands of Traralgon on Saturday.

With three rounds to play Drouin is now on course for a finals berth, an incredible turnaround after managing just one win from the opening seven rounds of the season.

Drouin now has fate in its own hands with important matches against Wonthaggi, Sale and Leongatha in the run home.

Wonthaggi v TraralgonWONTHAGGI was unable to close the gap with third-placed Traralgon on Saturday, as reigning premier Maroons stormed home in the second half to win 15.17 (107) to 13.8 (86) on the Power’s home turf.

The Power engineered a four point lead by half-time before Traralgon fired up in the third with 6.8 (44) to turn the tables and establish a 26 point buffer at the last change.

The Power kicked four goals to three in the last but it wasn’t enough to mow the Maroons down.

Bairnsdale v SaleSALE kept its outside chance at a finals berth alive with a massive win over Bairnsdale.

The Magpies flew to a 13.20 (98) to 2.6 (18) drubbing of the Redlegs away from home, led by four goals from John Gooch.

Sale is now eight points outside the five with matches against fellow finalist aspirants Warragul, Drouin and Moe to come in the last three rounds.

Moe v MaffraMOE’S finals prospects darkened further when Maffra took the points home from Ted Summerton Reserve.

The Eagles cantered to an 11.17 (83) to 6.2 (38) win, leaving the Lions eight points shy of the top five.

Moe faces ladder leader Leongatha, Bairnsdale and Sale in the run home, meaning it will almost certainly need to topple the Parrots to stand a chance.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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