Stormin’ Norman handles the wet

KARL Norman showed why Wangaratta Rovers wanted him cleared at the tribunal last week with a sterling wet-weather performance in the Hawks’ 38-point win against Wodonga on Saturday.

Norman, who was cleared of striking Yarrawonga’s Brandon Symes last Wednesday night, was in everything at John Flower Oval as the Hawks ended the Bulldogs’ finals hopes in a wet and scrappy affair.

Hawks coach Mick Caruso was lavish in his praise for the athletic big man after the game and said Norman, who finished third in last year’s Morris medal, was in just as good as form as he was last year.

“We were quite keen to get him off,” Caruso said.

“Once we saw the video footage it was quite clear that we had no case to answer which was great.

“I’d say his form this year has been equal to last year.

“He’s like an extra midfielder.

“There were plenty of contributors today but none better than Karl Norman.”

Although the former Carlton tall was a standout, Jamie Sheahan also highlighted his class with a determined display in sloppy conditions.

His low-flying bullet goal from outside 50 metres in the first quarter proved a highlight in a game starved of them.

Ross and Andy Hill also gathered plenty of the football.

As many suspected, Wodonga’s Zach Jones came in as a late replacement for injured tagger Sam Wortmann before the first bounce and made a seamless transition back into Ovens and Murray ranks in his first game since April.

A disappointed Bulldogs coach Ben Hollands said the club still had plenty to play for after the bye, despite having its slim finals hopes crushed on Saturday.

“For us it’s always been about continuing to improve,” Hollands said.

“We’ve still got a young side.

“The boys learnt today that if we don’t apply ourselves you come undone.

“They’ve also got to learn how to play consistently week after week after week.

“That’s probably the difference between us and other sides.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play.

“But I think there is a great opportunity for us to finish the season well.”

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