A FRUSTRATED Wangaratta Rovers’ coach Paul Maher was left to lament another shocking second half from the Hawks as Lavington cruised to a 59-point victory on Saturday.
A six-goal burst from the Panthers in the opening 18 minutes of the third quarter sucked all life out of the contest after the Hawks showed enough in the first half to suggest they were going to be in the game.
But in all too familiar fashion, the Hawks rolled over in the third term and allowed their opposition to run all over them.
They struggled to win the ball and when they did, they gave it back straight away with shocking disposal.
“We’ve spoken about third quarters for a long time now but we’re not going to make excuses any more,” Maher said.
“It was really poor.
“Lavington was too good in too many areas and we were disappointed with that.”
The Panthers were served well by a host of players, with several cameos turning the match at different points.
Adam Butler was fantastic and highlighted his match-winning qualities with two brilliant goals and a handful of strong efforts throughout the game.
Adam Flagg gave Lavington the upper hand with two clever goals in the second term as he proved too nimble for Hawks’ skipper Tyson Hartwig.
Jay Banks pulled the strings in Lavington’s third-quarter burst, with a spin, sidestep and effective kick inside 50 setting up Luke Garland for what was Lavington’s eighth goal on the trot.
Brant Dickson blanketed the influence of Rovers’ star Daniel Archer, while Garland and Pendergast lifted when they needed to.
“I was really pleased with our second half,” Lavington coach James Saker said.
“I thought that was probably the best footy we’ve played since perhaps Yarrawonga.
“We were able to get the game on our terms and get momentum and build scoreboard pressure.
“It was on the back of some hard work.
“The things we pride ourselves on, we did well.”
Saker said there was no doubt the Panthers’ third quarter set up the win.
“Our tackling pressure was right up and we were able to force turnovers and win clearances,” he said.
“I thought we put a real gap in the game.
“In terms of the back end of the year, this game was a step in the right direction.
“To be able to play a really good second half gives us momentum to take into next week and we’ve got some big challenges ahead.”