KIEWA-Sandy Creek forward Guy Telford propelled the Hawks into the second semi-final with a devastating nine-goal performance against Wahgunyah at Sandy Creek on Saturday.
Telford was unstoppable in the 22-point qualifying final win and shapes as coach Adam Mudra’s main weapon in stopping Thurgoona’s quest for back-to-back premierships.
“Telford was really good,” Wahguyah coach Brett Skinner said.
“They isolated him deep and kicked to his advantage side which is probably something we didn’t do for our forwards.
“We tried a few players on him and they did a good job but full credit to him as he was really good.”
While Telford hit the scoreboard, the Hawks had plenty of winners at ground level with Tom Ross, Jason Bartel, Jake Carkeek and Aaron Gordon in good form.
Wahgunyah failed to take full advantage of the breeze in the opening quarter and Kiewa-Sandy Creek did just that late in the second term.
They slammed on four goals in 10 minutes before half-time to open up a 31-point buffer.
The Lions got to within 10 points in final quarter but were unable to close further despite the best efforts of Matt Grantham, Dean Skinner, John Webb and Josh Clark.
“They got on a roll late in the second quarter and that’s where the damage was probably done,” he said.
“It probably got out by a goal too much for us to reel in.
“We had our chances but didn’t bring it together consistently enough.
“We still took positives out of it and are looking forward to next weekend.”
Wahgunyah lost Kodee Lowe before the match due to a mishap at training during the week while defender Angus Lingham will also return from injury.
Lingham’s ability to take intercept marks across half-back was sorely missed at the weekend.
Hawk Scott Bartel missed with a hamstring.
Mudra was pleased with the way his players responded when challenged.