Hawk half impresses, but Tigers charge on

ALBURY’S ruthless run of dismantling any opposition continued on Saturday, despite Wangaratta Rovers offering plenty of cheek early at Albury Sportsground.

After kicking the first two goals, the Hawks stayed with the flag favourite until half-time before the Tigers roared into life with a brutal second-half of pressure and class.

Twelve goals to one in the second half blew the Tigers’ 13-point buffer out to 85 points.

After Hawk Andrew Newton kicked a goal to level the scores at the six-minute mark of the second term, the Tigers decided enough was enough and applied the blowtorch.

They kicked the next seven goals before Jamie Sheahan potted one midway through the third.

The Tigers’ answer was to kick seven more.

However, Albury’s win was soured by the yellow card and report of Andy Carey for charging Rovers’ skipper Tyson Hartwig in the second quarter.

Morris Medal contender Brayden O’Hara was a late withdrawal with a calf complaint, while Dean Polo (hip) and Chris Hyde (hamstring) both spent time off the ground.

The Tigers would have been buoyed by excellent performances from lesser lights Matt Munro, Bryce Carroll and Justin Carey.

Munro and Carroll had the ball on a string, finding space and run in a generally congested match.

Carey kept Hawks’ big man Daniel Archer goalless and relatively quiet.

One of the highlights was the tussle between Albury’s goal kicking ace Setanta O’hAilpin and Hartwig.

Hartwig was outstanding and the effort to keep O’hAilpin to five goals was creditable considering the wave of supply afforded the giant Irishman.

Albury excitement machine Lonnie Hampton kicked five goals, with four in an electrifying second half, including two in a20-second final term burst.

Albury co-coach Daniel Maher was delighted with his charges’ second half and full of praise for the Hawks’ committed first-half challenge.

“Our effort in the second half is exactly what we expect and more importantly is what is required if you want to do well at this level,” he said.

“They (Rovers) came into this game with good form and served it up to us and forced us to re-think and attack harder.”

Maher was not too concerned with the injury that forced O’Hara to miss and even less worried about Polo, who did not return after quarter-time.

“Brayden trained strongly on Thursday night but just pulled up a bit tight in the calf and we thought by resting him and the bye next week he will be fine for North Albury,” he said.

Rovers coach Paul Maher, while disappointed with the second-half score line, found plenty of positives out of the match.

“I thought in the first half we just used the ball far better and more decisively,” he said.

“We knew they would come out hard after the first half and despite this we still could not maintain our good work for four quarters.”

The Rovers’ long injury list appears to be slimming, with Maher confident some handy inclusions are not far away.

“James Mulligan will be back after the bye and Dale Martin, Ben Kneebone and Hayden Lowe got through the twos today — we need these bigger options across the ground,” he said.

The Hawks would have been delighted with the form of utility Lochy Dornauf and the continuing emergence of teenager James Smith in defence.