GIPPSLAND LEAGUE FOOTY • Drouin Hawks Seniors may not have made the finals, but they celebrated like they had after the last game for 2018 on Saturday.
First published in the 30 August 2018 edition of the Baw Baw Citizen.
The team beat Wonthaggi at Drouin Recreation Reserve 13.17-95 to 10.9-69, ending their season at number eight on the Gippsland League’s 10-team ladder.
The win was a solid follow-up for the side’s 49-point victory over Morwell in Round 17, and three-point rise over Leongatha in Round 16.
“It was great,” coach Jordan Kingi told the Baw Baw Citizen after Saturday’s game.
“The sad thing is we’re playing our best footy at the end of the year and we just didn’t have enough wins during the year to push the finals.
“It’s [still] a fantastic way to finish.”
The team has come a long way from the start of the season, with a fresh team and injuries holding the side back.
“We lost probably two of our best players at the start of the year,” Jordan said.
“It was always going to be tough, it was just a matter of time for us and it really showed how good the future looks for us if we can hold onto everyone and it’s just really positive signs going forward, it’s fantastic.”
The final score doesn’t quite do Drouin’s late-game extra efforts justice though, with many attempted shots at goal in the fourth quarter going unrewarded.
“To Wonthaggi’s credit, they’re not a poor side,” Jordan said.
“They’ve obviously had injuries throughout the year and they obviously brought a really good side today.
“We just told each other to keep working and eventually things would happen for us, and in that last quarter we probably had 80 per cent of the play and it was fantastic.
“We didn’t stop, which was a good thing. We kept going.”
The late-season winning streak hasn’t been for nothing though, with Jordan looking forward to 2019.
“The best part is people start looking at your club a little bit differently when you’re winning at the end of the year,” he said.
“Obviously we’ll do a bit of recruiting, but the main thing is we want to keep what we’ve got. You don’t want to push out what you’ve got because they’ll miss out on the good times, so we want to make sure we keep these 25 players we’ve got and make sure they get as much joy out of it as the blokes we want to bring in.”
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