It was a scrappy hard-hitting affair at Dalby but the Goondiwindi Hawks afl team still managed to come away with a big win on Saturday. Final score Goondiwindi 16.15-110, Dalby 6.3-39.
The Hawks hit the ground full of running despite the blustery conditions which gave them first use of a three-goal advantage wind. But slick movement through the centre to a waiting pack of forwards and finishers saw Goondiwindi cruise away to a four goal lead at the first quarter break. The hard-hitting and inexperienced Swans were burdened by 50m penalties throughout the day - which will change - after their swag of talented rugby league season converts grasp a few more rules. But the Hawks were happy with that first quarter hit-out which saw Goondiwindi outclass the Swans in attack and defence. And then, it all went, just a little skewiff.
Dalby is not the greatest ground for free-flowing football with the ball often bouncing around like a crazy lop-sided pinball machine. That, added to some genuine talent around the ground, plenty of hard-running at the ball, and that wind, saw Dalby kick four goals to show the Hawks they weren't going to get it all their own way. The Hawks found it difficult to win clean ball out of the centre which threw the Hawks forward line into some confusion and the game disintegrated into a tough, scrappy slog. A frustrated Hawks outfit was keen to hit back in the third, and while there were glimpses of class, they were often met with a "have-at-it" Swans. They scragged, they bustled, they ran hard, tried to hit harder and they occasionally pushed the boundaries. An effort which Hawks' coach Dave "Tassie" O'Toole paid tribute in the after-match wrap-up. But added. "We just hope you keep that up when you play the other sides," he said. However in the final run home Goondiwindi was able to pull away, for what, on paper, appears a comfortable win. It wasn't.
The Players' Player award went to second-gamer, rugby-union-import-for-a-season, Tom Jobling. The Emus may have to send in a "rescue squad" to break him out if they want him back next season. Max Beinke is beginning to well and truly hit his straps after having his best game of the season so far, league import Joel Curry continues to impress, Sam McNaughton just motors along picking up possessions and Jeremy Cox is proving hard work, tenacity and not just a little talent pays off. Dave O'Toole and Jeremy Leahy are just the gel which keeps the machine running smoothly while filling in the gaps when the run of plays goes against them. New boys, Allen Jackson, Ryan Holman and Sam Durnan are all class and once the Hawks work out how best to utilise them, well, we can't wait! (Angus Croft, Joe Verney. You've been mentioned, don't whinge.)