Late free kick helps Hawks claim deserved reserve grade title

PARTY TIME: East Wagga-Kooringal's reserve grade team celebrate its grand final victory at Maher Oval on Saturday. Picture: Michael Frogley
PARTY TIME: East Wagga-Kooringal's reserve grade team celebrate its grand final victory at Maher Oval on Saturday. Picture: Michael Frogley

FARRER LEAGUE

A FREE kick awarded in the goal square with two minutes remaining helped East Wagga-Kooringal to a thrilling reserve grade premiership at Maher Oval on Saturday.

EWK's Troy Wheeler was awarded a free kick for being shepherded in a marking contest and he kicked truly to give the Hawks a one-point grand final victory.

The Hawks came home hard and kicked four goals in the final term to claim a well-deserved premiership, 9.14 (68) to 10.7 (67).

After a see-sawing first half, Temora led for the all bar the final two minutes after half-time.

In what was an intense battle for three quarters, the floodgates opened in a free-flowing last quarter where the Hawks closed strongly on Temora.

It looked as if the Hawks had bombed several chances at a comeback victory through inaccuracy in front of goal when Rob Krause kicked his second final term goal to put Temora 14 points up mid-way through the quarter.

The Hawks continued to pepper the goals and perseverance paid off as goals to Josh Gillies then Wheeler got them home in a thriller.

It was a cruel finish for Temora, who suffered a second consecutive grand final defeat.

EWK ruckman Jordon Wood was dominant for the Hawks and was awarded the best-on-ground medal.

UNSTOPPABLE:  East Wagga-Kooringal ruckman Jordon Wood shows off his two medals, one for the premiership win and the other for best-on-ground in the reserve grade grand final.

UNSTOPPABLE: East Wagga-Kooringal ruckman Jordon Wood shows off his two medals, one for the premiership win and the other for best-on-ground in the reserve grade grand final.

EWK coach Luke Adams praised his team's last-quarter effort.

"It was massive," Adams said.

"I just said to the boys at three quarter-time, have the confidence in the things we've been doing.

"We weren't running with them early and our disposal was ordinary so I said to them, let's just get back to the basics.

"We backed our fitness and we backed our skill.

"They're a very hard side to run over, their super fit and their young blokes just run all day but I knew if we could just stick to our game plan then I had the utmost confidence the boys could run the game out, as long we could restrict how much they had the ball in that last quarter.

"And the boys delivered so it was good."

Adams admitted inaccuracy in front of goal nearly cost the Hawks the ultimate price.

"The scoreboard reflects it," he said.

"Nine goals 14, we were pretty inaccurate in front of goal and potentially it could have cost us the game but we stuck to our guns and I'm absolutely stoked."

The grand final victory capped off a top year from the Hawks.

They lost just one game, the second semi-final against Temora, for the year.

Wood was dominant in the ruck for the Hawks, while Adrian Pendlebury, James Shore and Alex Jones were others to shine in the win.

For Temora, Jackson Wheeler, Adam Block and Simon Turner were very good in defeat.

Adams paid tribute to the entire Hawks squad of 32 players that were available to play on Saturday and that each one of them played their part in the premiership victory.

Full-time

EAST WAGGA-KOORINGAL (68)

3.3 5.7 5.10 9.14

TEMORA (67)

3.3 5.5 7.6 10.7

Goals: (EWK) J Gillies 3, R Campbell, T Wheeler, B Campbell, A Jones, L Adams, A Pendlebury; (Temora) P Walker 3, R Krause 3, A Block 2, J Gerhard, T Winkley.

Best: (EWK) J Wood, A Pendlebury, J Shore, A Jones, W Rolla, T Wheeler; (Temora) J Wheeler, A Block, S Turner, K Rands, R Krause.