Hawks’ stranglehold extends for six years

SIX SEASONS STRONG: Henwood Park Hawks, led by Rod Buik, claim the 2016 Leonard Cup premiership at Equex on Sunday. Picture: Kieren L. Tilly

SIX SEASONS STRONG: Henwood Park Hawks, led by Rod Buik, claim the 2016 Leonard Cup premiership at Equex on Sunday. Picture: Kieren L. Tilly

An uncompromising Henwood Park Hawks squad demolished Junee Jaguars for their sixth-straight Leonard Cup premiership. 

Hawks immediately asserted their dominance, scoring six minutes in, pocketed two more in the first half and held a 3-0 lead until the final three blows of the whistle at Equex on Sunday afternoon.

Hawks coach Rod Buik will hang up the clipboard, knowing the legacy he leaves has been unrivalled in Wagga; 10 years, six premierships, seven grand-final appearances, and 13 losses from more than 150 games.

Man of the match Hawks’ winger Rachel Trenaman, 15, lived up to her lethal reputation, outpacing rivals and pocketing two goals in her first Leonard Cup grand final appearance.

“We knew Rachel had the pace, and Rachel had the finish,” Buik said.

“She probably should have scored more.”

Trenaman scored Henwood Park’s first goal, Charlee McPherson scored two minutes later, and Trenaman backed-up with a brace 42 minutes in.

“One of the things we worked on was making sure we came out firing,” Buik said.

“Rachel, Natalie Creed and Charlee McPherson, they make a really big difference for us upfront.

“And we knew through the midfield we’d do really well.”

Attacking mid Danielle Plummer and defensive mid Bronte Buik put in the hard yards, winning challenges and using the nearest option to ensure the Hawks maintained possession.

Down 3-0 at half-time, Junee stacked its defence to prevent a whitewash.

Henwood Park entered the second half with a more conservative game-plan than the first half.

“The second half was just, stay tight, make sure we don’t do anything silly, just keep the ball going,” Buik said.

“We still wanted to go out to score, and our game plan has always been to play four, three, three, play the ball out wide and bring it across.

“We made changes today to suit what Craig (Duncan, Junee coach) does.

“We would have played it differently had we played Tolland.”

Buik believes the Hawks will remain strong in 2017, in spite of losing Plummer, McPherson and Hannah Schultz, as a number of youngsters, such as Trenaman and Jenny Woodbury, 15, graduate into the mix.

As for Junee, losing to Henwood Park in the grand final seems to be a reoccurring motif.

It’s game over for now, but not for long.

“Junee, they’re strong and they’ll be strong again next year,” Buik said.

“They won the reserve grade premiership, they have a lot of depth.”

Buik hopes to find a female coach for the job. 

“The girls need a change themselves,” he said.

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