Pressure told the story.
The Rock-Yerong Creek withstood it, then applied it, as they booked a spot in the grand final with an upset win over East Wagga-Kooringal at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
TRYC buried the Hawks’ hopes of an unbeaten season with a 13.8 (86) to 10.3 (63) victory, on the back of a dominant six-goals-to-none second quarter.
Coach David Pieper heaped praise on his players’ willingness to work hard.
“Our pressure, all day, on their ball carriers and around the contest… they didn't know how to handle the pressure,” Pieper said.
The Hawks started brilliantly with Joe Scott in everything in the middle, Christian Kelly kicking a goal inside 30 seconds and Marc Geppert adding two more before the five-minute mark.
When the Hawks went 25 points up after 20 minutes they looked on their way to a 17th straight win.
But they didn’t kick another goal for nearly 40 minutes.
“To our boys' credit, they just weathered that storm… to come back from that was fantastic,” Pieper said.
Early in the second quarter, TRYC punished turnovers and missed opportunities, with early goals to Todd Hannam and Andy Carey.
Then a beautiful passage of play from Pieper in the middle to Justin Driscoll and on to Carey saw the Pies take the lead.
With their midfielders getting on top, they refused to surrender it.
“That's where we won the game, in that second quarter when we dominated the centre clearances and got the ball forward,” forward Mitch Ward said.
“That makes it easier for us… we just take the credit for their hard work.”
Pieper was even more impressed with a desperate third quarter.
“They kicked two goals and we kicked one into the wind… but we controlled the game for the whole quarter and that was really the difference I think.”
The Hawks made changes in the fourth term – Chris Jackson to fullback to mark Carey; Nick Hull out of the ruck to play forward; and Geppert to centre half forward.
They came within a goal early but with the Pies enjoying possession, Carey, Ward and Mathieson finished the job to book a return ticket to Robertson Oval in a fortnight.
3.0 9.2 10.3 13.8
EAST WAGGA-K (63)
5.1 5.2 7.3 10.3
Goals: (TRYC) A Carey 5, M Ward 4, T Mathieson 3, T Hannam; (EWK) M Geppert 6, C Kelly 3, J Robinson.
Best: (TRYC) T Yates, A Saddler, M Ward, T Mathieson, A Carey, J Ashcroft; (EWK) L Cuthbert, K Rowbotham, J Bower, J Tiernan, Joe Scott, N Baggio.
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