Hawks take the positives

Daniel Toman. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 360899_53

Tara Murray

Woodend-Hesket’s Riddell District Football League season hasn’t gone to plan, but the Hawks are taking some positives out of it.

After making last season’s grand final, the Hawks have won just two matches this season, coming against the bottom two teams.

For first year coach Alastair Rae it’s been a less than ideal start, but the group has started to build into the season.

“The first two weeks we were so poor as a group,” he said. “The last six weeks we’ve played some good footy.

“We lost by less than two goals against Riddell and Romsey. Against Riddell we were in front until the last moments of the game.

“The other two games [we’ve lost] against Diggers Rest and Wallan, it was one poor quarter that cost us.

“With a young team you will get that.”

Rae said they’ve had to go with a younger side than they were planning, with five players they had expected to play having not played at all.

He said most weeks they were fielding a team with more than half the players under-21.

“Three or four of those guys were in our best 18,” he said.

“Riley Patterson has not come back from Darwin. He was going to for a couple of games but said he wants to stay up there.

“Three of them will not play. We’re hoping Marcus Stapleton, who has been with us for a while will hopefully come back and we’ll get Riley maybe for a couple of games.”

Rae said the need to play the younger players would help fast track their development and would be a positive for the future.

He said Ryley Ferguson and Tobi Duff-Tytler, who both played a lot of football last year, were leading the young charge.

Xavier Tadd and Monte White are a couple of others that have impressed.

Despite just two wins, the Hawks sit a game and percentage outside the top five.

Rae said the group believes they can win five or six of the games in the back half to move back into finals contention.

They had the competition wide bye for the King’s Birthday long weekend and then an actual bye.

Rae said they would assess each player and see whether they needed to de-load or maintain what they’ve been doing.

“We have a players function as well, which should be a good time,” he said.

“We’ll then reset again. We started the season with Kyneton and Macedon, but we now don’t play them until the end.

“We start the second lot of matches with Diggers Rest and Lancefield. Diggers will be tough first up, but at least it’s at home and our ground is a bit smaller and hopefully we can contain them and play our brand of footy.”