HAWKESDALE-Macarthur must re-group quickly for its first semi-final battle after injuries compounded its heavy qualifying final loss to Tatyoon on Saturday.
The Eagles will play Penshurst on Sunday in a bid to keep their Mininera and District league premiership dream alive.
Eagles coach Danny Chatfield said two key players were injured in their humbling 19.20 (134) to 4.8 (32) loss to the Hawks at Caramut.
Ruckman Lachie Reichman hurt his wrist and is under an injury cloud, while defender Ricky Lucas injured his knee and will miss the rest of the season.
Chatfield said Tatyoon burst away in the second term and kept Hawkesdale-Macarthur at arm’s length.
Scores were tied at 20-all at the first change but the Hawks steamrolled the Eagles after quarter-time, kicking 16 goals to one to set up a second semi-final date with Moyston-Willaura.
“After quarter-time they came out and banged on seven goals and there was no catching them from there,” Chatfield said.
“Our first quarter was the only highlight of the day.
“Once they got a run on, they were hard to stop.”
Chatfield said Tatyoon’s forward line — Steven Butler and Mitchell Cronin led the way with four goals apiece — was dangerous.
He said the Hawks’ onballers dictated play and gave their forwards ample opportunities.
“They are a good running side once they’re on their own,” Chatfield said.
“They link up well and are really hard to stop.”
Hawkesdale-Macarthur is yet to defeat its elimination final opponent Penshurst this season.
Chatfield said the Bombers’ “hardness around the ball and bigger bodies” counted against the Eagles in their two home-and-away fixtures.
Penshurst coach Justin Eales said the Bombers were ready for the challenge after accounting for Lismore-Derrinallum in the elimination final, 7.8 (50) to 5.9 (39).
He said Penshurst’s back line stood up against the Eagles in their most recent battle and was thrilled with his side’s pressure.
Eales said the elimination final was “a bit of a slog” after rain set in.
“I set up a game plan and my pre-game was based on a dry day,” he said after the fine weather last week. “We wanted to beat them with our outside running but it was wet from start to finish.
“It was lucky we could adapt pretty quickly.”
Penshurst skipped to a 17-point lead at quarter-time which proved a match-winning buffer.