HAWKESDALE-Macarthur survived a Penshurst fightback to book a Mininera and District league preliminary finals berth.
The Eagles kicked nine of the first 10 goals of the game but the Bombers overhauled a 45-point half-time deficit to hit the lead in the dying stages of the final term of their first semi-final at Willaura on Sunday.
Hawkesdale-Macarthur veteran Justin Chalmers wrested the lead back the Eagles’ way with less than a minute to play.
The Eagles’ 10.8 (68) to 9.10 (64) win sets up a preliminary final showdown with Moyston-Willaura on Saturday.
Perennial finalist Tatyoon awaits the winner in the decider.
Hawkesdale-Macarthur coach Danny Chatfield said it was a game of two halves.
The Eagles, who wanted to honour 150-gamer Murray Habel with a win, kicked nine goals to one in the first half.
They were still 34 points up at the final change.
“I think we had an eight-goal lead going into half-time and I said to the guys to ‘keep going because Penshurst, being a good side, are going to keep coming’ and that’s what they did in the last quarter when they kicked six goals to our one,” Chatfield said.
“They even pinched the lead with two minutes to go.
“We got the next centre clearance and one of our veterans Justin Chalmers was lucky enough to kick a goal.
“We knocked it forward out of the centre, he spun out of a pack, took a couple of steps and banged it through. We pushed everyone back in the last 30 seconds and the ball ended up in their forward line.”
Chatfield said the Eagles would have a recovery session at Killarney beach tonight as they prepared for their preliminary final battle at Penshurst this weekend.