SANDGATE set themselves up for a challenging month ahead when they trashed north Brisbane rivals Mayne by 20 goals at Lemke Road Oval on Saturday.
By Terry Wilson
Heading into an extremely tough campaign when they tackle three genuine flag contenders in as many weeks, the Hawks warmed up with a commanding win over the toothless Tigers, kicking 23.14 (152) to 4.8 (32).
Victims of a strange draw in this year’s 11-team competition, the Hawks have their first bye of the season next weekend before taking on Palm Beach-Currumbin, Western Magpies and Noosa – all matches at home – the following three weekends.
After that Sandgate play Maroochy-Northshore, before having another bye in round 17, the week before the finals start.
That could present the club with further problems because, if they finish minor premiers, they could miss two weekends in a row – the top team does not play on the first weekend of the finals.
The good news for captain-coach Ben Long is that the Hawks came through Saturday’s exercise unscathed – the first time the Hawks have managed that for quite a while.
Sandgate opened rather sedately, leading 3.2 to 0.2 at quarter-time with the wind.
The wind then switched and the Hawks rammed on 9.2 to 1.0 for the second term. The third quarter produced 3.5 for the home side, but they finished with a haul of 8.5 for the final stanza, giving them17 of their 23 goals kicking to the same end.
Key position pair Aaron Fabian (centre half-back) and Brendan Forbes (ruck/forward) starred for the Hawks, who also had Trent Fuller do a grand job tagging Mayne playmaker Luke Faulkner.
And veteran Glen Hunter, playing at full-back, hauled in about 10 marks to further frustrate Mayne on the rare occasions they had the ball in their attacking zone.
Mayne, clearly hurt by a string of injuries to better performers, had Sam Paterson, Glenn Ryan and Andrew Housego as their best.