Soaring Hawks knuckle down

Traralgon will be hoping for a repeat of its exploits against Drouin when the two sides meet on Sunday for the Gippsland League first semi-final.

The Maroons have won their last 13 games against the Hawks, dating back to the second half of 2011.

The two sides’ encounters this season did not buck the trend, with Traralgon overwhelming Drouin in round three 19.16 (130) to 7.11 (53) and 21.15 (141) to 7.8 (50) in round 12.

But speaking after his side’s elimination final victory over Warragul on Sunday, Hawks playing coach Bob McCallum expressed confidence in his side’s ability to match it with the Maroons.

“We feel we haven’t played them at full strength yet,” McCallum said.

“It was a bit of a turning point in the season when they touched us up, we’ve adjusted how we play.”

Drouin has staged a remarkable turn-around in the second half of the season, after finding itself in eighth place with two wins at the halfway mark.

The Hawks have won five of the seven games they have played since their round 12 loss to Traralgon, amassing a pile of scalps which included Maffra, Moe and Wonthaggi.

Its two losses came in the final two rounds of the regular season to a resurgent Sale and league juggernaut Leongatha.

McCallum attributed the Hawks’ turnaround to the players’ response to changes made to the team’s approach.

“It comes down to a bit of trust,” he said.

“That was my message to the boys after these 60 point losses to Traralgon – (things) can change very quickly with small changes to the way we approach our stoppages and those sorts of things.

“To the boys’ credit they jumped on board… and we are where we are now because of it.”

Traralgon coach Mark Collison spoke to The Express before the conclusion of Sunday’s elimination final and said whether his side played Warragul or Drouin would not affect his planning for this weekend’s clash.

“We play each game and obviously now we have to plan for the winner of Warragul and Drouin,” Collison said.

“Nothing changes in the long term because if you plan for the long-term you forget what’s happening in the moment.

“We’ll play whoever we’ve got to play – we’re confident that if we get our footy together we’ll get the result.”