AFTER a poor showing in 2018, the Heathcote District Football League is back on the winner’s list in the AFL Victoria Community Championships.
The men in blue and gold claimed a 35-point victory against the Sunraysia FNL in Mildura on Saturday afternoon.
Jarrod Finlay was named best on for the HD, while Darcy Richards booted three goals.
For HD assistant coach Matt Hawken, strong performances across the board were key to the victory.
“We had a lot of solid contributions,” he said.
“We have some great talent in this competition and we were lucky they were able to come together and really perform well.
“We felt like we were in control for a lot of the match and could have iced it in the third. Sunraysia made a bit of a charge late and had a lot of control of the football during the final quarter, but fortunately they weren’t able to convert which kept the pressure on them.
“We were able to break the tide of play and kick a few goals late which locked down the victory for us.”
The HD was limited in their preparation, with few training sessions to prepare for the match.
However the trip to Mildura was a huge benefit for the side.
“It’s just about the longest trip in country football,” Hawken said.
“We got on a bus on Friday and made the trip up, so with the extra day we were able to have a bit of time to bond together and really get to know our teammates.
‘‘It’s really important in terms of getting your team chemistry right for people to be on the same page and the trip definitely helped with it.”
The match also reaffirmed the quality of the competition.
“All of our guys really performed on the day,” he said.
“You see the class of guys we have. Someone like Sam Kerridge, who is actually from Mildura originally and was playing his first game there since he was about 16, you see how good of a player he is and how well he moves. It’s a reminder to everyone at the clubs that every team this year has some really good players and the quality of the league is only getting better as we go on.”