The Augusta Margaret River Hawks showed why they are a genuine threat on the road to the South West Football League finals with their nailbiting three point win over Carey Park in Margaret River on Saturday.
For their efforts, Carey Park shook the home side early, Jeffrey Carter securing the visitors’ first major score in the first few minutes of the game.
Carter then took another clean mark just seconds later to give him another attempt on goal to give the Panthers double figures while the Hawks struggled to send the ball their way.
Carey Park continued to dominate throughout the first term, slotting their third goal while the Hawks languished without a point to their name.
Matt Jukes was the first of the Augusta Margaret River flock to look promising, sending the ball through for a behind while his team mates searched for opportunities against a powerful Panthers side.
Much of the Hawks energy was spent holding back the Carey Park attack early in the game, the visitors’ marking and passing game stronger in comparison to a series of messy fumbles by the home side.
Mitch Gerrans landed the Hawks first goal before Brett Dobson secured a second to boost the Hawks momentum.
Thomas McDonald suffered a big hit in a contest on the first quarter siren and had to be helped off the ground while the Panthers took a breather with a 9 point lead.
Carey Park’s Riese Wilkey stamped his authority on the second quarter with an early goal, seemingly an easy run against the Hawks defenders who spent much of the first half behind the marking contests.
Jeffrey Carter again on the run sent the ball down to Zane Verhaaf to add another goal to the Carey Park tally.
With a 26 point deficit towards the end of the second quarter the embattled Hawks continued to give up possession while Carter was lethal with the boot, the visitors making the job look easy and stirring concern amongst the Margaret River supporters.
Eli Hill’s pace and Wilkey and Carter’s dominating presence gave the Carey Park side the power they needed to thwart attempts by Mitch Lynn and Mitch Payne to push play out of the danger zone.
A long awaited score to Mitch Payne gave Augusta Margaret River a boost and their first goal of the quarter, before a tidy play by Lincoln Adams, and Mitch Lynn into the hands of Owen gave the home team another goal.
The Hawks found their pace as the Carey Park side seemed to run out of steam, their first quarter efforts taking their toll.
By the half time siren the Hawks had come back to within five points of the visitors and the tables began to turn.
A solid goal to Mitch Payne, who began to emerge as one of the Hawks’ strongest players of the game, set the tone for the rest of the third quarter as the Hawks took their first lead of the day.
That lead was soon taken back by another easy goal to Wilkey.
The fourth quarter had the Hawks peppering their scoring end with everything they had, their energy reserves holding up while the Panthers struggled to keep up the pace.
The Hawks’ tenacity was admirable but their accuracy suffered as a result, finishing the game with 19 points and just 10 goals an indication of the effort expended to achieve their tight, three point victory over the visitors.
Final Scores Augusta Margaret River 10.19-79 Carey Park 11.10-76.
Goals AMR: M. Gerrans 2, M. Payne 2, R. Owen 2, J. Payne 2, B. Dobson, M. Jukes. CP: R. Wilkey 4, J. Carter 4, J. Yarran, F. Hart, Z. Verhaaf
Hawks will now head to Brunswick Oval to face the HBL Lions in Round 18 on Saturday while Carey Park will welcome Donnybrook at Kelly Park.