Young Eagles show they can stand heat of a big final

ONE of the big question marks surrounding Gordon’s legitimacy as a premiership contender was how the young Eagles would stand up in the heat of a big final.

Alan Ware (Hepburn) flies high in front of the bench and a big crowd at Dunnstown on Sunday.

Alan Ware (Hepburn) flies high in front of the bench and a big crowd at Dunnstown on Sunday.

They’d done the hard work during the regular season – winning their last 12 matches – but needed to put it together against a genuine heavyweight of the competition when it counted most.

On Sunday, the Eagles did. And how.

The Gordon supporters must be daring to dream of the club’s first senior flag since 1988 after a professional dismantling of reigning champions Hepburn.

Gordon led at every change and never gave the Burras a sniff in the last quarter, when there was a sense that they would challenge.

A preliminary final berth is now theirs and a week off to prepare for it is a luxury.

The Eagles will also get the benefit of a Saturday “prelim”, meaning an extra day break than their opponents in a grand final should they win.

Waubra also gets a rest after winning the weekend’s other qualifying final over Bungaree in dramatic circumstances.

A controversial free kick and goal in the last minute of the match was a cruel blow for the minor premiers, which must now pick itself up ahead of a semi final with Buninyong.

For the Burras and Demons, all is not lost, but no team has dropped a final en route to the premiership since the top eight system was introduced in 2011.

Hepburn will next weekend take on Springbank, which kept its season alive with a hard-fought victory against Learmonth.

After starting the season with 18 teams in the hunt for Central Highlands Football League’s ultimate prize, just six remain.

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