HEPBURN’S semi-final demolition of Waubra on Saturday was something to behold.
The Burras, shock losers to Daylesford the week before, had a point to prove. And it showed.
Their relentless attack gave the reigning premiers little hope of an upset success, with the eventual 64-point drubbing sending them crashing from the Central Highlands Football League premiership race.
Pressure had mounted on Hepburn following its early finals blip, which was amplified by Roos coach Shane Skontra, who attacked the Burras in an article published in The Courier on Friday.
His counterpart Shane Robertson said Skontra’s comments, which also queried the Burras’ handling of former coach Troy Auld, helped click his team into action.
“We had a very good meeting on Thursday night where (president) Jason Olver spoke well and we addressed certain issues, but then to have a paper report like that back it up, it just reaffirmed what the players had in the back of their minds,” Robertson said.
“I don’t believe in a coach making judgements on other teams’ procedures and the way they go about things. I know he was just trying to spur the negative side of ours, but it acts as a motivation factor for us.”
Saturday’s contest was over before it began.
And it was newly-crowned Geoff Taylor Medallist Andy McKay and spearhead Lee Cox who did the early damage.
McKay racked up a stack of possessions through the middle, with Cox booting four goals as the Burras opened up a 31-point quarter-time lead that was never threatened.
Hepburn played like a side possessed, and refused to give the Roos an opportunity to claw back the margin.
McKay simply dominated, turning in one of his best displays of the season with four goals, while Cox ended the day with seven majors.
Hepburn’s winners were all over the ground, with the likes of Daniel Smith, Leigh Santurini and Segifili Asa Leausa strong when the Roos did manage to get the ball into attack.
“The obvious is that we had a lot to prove from last week,” Robertson said.
“We had a lot of critics in the way we went about it and our approach on the game was full of intensity. We knew that they were going to come at us, we just had to match that and, if not, better it.”
While Waubra’s defeat signalled an end to its season, it also spelt an end to the coaching reign of Skontra.
Skontra, who will be replaced at the helm by Jason Allen, said the Roos were beaten by a better team.
“They controlled the game from start to finish. They were playing some really good footy, and they’ll be fairly confident going into next week now,” Skontra said.
“To be totally honest, we haven’t beaten a top four side. When the pressure has been on us we haven’t performed and it happened again (on Saturday). They are the facts and we’ve got to wear that.”
Winners across four quarters were few and far between for the beaten Roos, but the likes of Tom Nash and Tom Nijam tried hard, as did skipper Shaun Mullane.