Finley put up a brave effort against top side Barooga, however it was the Hawks who ran away winners by 12 points in round nine of the Murray Football League on Saturday.
Playing in perfect conditions for footy at the Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre, the home side began well with an early goal to Lachy Small .
Barooga were quick to respond with a long kick to the top of the square from the centre clearance resulting in a goal.
Young gun Zec Cuppens was quickly into the play linking up with Ed Barlow for the Cats’ second goal and when he turned his man inside out and snapped truly from 30m for one of his own the Cats appeared in control.
Robb Jewell, Cuppens and Barlow were getting plenty of possession.
Angus Robertson was assigned the task of curbing Tyrone Downie and Tom Doyle was matching Brodie A’Vard at the stoppages.
Levi Middleton, Shaun Kable and Luke Moore were all contributing and the signs were good for the home side.
A late goal to Barooga on the siren and the first for the second term saw the margin back in favour of the visitors.
With the game being played in the Cats’ forward half they could not capitalise.
Paul Massingham, Nick Robertson, Tom McCarney and Liam Osborne were rebounding strongly across half back.
The margin at the main break was 10 points in favour of the Hawks with the Cats desperate to find some avenues to goal.
Swingman Cam Robertson playing forward this week sparked the Cats into action with the first major of the third.
A strong mark and goal from Kable saw the Cats hit the front.
The pressure from both teams made scoring difficult and a few rushed behinds saw the scores locked together for a long period of time.
With the ball locked deep in the Cats’ defence Massingham spotted Marc Shaw in the centre of the ground.
Shaw marked and kicked long to the top of the square where Matt Wilson roved and registered his first goal of the day.
A desperate run down tackle by A’Vard on Osborne was rewarded with a free kick and he kicked truly from the 50m arc.
A’Vard almost took mark of the year soon after, when he jumped on the shoulders of ruckman Lachy Hawkins from a Cats kick in, but wasn’t able to control it.
With the margin just seven points in favour of the Hawks at the last break the match was there for the taking.
Barooga were first to goal in the last term to have a handy lead in the low scoring affair.
Luke Moore was quick to respond with his first after leading hard to create space in the forward 50 to peg the margin back.
Jewell pushed forward and marked strongly but his shot on goal pushed across the face.
Another mark to Jewell and kick from a similar distance failed to register and the Cats ran out of time.
A’Vard was named the best player on the field for the Hawks, while Callum Leighton-Daly, Will Gorman and Jake Russell continued their great form.
For the Cats it was Levi Middleton, Jewell, Nick and Cam Robertson, McCarney and Osborne who were named as better players.
Final score, Barooga 8.14 (62) to Finley 7.8 (50).
Finley coach Rob Daniel said similar to the previous week’s loss to Rumbalara, the Cats had an opportunity to win the game.
‘‘We had more of the ball and like last week just didn’t use it effectively,’’ he said.
‘‘It was pretty tight all day, however they used the ball better and didn’t make as many errors, which in turn means we’re going to get scored against.
‘‘It’s a flat result because we had enough of the ball to win.’’
Things won’t get any easier for Finley this week, making the toughest road trip in the league when they face reigning premier Nathalia.
Making matters worse for the Cats is that they will be without Jesse McDonald through injury.
If Finley can improve with the ball, they might be in with a shot against the Purples.
‘‘I don’t care what anyone says Nathalia are the best side in the competition,’’ Daniel said..
‘‘They have at least four big players that are all over six foot four and good players.
‘‘If we can stop them, then we’re certainly in with a chance.’’