K rock Football

Hawks fall short again

Inverleigh players can’t hide their disappointment following Saturday’s GDFL Grand Final loss to Thomson. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

INVERLEIGH coach Mark McDowell has described Saturday’s GDFL Grand Final loss to Thomson as “shattering” as he weighs up his future after five years in charge.

The Hawks went into the clash as favourites but were unable to break down the Tigers’ defence in managing just five goals for the contest.

“We were pretty lucky to get out of it at quarter time being down by just two points when they were kicking with the wind – they had a lot of opportunities,” McDowell said.

“I thought we were falling down around centre half-forward.

“We put Dalton Grundell back in around that area to give us a better target.

“Then later in the game, we just couldn’t hit anyone inside 50, could we?

“They really flooded back and congested it. They had the break on us and really defended it well.”


Inverleigh struggled to control the contest for extended periods, kicking consecutive goals just once, early in the final quarter.

Casey Meehan made the most of a Thomson turnover, which was then followed by captain Ryan Garrard converting a tough set shot in the old scoreboard pocket, reducing the margin to 24 points.

However, a snap from Meehan moments later was touched on the line, while Michael Grozdanovski missed a shot that would have brought the margin under three goals at the 13-minute mark.

“Then the rain came down and I thought “this is going to turn it into a piece of soap”, which made it even easier for Thomson to defend at that stage,” McDowell said.

“It was just the perfect storm against us.”

McDowell defended his decision to leave out co-captain Justin DiBlasio for the returning Mitch Elford, and he believes it didn’t have an impact on the final result.

“I think once you get out there in the line of fire, you’re competing,” McDowell said. “(But) we’ll never know the answer to that now.

“I thought Mitchy Elford played pretty damn well. He was pretty close our best player.

“He had two goals kicked on him by (Jared) Matheson; I think they were both free kicks.

“Other than that, I thought he played pretty well.”

After taking charge of Inverleigh ahead of the 2014 season, McDowell has guided the Hawks into five consecutive finals series, with third their worst finish.

Whether he’s in control for a sixth season is up for discussion.

“I supposed it will all be resolved over the next week. I’d certainly like it all resolved over the next week,” McDowell said.

“I’m still weighing it up. Myself and the club have to be on the same page, in terms of how we think we can get this done.

“That’s where it’s at at the moment.”

Twitter: @tom_king79