HEPBURN got its Central Highlands Football League season back on track with a resounding win against Buninyong on Saturday.
It was a gritty victory by the Burras, but the defeat came at a huge cost to the Bombers.
Buninyong started strongly to lead by 14 points after the first quarter, but injuries wiped out the interchange bench.
The wheels came off well and truly in the second and final terms when the Bombers failed to kick a score.
Buninyong assistant coach Tyler Dittloff said the Bombers lost Adam Scott, Nick Shell, Fraser Russell and Morgan Turner half-way through the second quarter.
Russell lasted five minutes before being helped from the ground holding his left arm.
Scott was returning from an Achilles problem.
There were also wounded Bombers like Sam Van Meel who pushed on.
“Sam played the second half with a four or five centimetre hole in his face. He’s got missing teeth and he’s got to go and get stitches now,” Dittloff said.
“It’s not an excuse at the end of the day, but it’s probably the only game I’ve ever seen where that’s happened.
“When you’ve got a quick running team, you need everyone out there.
“We had two kids playing from the under-18s, too.
“At the end of the day, if you’re running four down and you’ve got kids out there as well, it really makes it difficult.”
For Hepburn, the win laid to rest some humiliating defeats at the hands of the Bombers in the past.
“We were nine points up at three quarter time, but we’ve had two harrowing losses here over the last three years,” Burras coach Jason Olver said after the game.
“We’ve been five goals up and six goals up at three quarter time and still blew it,” Olver said.
We were nine points up at three quarter time, but we’ve had two harrowing losses here over the last three years.Hepburn coach Jason Olver
“So pressure was on and they would have known this and we may have folded again. So it was good to come away with a win.”
Hepburn seemed to recover its mojo after shock defeats early in the season and nobody showed it more than the irrepressible Andy McKay.
McKay booted three goals in the final term in a familiar display of skill and daring.
Jacob Brown, Luke Stanton, Brad McKay, Aron Burns, Jimmy Rodgers and Mitch McKay did the damage on the scoreboard.
Segifili Asa Leausa, Finn Anscombe and the cool heads of Daniel Rees and Alan Ware were match-winners.
Under-18 players Mitchell Emmlin and Jake Coxall showed spirit for the Buninyong side.
First-gamer Emmlin kicked his first senior goal.