Former AFL star Nick Dal Santo made a surprise appearance against Springbank as the smooth-moving midfielder helped the Burras to an outstanding 62-point victory over the previously-undefeated Tigers.
Hepburn had forecast Dal Santo would play three matches in order to qualify him for a likely finals campaign, but Saturday’s appearance was unexpected to outsiders.
The 322-game AFL star was one of many contributors to what was an “unheard of” result at Wallace Recreation Reserve.
“It was penciled in months ago, I just didn’t want to publicise that … and I wanted to throw an element of surprise on Springbank with a player like that,” Olver said.
“He’ll definitely play his three (games).”
Hepburn was fast out of the blocks kicking 3.4 to one goal in the opening term, Springbank provided some resistance in the second term with 16 points separating the sides at half-time.
However, Hepburn delivered a dominant six-goal third term as the Tigers were left scoreless – the Burras breaking open a 53-point three quarter-time lead.
Coach Jason Olver was immensely proud of his charges post-match and said while Springbank did have some key players out it was still an outstanding result.
“You walk away with a 10-goal win at Springbank, it’s unheard of.
“We always knew it was going to be a challenge and we’d have to play at our best, even though they had players out. They still bat so deep, it was always going to be hard for us to match them.”
Olver said the victory was crucial to building the side’s belief it can deliver in the big games – something it will again have to do next week against Waubra.
“A couple of years ago Springbank wanted to get the culture that we had, and they actually overtook us. For us, we want to try and get that culture back – the belief in yourself to win big games of footy.
“We’re pretty confident in ourselves at the moment.”
Olver praised his back six who all had jobs on dangerous Springbank forwards, and all delivered on their role. While Andrew McKay was again dynamic through the midfield, amassing 41 possessions on the Hepburn stats sheet.
Springbank was without Mitch Couch, Tom Eltringham, Pete Lewis, Justin Simpson, Mitch Keery and Drew Tyler, but coach Michael Searl made no excuses on a day his side was “outclassed” and beaten around the contest.
“We certainly we need to rectify a number of areas.” he said.
Captain Joel Maher went off early with groin soreness.