HEPBURN 9.10 (64)
DAYLESFORD 5.5 (35)
A HALF-TIME rev-up spurred Hepburn to a 29-win over arch-rival Daylesford in Central Highlands Football League’s Spa Country Derby on Sunday.
The Bulldogs read the wet and muddy conditions better in the first half and led the Burras at the big break.
A 16-point lead was largely a result of goals from Zac Tisdale, Daniel Muscat and a pair from Joel Cummings.
Hepburn seemed bogged down and choked for scoring opportunities – managing just the one major, kicked by Mitch McKay four minutes into the first term.
The message to Burras players was received loud and clear.
Within 30 seconds of the bounce for the third quarter, Ken Cummings booted a goal and Hepburn was up and running.
Jimmy Rodgers followed quickly with another major and Jackson Hogan kicked a goal minutes later, and the Burras had suddenly snatched the lead back.
By the end of the third term Hepburn had blitzed its way to a 22-point lead with two majors each the Rodgers, Cummings and Hogan and a single to Andy McKay.
The McKay brothers – Andy, Mitch and Brad – did what they do best, lighting the fuse and rallying the troops into action.
Daylesford’s poise from the first half was snuffed out dramatically and Tisdale’s single major for the second half was the only resistance.
Hepburn’s heroes were many, but Billy Johns, Daniel Rees, Hayden Rodgers and Joe Malone were among those to stand out.
Daylesford’s best included Joel Cowan, Joel Cummings, Emlyn Nettleton and Seb Eyles.
The win makes two-from-two for Hepburn’s new playing-coach Siga Asa Leausa to launch the club’s title defence.
Leausa described the second half turnaround as “players finally getting the message”.
“The message got delivered pretty hard.
“They really needed to put in that effort,” he said.
“We identified at halftime that in these conditions it really came down to how much you needed to want that ball.
“It’s the players who want to get that ball who make the difference.”
Daylesford coach Zac Tisdale said the swing in momentum came down to about 10 minutes.
“The first half was pretty positive.
“Our pressure was good, but they jumped us in that third quarter and we were too slow to react,” he said.
Asa Leausa was a late withdrawal because of injury for Hepburn, which also lost Joe Clark during the day.