HASTINGS proved it is still the side to beat in MPNFL Nepean Division after dishing out a convincing hiding to Red Hill on Saturday.
Clearly the match of the round, it seemed to be heading in that direction at half-time when the margin was three points.
However, the reigning premier turned up the heat in the second half and the home side couldn’t match it, losing 15.9 (99) to 8.13 (61). Hastings booted 11 goals to four after half-time.
The Hillmen’s sure ball handling and domination from half back and through the middle was non-existent, as Hastings stayed disciplined, structured and too powerful all over the ground.
Rarely are Red Hill’s young defensive guns in Michael Mock and Jonah Siverson beaten but Shaun Foster and Luke Hewitt had the better of the pair on Saturday.
The run from half back was there for the Hillmen but they continually turned the footy over and overused the handball to players under pressure.
The home side continually blazed away into their forward line, only to find the arms of Lance Brouwer, Paul Rogasch and Brendan Dunne, who set up brilliantly, while Jay Austerberry mopped up everything.
Aaron Vinson has grown into a good young defender and beat both Jayden Pain and Danny Allsop, while Jake Hewitt continues to impress. His rebound off half back was first class yet again and he was awarded with the RPP best onfield award.
Through the middle, Josh Mulherron had the better of his younger opponent and his onball brigade delivered.
Luke Smith was outstanding all afternoon, but especially in the first quarter, while Mark Devereaux and Nathan Gray dominated.
The midfield depth of the Blues is impressive with David Hirst, Luke Clark and Ricky Ferraro also going through there.
Both Clark and Ferraro wore the dangerous Chris Irving like a glove and restricted his brilliance around the footy. Hirst was also very dangerous in attack.
A disappointed Red Hill coach Tony Blackford said after the match that the Blues were “just too good”.
“They are really strong all over the ground and they proved once again that we’re still just a bit off it,” Blackford said.
“We planned for their set-up and structures in defence but we just couldn’t execute.
“You can plan as much as you like but of the opposition make it hard and your players can’t hit the targets and execute, planning goes out the window.
“Hastings are a very disciplined side and they are much better positioned now than where they were this time last year. They have to be the side to beat,” Blackford said.
Hastings coach Brendan Dunne said his side was “starting to play some good footy”.
“We were very good today and are playing some good footy,” Dunne said.
“We played very well against Dromana a few weeks ago and that has really set us up.
“There’s some good depth and everyone is playing the role that we want them to play,” Dunne said.
Dromana had 12 goal kickers in its 19.18 (132) to 15.11 (101) shootout against Pearcedale.
Zac Muschialli played his best game for the Tigers since crossing from Edithvale while Adam Hunter booted three majors.
Harry Prior was Pearcedale’s best while Matt Cottrell booted four majors.
Frankston Bombers had 42 scoring shots against Crib Point and eventually won by 72 points, 18.14 (132) to 9.6 (60).
The Magpies went toe to toe with the Bombers in the first half and trailed by just seven points at half-time.