The Gunnedah United Hawks’ finals hopes are well and truly alive in reserve grade after the side secured their fourth win of the season on Saturday.
It was the first game back in the Tamworth District Football competitions after the mid-season break with the Hawks playing host to Quirindi.
The 2-0 win saw the Hawks bunny hop over Quirindi into fifth position.
Gunnedah United sit just two points behind both Gunnedah FC, in fourth, and North Companions, in third, on the ladder and coach Blake Small’s eye is locked firmly on a spot in the finals.
“That’s the goal, to try and get into the top four. We’ve had a lot of chances where we could have won games but we haven’t,” Small said.
“That’s just the way it goes, it’s made it hard but we still think we can get there [finals].”
Small rated the determination by his side on the weekend.
“It was a good performance. We had a lot of players out and had to rely on a couple first grade boys,” Small said.
Harley Cheetham and Luke Bonello were the goal-scorers for the Hawks and Small singled out Bonello as one of the Hawks’ best.
“It was the first time he’s played reserve grade for us this year and he was a standout. Especially considering he hasn’t played with a lot of the players before,” Small said.
In first grade Gunnedah United fell 6-1 to the second-placed Quirindi side.
Anthony Rowe scored the lone goal for the Hawks who are still searching for their first win in firsts.
Small said the United first grade side was a similar lineup to that of the reserve grade side with roughly “10 quality players” missing over the weekend.
“Nearly the whole team backed up,” Small said.
“It was good to win one game when most of the players are playing two games.”
Gunnedah United will clash with Kootingal this weekend at Gipps Street Fields in Tamworth.
Kootingal sit in seventh place on the reserve grade ladder while the Kougars are going well to sit in fourth place in first grade.
Small was expecting troops to return this weekend to see the Hawks “nearly full strength” for the clashes.
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