Tyson Ings in full flight.

On a day on which the home club celebrated its 100 year anniversary the Harden Hawks ground out a tough 20-16 victory over former long time rivals the Cootamundra Bulldogs at McLean Oval on Saturday.

The showpiece of a full day of football, the match was played in front of a passionate crowd, however, it was the Bulldogs who silenced the fans in the opening three minutes.

On the back of three consecutive penalties which afforded them ideal field position, crafty halfback James Smith weaved his way through the defence to plant the ball down on the right side of the post leaving co-captaina nd five eighth Jordyn Ballard the easiest of conversions.

It quickly became evident that points would be of a premium on a ground that from the outer looked in good condi-tion, however, was heavy underfoot.

Ten minutes in the Hawks hit back, again on the back of a penalty when halfback Nick Bush dribbled a kick in behind the defence for winger Michael West to score.

With the conversion waved away the Bulldogs held on to a slim 6-4 lead.

The remainder of the half became an arm wrestle as both packs tried to dominate.

Errors coming out their own half were hurting the victors as they failed to complete a number of sets in the back end of the term.

With time almost up Will Manwaring, whose kicking game was exceptional, toed through a deft kick behind the defence only to see the ball just bobble over the dead ball line to see the score remain 6-4 in favour of the visitors at the break.

Having identified ball control as their main focus for the second half, the Bulldogs were unable to put their plans into place, a series of handovers giving the Hawks good field position.

Five minutes in, Will Manwaring took advantage of the defence staying on its heels expecting another pin point kick to scamper across from close range.

Lock Patrick Smith converted to give the Hawks a 10-6 lead. It was a short lived advantage as the Bulldogs worked their way downfield and on the back of a rare second half penalty Ballard threw a long ball late in the tackle count.

Despite hitting the deck, the ball bounced favorably for winger Jade Cowled who crossed in the left hand corner.

Ballard’s conversion was waved away, leaving the score locked at 10-all.

Having success down that corridor, the Bulldogs ventured there again soon after, Ballard this time finding veteran centre Grant Miller who beat a number of defenders on his way to the line.

Ballard raised the flags with his kick and the Bulldogs enjoyed a six-point buffer.

However with the home crowd behind them, the Hawks were not going to lie down on such a huge day for the club and again it was the boot of Manwaring that led to the next points.

A towering bomb to the scoreboard corner was fumbled by the Dogs and in the ensuing set Riley Manwaring scored under the posts allowing Smith the easiest of conversions to again tie up the score.

In a game of limited scoring opportunities, it was feeling like it could be crucial to score next.

Again it was Manwaring who delivered.

Attacking Coota’s right side defence,Manwaring attracted
the interest of two defenders leaving winger Jarrad Sharman unmarked.

A classy cut out pass found Sharman on the chest and he dived over untouched leaving the home fans in raptures.

It is the second time this year the Hawks have come out on top in what is becoming a true local derby, however, with both teams semi final bound the Bulldogs may get the chance at redemption at the business end of the season.

Best for the Hawks on the day were Drew Arabin, Matt Holmes, Manwaring and Luke Brown, while the Bulldogs were best served by Miller, Ballard, Jarryd Cook and Luke Levett.