OAKLEIGH Krushers fell short in a gladiatorial slugfest against Old Haileybury at a windy and wet McKinnon Reserve in a VAFA Premier B clash on Saturday.
Injuries again plagued the Krushers. Tom Costigan cracked a fibula in the first five minutes and Chris Lamb succumbed to a hamstring not long after.
Lamb battled on but found it difficult to make an impact.
The Oaks carried on regardless and kept in touch with their more fancied opponents through tough, gutsy football. The Krushers trailed by two points at the long break and were in with a chance of the upset. But fortunes changed after the break and the hosts managed to make a break on the visitors and went into the final term with an 11-point advantage.
The Oaks weren't done and opened the scoring in the last quarter against the wind, narrowing the margin to six points. The pressure, however, began to tell and Haileybury pulled away to finish up 25-point victors.
Steve Doherty kicked two goals for Oakleigh with Chris Meyers and Dermot Cleary in the best players.
In the reserves, Oakleigh coasted home to a 19-point win.
■ Glen Waverley Hawks have signalled their intent before the Eastern Football League finals starting this Saturday.
The Hawks will face Boronia in the EFL division 3 qualifying final at East Burwood Reserve and the winner will progress to the major semi-final against minor premiers North Ringwood the following Saturday.
The Hawks have won six straight games heading into the post-season, including a thumping of lowly Coldstream on Saturday.