Grand Final Match Report
The day had finally arrived and we’d been blessed with relatively good conditions albeit slightly wet. The last two games against Doveton, we had we one win apiece and therefore knew that we had to be on top of your game. The boys were extremely pumped and had a few nerves.
At the start of the game, Coops, following his BOG in the first final, took his tagging role on #26 and we went man on man elsewhere whilst keeping an eye on a few other players. We had some fantastic opportunities to convert from 30m on slight angles but unfortunately didn’t make the most of our shots whilst Doveton kicked one from the boundary and then another just before the quarter time siren. Down 12-3. We were still very much confident and knew that if the scoreboard was taken away, we were clearly the better side in the opening term.
Doveton’s second quarters had proven to be their best quarters in their previous 2 finals games and they did well again, extending their lead to 14 at half time. We had taken the lead briefly at the start of the 2nd quarter kicking two quick goals, one to Paddy and another to Oscar, before Doveton converted 3 good goals in succession.
The nerves were absolutely there at Half Time despite trying our best not to show them. We settled, tweaked our game plan a bit, and knew we were well and truly in the hunt. Unfortunately, Doveton proceeded to capitalise on their opportunities whilst we couldn’t buy a goal. Despite the heroics of Colesy, the consistency of Holts, the persistence of Porter (to play after doing another hamstring), and the backline trying to defend lots of dangerous entries, we found ourselves down 27 just before the 3 qtr time siren. Along came Oscar with his second and our teams third for the game, trimming the margin to 21 at 3 quarter time.
Personally, I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say. Marshy and Robbo gave some valuable advice, whilst the assistant coaches stay composed in the line chats. We swapped our CHB (Helmore) with our CHF (Kobe), put the leagues leading goal kicker into the ruck, moved our ruckman forward, and challenged every single one of our players to play their hearts out. A side full of heart, we still believed we were in it despite kicking 3 goals for the game.
Start of the 4th quarter, we had the first shot, a miss from the boundary when we had players open in front of goal. Doveton rebounded quickly to score a goal with a great front and centre only 30 seconds later. Everything had to go our way from here but we were never giving up. The ball started to bounce our way, we were surging it forward to gain territory, we began hunting the pill harder than the opposition and eventually we got reward for effort. Porter kicked a goal after being knee’d in the head in the ruck and Conor also kicked truly after finding space in the hot spot after great forward pressure caused a turnover. Gary Kruger, our ruckman who hadn’t played forward in over a month, took Mark of the Year with a beautiful grab and slotted it. Oscar joined in the goal kicking party with a shot from 50, after dominating in the ruck all quarter, to bring the scores to 49-51.
Cometh the moment, cometh the man. Ice man James Helmore, our CHB, kicked a left foot snap under pressure to give us our first lead in over an hour of footy and more importantly, with 5 minutes to spare in the game. The crowd, the players, and the coaches went absolutely nuts. Minutes later, thanks again to the manic pressure of our forwards, Helmore finds himself with a set shot about 35m out. Cool, calm, and collected Jimmy kicks another goal to prove he’s the best swingman in the comp.
We pulled off a comeback for the ages and won by 8 pts in an emotional rollercoaster of a match. So proud of the boys, thankful for the volunteers, and appreciative to all those who came to support the red and blue. We cannot wait to do it all over again when the Reds play in their Grand Final on Saturday, Sept. 17th at RSEA Park. Let's go Dees.
Thanks again to everyone who played, helped out, and supported our 19s squad this season. We appreciate everyone’s help and assistance and are extremely happy to celebrate after years of hard work.