Division 1 - Grand Final Review
With Good Will Hunter
Dingley have claimed their maiden SFNL Division 1 Senior Premiership in emphatic fashion, thumping Mordialloc by 52 points in Sunday’s Grand Final at Springvale Reserve.
The Bloods were left to rue another slow start as a seven-goal opening-term salvo from the Dingoes ensured they were never headed.
Dingley had one hand on the cup with an eight-goal half time lead and from there the Bloods were never in the hunt.
Devastating midfielder Jackson Peet claimed the Meneilly Medal for best afield, narrowly pipping teammates Marcus Freeman, Josh Boyle and the Lavars boys – Tony and Bret – in what was a clinical team performance from the Dingoes.
Interestingly, Mordialloc captain Todd Bastion won the toss and chose to kick toward the grandstand end into a flukey cross-ground wind, a Trent Cotchin-esque decision that similarly back-fired.
And the Dingoes certainly made full use of their early leg up. They were red-hot from the moment umpire Luke Porter slammed the ball into the turf to commence proceedings, kicking two goals in the first 90 seconds through the agency of big man Steven Gaertner.
Mordi forward James Pennycuick put his side on the board a minute later, and it looked as though pre-game predictions of a free-flowing shootout would eventuate.
But then it all unravelled for the Bloods as the Dingoes dominated possession through the midfield and made full use of their forward 50 entries, banging through the next five goals to lead by 36 points at the first change
Dan Bolger and Calhan McQueen both goalled in the first nine minutes of the second term to extend the Dingoes’ lead to 47 points and all of a sudden the match was reminiscent of last Sunday’s epic Preliminary Final.
Unfortunately, however, there would be no heroic fightback from the Bloods as Dingley put extra numbers at every contest and refused to allow Mordialloc to win the ball on the outside and gain any real momentum.
It took until the 10 minute mark of the third term for the Bloods to register their second goal of the match – through a free kick to James Keighley – and give the fans in red and white something to cheer.
In fact the second half became a low-scoring, scrappy affair which yielded a combined seven goals between the two sides.
Not even Jake Mullen’s yellow card in the dying seconds of the third quarter, which reduced the Dingoes to 17 men for the majority of the final term, could get Mordialloc back in the contest.
When Dingley skipper Tony Lavars finally nailed the opening goal of the final term at the 20 minute mark to ice the game, he made a beeline for the forward pocket at the grandstand end to celebrate with the Dingoes’ Reserves players, who were toasting their earlier Grand Final win over Cheltenham.
During the ensuing moment of euphoria, the metal fence was crushed under the sheer weight of the raucous Dingley crowd and bodies spilled on to the grass near the left hand behind post
, providing the humorous highlight of the afternoon.
Later, atop the premiership dias, a contrite Lavars’ sheepish first words to the crowd were: “Sorry about the fence”, before he and coach Shane Morwood were presented with the coveted silverware.
The inspirational Lavars was tremendous all day, as was his brother Bret. The pair were superb down back, spotting up teammates by foot and looking to create.
Peet, Boyle and Luke Bartholomew were all dominant through the midfield, racking up massive numbers of possessions and clearances in heavy traffic and gained plenty of metres for their side.
Freeman was a livewire in the front half of the ground while Bolger finished with two majors, including one on the final siren from a snap deep in the forward pocket in front of the busted fence.
Gaertner and McQueen set the tone with five goals between them to halftime and although their contributions were somewhat limited after the long break, the damage had already been done.
In reality, this was a stunning performance from a team that didn’t seem to have any chinks in its armour.
Morwood said in the week leading up to the game that he needed all 22 of his charges performing their role and contributing if they want to take home the premiership. That’s exactly what he got.
In contrast, Mordialloc, simply had too many passengers on what was a lacklustre performance from them on the SFNL’s biggest stage.
They may have been quite competitive in the second half – Dingley outscored them by just five points after half time – but it was the poor start that ultimately cost them.
Nevertheless, they certainly had winners in Bastion and Beau Turner, who fought hard on the ball all afternoon and were clearly their two most valuable contributors.
Simon Fragiacomo was subdued early, before overcoming his nerves and finding his feet later in the game, while coach Sam Anstey, ruckman Sean Van Velsen and defender Josh Jewell were also prominent for the vanquished Bloods.
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The Dingoes line up for the pre-match National Anthem.
The Mordialloc side lines up before the big game.
Jackson Peet had the ball on a string all day.
The performance of skipper Todd Bastion was a shining light for the Bloods.
Dingley spearhead Calhan 'the Dream' McQueen flies for a grab.
Dingo Jake Mullen scoots away from Mordialloc's Carey Neville.
The Dingoes pass their Auskick counterparts as they run back out onto the field after half time.
Tony Lavars (#7) runs to the boundary after kicking a goal late in the last quarter...
...and the fence collapses under the weight of the celebrating Dingley Reserves team.
The Dingley players return to the scene to celebrate with the Reserves at the final siren minutes later.
Jackson Peet receives the Meneilly Medal.
Photos courtesy of Photogenix. Photos from this match and other games during the 2015 SFNL SAS Security Finals series are available to purchase at www.photogenixsports.com.au.