By Jason Barbin
The Southern Football Netball League Division 2 season came down to just two teams, squaring off on that one day in September with one side capping off an outstanding season with a well-deserved premiership at Jack Barker Oval.
Port Melbourne Colts 11.16 (82) def Caulfield 5.8 (38)
It wasn’t always pretty but the Colts did what they needed to do to get across the line in Saturday’s blockbuster clash against the Bears.
The forward combination of Jason Butty (four goals) and Mitch Clarke combined for seven majors and ultimately proved the difference.
Steven McAnulty was superb in his efforts and was named the Meneilly Medallist as the best player on the ground alongside clever midfielder Brad Sutcliffe and vice-captain Jake Wood.
For the Bears, classy midfielder Jake Buggy finished as their best player on the ground with two goals while Sean Walton and defender Brandon Turner were also impressive.
Port Melbourne took control of the game right from the outset, able to move the ball inside 50 with regularity, creating nine scoring shots in the process while their defensive intensity restricted Caulfield to just three scoring shots.
The Colts were wasteful in front of goal, however, registering only two majors and six behinds to hold a 15-point lead at the quarter time break.
The second quarter was much of the same for Port Melbourne, as inaccuracy in front of goal (five behinds) allowed Caulfield to remain in the hunt, after the Bears bagged their first major of the quarter.
The Colts managed two goals in reply however, and subsequently took a 23-point advantage into the half time break.
One of the most important quarters of football is the ‘premiership’ quarter and Port Melbourne had one of the best when it took a stranglehold of the game in the third term.
While the Colts were still able to move the ball inside 50 seemingly at will, they were being rewarded for effort as the likes of Butty and Clarke were able to hit the scoreboard.
McAnulty’s influence on the game was prominent and the crafty small used the ball with precision across the ground.
The likes of Sutcliffe, Wood and Justin Taylor continued their impressive efforts throughout the quarter as the Colts continued to hold the upper hand in the midfield battle.
The result was a further five goals to Port Melbourne’s tally while Caulfield was only able to manage one goal in reply as the margin jumped away to an unassailable 48 points.
Port Melbourne took the foot off the breaks slightly in the fourth quarter with the game well and truly in hand.
The Colts still managed to get plenty of the ball and bagged another two goals.
Caulfield played its best quarter of the day and finished with three goals but it simply wasn’t to be as Port Melbourne romped home to a 44-point victory.
Photos from the 2016 Division 2 Senior Grand Final can be purchased here thanks to Memento Sports.
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Port veteran Steve McAnulty had the ball on a string all day. CREDIT: Everard Fenton, Memento Sports.
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Colts live wire Mitch Clark celebrates one of his three goals. CREDIT: Everard Fenton, Memento Sports.
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Jake Buggy was clearly Caulfield's best on the day. CREDIT: Julian Inglese, Photogenix.
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Brad Sutcliffe fires off another handball. CREDIT: Everard Fenton, Memento Sports.
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Bears co-captain Adam Ballard never stopped trying. CREDIT: Everard Fenton, Memento Sports.
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McAnulty collects his Meneilly Medal as best on ground. CREDIT: Everard Fenton, Memento Sports.
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To the victors the spoils! The Colts celebrate the Senior and Reserve premierships. CREDIT: Julian Inglese, Photogenix.