Division 3 Grand Final Review

By Andrew Paloczi

Springvale Districts 11.10 (76) def Endeavour Hills 5.9 (39)

Springvale Districts made it 18-wins-straight, beating a spirited but outgunned Endeavour Hills by 37 points on an unexpectedly sunny day in Doveton.

The Demons were the best side throughout 2018, occupying top spot after the home and away season and backing up that achievement with an accomplished finals campaign.

Victory over Hampton Park in the opening week of the finals earned Springvale Districts a weekend off to rest up for the grand final.

Often a team coming off a bye is slow out of the blocks, but the Demons were on the ball as soon the big game got underway.

The Falcons’ backline was quickly put to the test with Ben Swift marking in defence in the early moments of the game.

A pattern was soon set, with Endeavour Hills’ defenders fighting hard to clear the ball, only for the Demons to quickly bring it back into their attacking arc.

For much of the first term Endeavour Hills struggled to get the footy forward of the centre.

However, a combination of the Falcons’ defensive efforts and some Demons’ inaccuracy kept the margin at the first break to just eight points in favour of Districts.

Early in the second term Matt Thompson nailed a delightful set shot goal from near the boundary for Springy.

Sam Raru then increased the Demons’ lead to 21 points with another major, his second of the match.

That came six minutes into the quarter and it appeared the Demons were on course to break the game open.

As is typical of Endeavour Hills, the Falcons responded positively to the challenge.

They booted three goals to one for the remainder of the term to head to the long break with just a seven-point deficit.

Springvale Districts’ skipper Todd Wills got his side off to a positive start in the third stanza, goaling on the run.

There was just one more goal for the term with the Demons’ Lachie Morrey punishing a defensive blunder from the Falcons.

Endeavour Hills added only two behinds in the third quarter, but headed to the huddle just 17-points down and with a glimmer of hope.

A snapped goal to Peter Heng and a set shot major to fellow Demon Mladen Josic blew Springvale Districts’ lead out to 29 points early in the final quarter.

Nathan Reid eventually responded for the Falcons, but that proved to be his side’s sole major for the second half.

Wills received the Meneilly Medal for best on ground, an award determined by the umpires.

Tom Wilkinson, Thompson, Ben Stacey, Nathan Brown and Josic all appeared on the winner’s list of best players.

Whilst ruckman Daniel Wilson didn’t feature on that list, he played a decisive part in his side’s win, helping provide opportunities to his midfield.

Wilson was well supported in the ruck by Tom Cooper.

Daniel Soar did the bulk of the ruckwork for Endeavour Hills.

Whilst his commitment couldn’t be questioned, the Falcons’ lack of a taller ruck option was ruthlessly exposed by the Demons.

Stefan ‘Poppa’ Feehan, Raru and Morrey were the multiple goal scorers for Springvale Districts, finishing with two majors each.

Endeavour Hills’ five goals came from as many players.

Springvale Districts’ coach Kris Thompson reflected on his club’s achievement as he stood beside skipper Wills waiting to receive the premiership cup.

“The buy in for this level of footy, unbelievable. We’ve never had under 50 guys on the track. This is what happens when teams commit and buy in,” Thompson said.

Endeavour Hills is an equally committed outfit, but in the end was outclassed by a club that did not deserve to be relegated from division 2 last season.

Thompson spoke of his respect for the Falcons.

“I’m really glad that we did get to play you guys in the grand final. I think it was really fitting for a couple of well drilled footy sides,” he said.

Thompson made mention of the Springvale Districts’ supporters who have waited 11 years since the club’s last flag.

It should be remembered that Endeavour Hills is not yet that old as a club and the Falcons’ accomplishment in reaching two grand finals in a row is commendable.

Congratulations to Springvale Districts on what was a marvellous season and all the best to the Demons in Division 2 next year.

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