We are the Champions!
DIVISION 1- Grand Final Wrap-Up
with Good Will Hunter
The premiership cup returns to Hurlingham Park after East Brighton dished out a 69-point hiding to Dingley in the SFL Division One Grand Final on Sunday afternoon.
Having featured in the big dance for four consecutive seasons, the Vampires had the experience to handle the atmosphere and pressure of the biggest stage, and that was always going to hold them in good stead against a side playing in its first Division One decider.
But few of the 4982 fans that packed into Springvale Reserve could have predicted the ruthless dominance that East Brighton displayed all over the park for two and a half quarters that led them to claim the ultimate prize in the most destructive fashion.
Skipper Ben Douthie also capped a memorable day with for the Vampires with a sublime three-goal performance to take out the Meneilly Medal for best on ground.
The opening term was a tremendous contest from the opening bounce and never foreshadowed the landslide result that was to come. In typical Grand Final style it was a bruising quarter of footy, characterised by big bumps, bone-crunching tackles and a fearless attack on the footy, with both sides determined to set the standard early.
This aggression and refusal to take a backward step resulted in the opening goal of the game with Tony Lavars conceding a free kick after tangling with East Brighton forward Mark Jamieson 30 metres out from goal. Jamieson duly converted from directly in front.
Minutes later, Dan Bolger nailed the equalizer with a terrific long-range snap.
The contested nature of the match saw 10 goalless minute elapse, but beautiful transition footy from the back pocket saw Vampire Phil Zarra run into an open goalsquare to finally break the deadlock right on quarter time.
Dingley then made the perfect start to the second term with Adam Lloyd reaching into his bag of tricks to again square the ledger. With the ball seemingly destined to bounce through for a behind, Lloyd threw his right boot at it, hacking it out of midair and watching it sail through for a remarkable goal from a tight angle. This was a spectacular, albeit rare highlight for the Dingoes.
It was at the 10-minute mark of the second term that things started to go pear-shaped for Dingley. With Dean Williamson moved up into the guts and Douthie leading by example, East Brighton gained the ascendancy in the clinches. As they had done in the Semi Final two weeks prior, they dominated the contested possession count and surged forward relentlessly, while denying Dingley the opportunity to get their trademark outside run through the midfield and pressuring them into basic skill errors. The result was six of the next seven goals to the Vampires and a 34-point half time lead.
Dingley needed a spark and although Williamson scored the first goal of the second half within 90 seconds, they responded with two majors in as many minutes to give themselves a sniff. But the Dingoes resurrection was short-lived as East Brighton blew them away with a scintillating five-goal burst late in the term to take an unbeatable 10-goal lead into the final change.
The final quarter was akin to the Champs-Elysees stage of Le Tour de France – merely a celebratory procession for the imminent victors. Fittingly, it was Douthie who put the icing on the cake with a
ripping goal from deep in the pocket in the final minutes, sparking wild celebrations from the sea of red and white.
Although Douthie was a deserved Meneilly medallist, the Vampires’ win was underpinned by an even spread of contributors all over the ground.
Hamish Dahl would have certainly given his captain a run for his money for best afield honours as he was the key influence behind East Brighton’s midfield superiority. The big fella was dead-set unstoppable in the ruck and booted three telling goals at crucial stages, two of which came from strong contested grabs in the second half.
Mitch Garvey, David De Luca and Sam Dillon were beneficiaries of Dahl’s work, and were all superb through the midfield. The trio won gathered plenty of the footy, particularly the contested ball, and sent the Vampires into attack time and again.
Zarra provided the early spark up forward with three first half majors, while Nathan Stewart and Liam Bowman both played starring roles in defence – the latter again holding Dingoes spearhead Dean Francis goalless.
Tait Sabec also deserved praise for his role on dynamic winger Luke Walmsley in what was perhaps the game’s most intriguing head-to-head battle. Although Walmsley probably got the better of him in the end, Sabec limited the Dingley match-winner’s influence, particularly in the first half.
Walmsley, however, was easily his side’s best player and was the one of the very few Dingoes to provide dash and show a willingness to take the game on, as evidenced by his wonderful running goal in the dying moments of the match.
Captain Lee Wonnacott also had a solid afternoon while Matt Morwood never gave up on what was a very tough day at the office for the vanquished Dingoes.
DIVISION 2- Grand Final Wrap-Up
with Jason Barbin
The 2014 Division 2 Premiership Cup makes its way to Mordialloc as the Bloods redeem themselves with a tough win against Skye.
In front of a strong crowd at Jack Barker Oval in Cheltenham, Mordialloc took on Skye in a battle of the titans for the 2014 Premiership and a spot in Division 1 in 2015. In a much anticipated game between the two best teams in Division 2, Mordialloc went into the game as favourites, having beaten Skye on three occasions already in the 2014 season. Though they didn’t need it, Mordialloc had extra incentive heading into this game after failing to secure the 2013 Premiership, going down to Bentleigh.
In perfect conditions, the match began in predictable fashion. Shortly after the first bounce, a defensive struggle began as both teams fought for control of the game early on. After over 10 minutes of highly contested football, neither team was able to gain clear control and score freely. Though there were plenty of opportunities, both teams were showing that they weren’t going to make scoring easy for their opponents. But both teams were able to break through the defences and kick two majors in the first quarter, Dan Mcewan and Ben Evans kicking the goals for Skye while Simon Fragiacomo capped off his excellent first quarter with a goal.
Trailing by a solitary point at quarter time, the Bloods were clearly under pressure as their key forwards struggled to get into the game. That would all change by half time. Clearly in danger of losing control of the game to the Bombers, Mordialloc dug deep in the second quarter and it paid off. Sam Anstey worked his way into the contest, kicking a goal and Fragiacomo continued to win plenty of the ball. But the tide truly turned when Mordialloc star forward James Morris clicked into gear. The gun forward was well held in the first term but broke free to kick five of seven goals in the second term to help steer the Bloods to a commanding 41 point lead at half time.
Going into half time, the game looked to be all but over. Skye were struggling to score and their own gun forward Luke Mcguinness was being well held by backmen Nick Corda and Sam Nichols. But the Bombers never gave in and they started the second half the same way Mordialloc ended the first, with plenty of on ball pressure. After a discouraging term where they only managed two behinds, the Bombers began to win the ball in more threatening positions and it soon showed on the scoreboard. Ben Evans kicked his second goal of the game and looked dangerous up forward while midfielders Jim Martinson and Marc Fedderson slowly started to regain control and build some momentum. Dan Mcewan was having a solid game in the ruck against Dan Quinn and it proved pivotal in the comeback attempt from Skye. A few more quick goals before the final break brought the margin down to 39 points and though the margin still seemed out of reach, a faint air of hope was still there for the Bombers supporters.
Going into the final quarter, for Skye to win the game the plan was simple. Move the ball forward quickly at all times. This strategy began to work as Skye controlled play for the first half of the final term. Ben Evans kicked 2 goals Aaron Harper kicked one to bring the margin to within 4 goals but that would be as close as they got. Realising that the game was within reach for Skye, the Mordialloc midfield began to regain control. Todd Bastion and Carey Neville stamped their authority on the game while James Morris kicked two more goals to bring his tally to seven for the day. Travis Kitchen tried hard to bring the Bombers back into the game but it was too little too late as Mordialloc, despite only winning 1 out of the 4 quarters, held on to win the 2014 Division 2 Grand Final by 34 points. Simon Fragiacomo was awarded the Meneilly Medal for best on ground.
On the back of impressive run from their tough and experienced midfield and key contributions from their key position players, Mordialloc redeem their loss in 2013 with their win in 2014 and will move up into Division 1 again next season. They were the best team all season and are worthy winners of the flag. Skye showed an immense amount of potential and improvement as the season wore on and have a solid core of young and experienced players that will hopefully be around for years to come. The loss will hurt but expect bigger and better things from the Bombers in 2015.
Under 19′s – Grand Final Wrap-Up
With Josh Schonafinger
The Bentleigh Under 19s of 2014 wrote their own little bit of history in the SFL grand final against Dingley, by going undefeated for the entire season. The Dees made up for their disappointing end to 2013 (a grand final loss to Murrumbeena), with a solid win over a gallant Dingley.
Make no mistake, this Dingoes’outfit came to play and there was only two points separating the sides at the main break.
Dingley’s chief goal kickers Vincent Arena and Caelin Brooker threatened to break the game open with four goals between them. However, it was Bentleigh’s depth and the unsung hero Christopher Yenofkian with four goals that tilted the game in the Dees’favour, taking a lead of 11 points into the final break.
The Dingoes mounted one final challenge in the last quarter, but it was well handled by the composed Demon defence. Bentleigh kicked three goals to two in the final term, and as the clock counted into time-on, the droves of Dees’fans began to sense victory. When the final siren sounded, the margin was 16 points, 9.5.59 to Dingley’s 6.7.43.
Bentleigh’s courageous Jack Gadakis was named best on ground for his exceptional performance. Dingley put up a valiant challenge, but it was Bentleigh’s cup to lose and they deserve their victory without a doubt. Congratulations to our 2014 premiers!
Thirds – Grand Final Wrap-Up
With Josh Schonafinger
Dingley pulled off one of the great comebacks to defeat Skye in the last few minute of the Thirds Grade Grand Final. Skye led at quarter time by two goals and looked the fresher side having had the previous week off. Their dominance stretched into the second quarter, where they kicked four goals to Dingley’s one. For the Bombers, Michael Kalviskis and Jeremy Gleeson were having an impact as usual. The Dingoes on the other hand, risked kicking themselves out of the match with unforgivable inaccuracy in front of goal. 27 points was Skye’s advantage at the main break.
All footy fans know of the phrase ‘a game of two halves’, and it’s a perfect way to describe what eventuated: Dingley came out with fire in the belly and kicked five goals to two in the ‘premiership quarter’to get back within seven points at the last change. Travis Walker was getting busy and Peter Rizzi was starting to look dangerous. The Dingoes continued to pepper the goals in the last term with Michael Jeddou and Justin English making several chances. With less than two minutes remaining, Frank Costantino kicked just his fourth goal of the season to put the Dingoes ahead by one point, which they hung on to.
Commiserations to Skye after a terrific season and a big congratulations to a deserved Dingley who won the grand final heart-stopper 9.15.69 to Skye’s 10.8.68.