Blues claim back-to-back flags
It was not one for the ages, but Picola United claimed back-to-back Picola District Football League north-west premierships on Saturday.
An inspired third term from substitute Kian Wise, 16, helped United kick six unanswered goals to set up successive grand final victories against Strathmerton.
Jon Varcoe’s men were gallant in the second term holding off a Bulldogs onslaught before Wise’s three goals and an assist in the decisive premiership quarter ensured the top side prevailed.
Final score Picola Utd 11.4 (70) to Strathmerton 7.10 (52).
Bulldogs ruckman Max Canfield was awarded best-on-ground after starring in the ruck, kicking two goals and taking ample marks across the vast expanses at Blighty.
Matt Shannon and Lewis O’Sullivan were ever present across half-back for the Bulldogs, while John Walker was undoubtedly United’s best.
Walker, who spent most of the game in defence, floated as a loose man, taking a number of packs marks while ushering his troops forward with rebound football.
Coach Jon Varcoe said there was plenty of relief at the final siren, having been at the helm of the club for both premierships.
‘‘The moment after the game was really quite amazing,’’ he said.
‘‘There was a lot of relief and excitement amongst the group, especially after our reserves ended up winning fairly well.
‘‘For two teams to achieve a premiership on the same day was a massive step forward for the club, and it was incredible celebrating the occasion together. ‘‘It made the day better because of that.’’ Scott Miles delivered the game’s first goal for United and one soon became two for Varcoe’s side in a low-scoring quarter as Dylan Cunningham doubled his side’s lead.
The Bulldogs dominated the second term, but they were left to rue their missed opportunities kicking 1.5 to United’s one major.
Despite their inaccuracy, the Bulldogs managed to close the margin from 10 points to five at half-time, but after that, it was all one-way traffic when the game was there to be won.
Adam Jorgensen, 17, and available to play for the Murray Bushrangers, snagged a goal in the first and third quarters, while Tom Byrnes, Ash Weldon and Wise ran riot in a pivotal third term where United jumped out to a 35-point lead.
The diminutive Wise broke the game open for United, kicking two snap goals on his non-preferred left foot, before cooly slotting his third from directly in front.
It was almost 20 minutes between Canfield’s and Tyron Hill’s major late in the third term, which snapped a streak of six unanswered goals for the eventual premiers.
Two final-term goals from Adrian Crestani, one from Hill and Canfield helped the Bulldogs fight back late, but the damage had already been done. Picola managed a premiership double after defeating Strathmerton in the Picola District Football League north-west reserves grand final.
Picola were brilliant from the outset, kicking three goals in the opening term to eventually win 13.8 (86) to 5.9 (39).
The 47-point victory meant United, who competed in three of the four grades, secured victory in the two open age divisions.
Matt Atkinson starred in the reserves, kicking three goals from midfield.
Travis Gilby, Noah Glanville, best-onground Ben Reid and Darcy O’Neill all finished with two majors as United kept the Bulldogs goalless in the third term.
Daniel Allen was lively up forward for the Bulldogs, kicking two of his side’s five goals, while Lance Crowe worked tirelessly.
In a battle between first and second, it was the ladder leaders who proved the grandest of sides on the biggest of stages.
Picola United celebrate their premiership win. Photo courtesy David Jackson.