Wan­der­ers claim flag

Great Southern Herald - - Sport - Saskia Adysti and An­drew Pritchard

Katan­ning Wan­der­ers won the Up­per Great South­ern Foot­ball League pre­mier­ship, beat­ing Nar­ro­gin Hawks by 43 points at Quar­ter­maine Oval last Sun­day, 17.14 (116) to 11.7 (73).

Quar­ter­maine Oval was filled with al­most 3500 spec­ta­tors who came from all around the Great South­ern to wit­ness the Wan­der­ers end their 31year league pre­mier­ship drought.

The Wan­der­ers dom­i­nated the game from start to fin­ish.

Wan­der­ers’ Mitchell Banks se­cured the team’s po­si­tion in the first quar­ter, scor­ing three goals. The Wan­der­ers led by 18 points at quar­ter-time.

The Hawks fi­nally found their way into the game dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter as Ralph Kick­ett scored five goals.

How­ever, what­ever Nar­ro­gin could do, Wan­der­ers could do bet­ter, as Tim Ste­wart set the tone and scored a long goal, fol­lowed by Wan­der­ers’ cap­tain Tim Fitzger­ald, who scored an­other two goals for the team.

At the end of half-time, Wan­der­ers scored a to­tal of four goals and still led by 24 points, with Katan­ning 9.3 (57) to Nar­ro­gin 5.3 (33).

The Wan­der­ers ex­tended their lead with an early goal from Lau­rence Col­lard dur­ing the third quar­ter, who scored from out­side the 50m line.

Nar­ro­gin came back with an­other kick from Kick­ett and two goals from Ethan Boatwright, who man­aged to play on de­spite break­ing his hand dur­ing the first quar­ter.

By the end of the third quar­ter, Wan­der­ers main­tained the lead, 11.8 (74) to 8.4 (52).

In the fi­nal term, Fitzger­ald scored an­other three goals for the team as they moved Josh Bootsma into the for­ward line and moved Banks to play on Kick­ett.

Nar­ro­gin man­aged to score an­other three goals dur­ing the last quar­ter, but Katan­ning still have con­trol of the game as they scored an­other six goals and picked up the 43point win for the UGSFL pre­mier­ship.

Wan­der­ers coach Mark Pin­ney said he was thrilled with the fi­nal re­sult and proud of the sup­port from the crowd.

“Our boys have been train­ing and prac­tis­ing con­tin­u­ously since Jan­uary this year; we all work re­ally hard and this is a real credit to what they are as a team,” he said.

“There were a fair bit of emo­tion at the end of the game.

“It was re­ally great to see the com­mu­nity em­brace this win — it’s been a long time com­ing. And to have nearly 3500 peo­ple there, it was truly an amaz­ing turnout for a coun­try foot­ball game.”

Pic­ture: Saskia Adysti

Katan­ning Wan­der­ers belt out their team song af­ter beat­ing Nar­ro­gin in the grand fi­nal last Sun­day. Photo avail­able at west­pix.com.au

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