LIONS’ MIRACLE MOMENT
Minor premiers Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault snatched a thrilling one point victory from the jaws of defeat against Eaton Boomers in Sunday’s reserves grand final at Hands Oval.
Having trailed since the third minute mark of the opening term, Lions goalsneak Kieran Chell put his side in front with 40 seconds left on the clock, with John Strano’s men holding on for an epic 8.9 (57) to 8.8 (56) premiership victory.
It was a win the Lions faithful won’t forget, considering how the Boomers appeared to have them on the ropes.
The Boomers bagged four goals in the opening quarter, with snaps from Stephen Kane and Scott Tynan, a strong mark from Josh Kelly and a great soccer off the ground from the busy Dylan Ramsay – as he raced hard for the open ball with a Lions defender.
In contrast, the Lions were well astray with several set shots swinging late, finishing with a wasteful 0.7 for the term.
Gradually the Lions found their feet in the second half and worked their way back into the game.
Prior to Chell’s match-winning goal, the Boomers had controlled possession and were intent on chipping the ball around, however lacked some conviction with their disposal as time wound down.
On the final siren, the Lions faithful could not hide their delight, with scores of supporters flooding the middle of the oval to celebrate with their heroes.
It was an emotional moment for Lions coach John Strano, who maintained belief in his squad all match – irrespective of the deficit.
“I always have faith in them,” he told the Harvey-Waroona Reporter.
“Even when we kicked those seven points in the first quarter, along with the quarter, half and three quarter-time breaks, I just said to the boys to keep sticking to the same plan and things will happen. And finally, things did happen.
“Instead of kicking points, we kicked goals and we finally got over the line.
“I’m just so proud of these boys and I’m proud of Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault giving me another opportunity to coach.”
On a personal level, Strano managed to embrace loved ones amid the throng of maroon and gold after an unwanted streak came to an end.
“That’s six grand finals now,” he said.
“I’d lost five before today. And today is my first one. I’ve achieved a lot of things in life but this is the ultimate.
“This group means the world to me after we have lost so many. Just knowing we had a blend of eight or nine guys who got beaten last year – along with 10 or 12 youngsters who have come in this season.
“To win it is magnificent and it just sets the club up really for the next five years.”
Brendan Stemp was best on ground for the Lions and received the Don Punch MLA trophy.
The Lions were delirious after recording an unforgettable one point victory in the SWFL reserves grand final over Eaton Boomers.
Taine Williams sends the Lions into attack during a pulsating final term.
Lions coach John Strano hoists the cup with Shannon Sabourne.