LIONS’ MIR­A­CLE MO­MENT

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Dar­rel Cock­ram

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.

Pic­tures: Jon Gell­weiler

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.

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