Triumph for Hedland’s junior teams
Hedland’s junior footy players can declare themselves the Pilbara’s best after claiming the under-15 and 17s premierships over the weekend.
Despite both teams finishing on top of the ladder during the regular season, they met stiff opposition from the Karratha Falcons with both grand finals culminating in tense final quarters at South Hedland’s Kevin Scott Oval.
In the under-15s, the Falcons pushed the Reds juniors all the way, but it was the Hedland side that fought back from a threequarter time deficit to claim a three-point win.
Had the Falcons kicked more accurately in the second half, they might have ended the Reds seasonlong unbeaten streak in the grand final. But it was not to be as the Reds capitalised on their chances to triumph 10.9 (69) to 9.12 (66).
Reds coach Michael Warren named Fatulla Rampton, Bayleigh Derschow, Bayley Warren and James Morgan as his side’s best.
Falcons player Tremayne Smiler was named best on ground.
In the under-17s, the Reds built a lead kicking with the wind in the third quarter and managed to hold off a fast-finishing Falcons for an 11.5 (71) to 8.5 (53) win. Reds player Tyson Brown won best on ground.
With the V Swans program supported by BHP Billiton helping launch the Hedland Reds junior program recently, development manager Shane Beros said he was proud of the two teams.
“The under-15s were rattled by a very fierce Falcons side but overcame a three-quarter time deficit of 22 points to claim the win,” he said. “They trusted in their coach and each other and came away with a three-point victory in a very exciting game of footy.
“The Hedland Reds under-17s had a barnstorming first half and held on to win by three goals. It was a very satisfying day for Hedland football.”
The two sides travelled 500km to Karratha every second weekend to play and endured a tough few years as start-up clubs, much like their GWS and Gold Coast counterparts in the AFL.
“From what I know, there hadn’t been junior footy in these age groups for around a decade prior to the recent junior program,” Beros said.
“So this had been four years in the making, both of these sides have copped their share of hidings over the last couple of years so to build up to this, makes the victory a little bit sweeter.”
Beros paid tribute to the many volunteers, who helped the boys, including under-17s coach Ray Glasson and under-15 coaches Michael Warren and Chris Cottier.
Both Warren and Cottier called on their vast experience as veteran players with the Flatback Turtles Masters team to inspire the under-15s to victory.