Barbarians clinch premier league title
With hardly any fingernails left on his hands and a voice hoarse from yelling an hour straight, Barbarians coach Brad Inmon stood staring at the Brent Livermore Field scoreboard in disbelief at full time.
His side had just wiped away four years of heartache in a single match defeating City Bears 3-1 in a thrilling Grafton Premier League grand final.
“This feels unbelievable, words cannot truly describe how I feel,” he said.
“I am just shattered, I am not that far off tears to be honest. To see the boys put in an effort like that, it was just ridiculous.
“I have been involved in pretty much every Barbs premiership, I captained to a win, to win it as a coach is special. It’s right up there.”
It was a high-octane final played at a searing pace with both sides quick to trade blows in the first half.
Barbs strike weapon Laurie Urquhart put his side in front with a crafty deflection in the seventh minute but City Bears had an immediate answer with striker Mark Pollock putting the finishing touches on a shock attacking move from the restart.
Both sides battled to gain ascendancy in the midfield with City Bears stars Justin Alford and Brayden Lollback continually threatening to open up the Barbs defence.
But for whatever the Bears could throw at them Barbs found an answer as the side dug their claws in during the first half.
When Urquhart netted his second goal late in the first half the Barbs went into the break on a high, and Inmon knew they just had to hold strong in their own half.
“I just told the boys to stick to the game plan, stick to what we have been working on, to make full use of the middle,” he said.
“To Bears credit they played their skins out in that final. It is always a hard task coming up against them and grand final day doesn’t make it any easier.”
Barbs had to dig deep into their reserves to hold out a pressing Bears outfit in the second half.
A brief melee, which saw two players yellow carded, threatened to blow the emotions of the game open.
But when Barbs captain Josh Wainwright was awarded a penalty stroke which he dutifully put away it was all she wrote for the valiant City Bears side.
Inmon said it was a win that meant more to his side than just the premiership trophy and bragging rights.
“Chris Shipman is leaving us this season and the grand final was all about giving Shippo the send off he deserved,” Inmon said.
“This is great, we can forget any heartbreak from the past, it is all gone now. These boys have just etched their name in GHA history. It is bloody great.”