GLENROWAN WINS RECORD FOURTH STRAIGHT O&K SE­NIOR FOOT­BALL GRAND FI­NAL

Kelly Tigers make his­tory with fourth straight pre­mier­ship

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SCOTT AN­DER­SON san­der­son@ne­me­dia.com.au

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Glenrowan centre half for­ward Nick Hearn (left) wasn’t go­ing to let Be­nalla’s Ri­ley Mo­ran get the bet­ter of him dur­ing Satur­day’s Ovens and King Foot­ball League grand fi­nal, played in per­fect spring weather be­fore a huge crowd at the WJ Find­lay Oval.

His team went on to win its his­tory-mak­ing fourth con­sec­u­tive pre­mier­ship, 13.12.90 to Be­nalla All Blacks 6.7.43.

GLENROWAN can right­fully stake its claim as Ovens and King foot­ball’s great­est ever team, hav­ing done what no other club has man­aged in the league’s 115-year his­tory.

The Kelly Tigers took their place on the pre­mier­ship dais for the fourth suc­ces­sive year on Satur­day af­ter­noon, sur- pass­ing the achieve­ments of Greta (1965-67), Beech­worth (1912-14 and 1937-39) and Moyhu (1909-11) as the league’s triple pre­miers.

The Tigers earned their place with a com­pre­hen­sive 47-point vic­tory over Be­nalla All Blacks, crush­ing the spirit of their op­po­nents with a dom­i­nant first half.

With a strong wind blow- ing to­wards the river end, the open­ing quar­ter was al­ways go­ing to be telling.

Kick­ing with the breeze the Pan­thers needed to hit the score­board hard early if they were go­ing to be any chance of caus­ing the up­set.

Be­nalla came out strong, with Chris Lock­hart, Al Jacka, Sam New­ton and Harry Mo­ran all hav­ing an im­pact.

But while the Pan­thers con­trolled the ma­jor­ity of the play in the open­ing term, they failed to cap­i­talise, man­ag­ing just 1.4 for the pe­riod.

At the other end the Tigers made the most of lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties, with Mat Duffy and Matt Robin­son both drilling their set shots to give Glenrowan a two-point lead at the first change.

From there the Tigers took con­trol of the con­test.

Chris Sussyer gave his mid­field­ers first use, and Karl Norman used the wind to help drive the ball deep into the for­ward line.

Nick Lawrence was once again pick­ing up touches at will, and Duffy was get­ting his hands on the ball ev­ery time it came inside 50.

A cou­ple of chances went beg­ging for the Tigers be­fore Duffy latched onto a long kick from Norman and set sail from 45m to bring up two flags.

Min­utes later an op­por­tunis­tic left foot snap saw Duffy bring up his third ma­jor.

He had a chance to bring up a fourth after a bril­liant pass from Matt Robin­son, but spilled the mark in the goal square and got his boot to the ball a mo­ment too late.

At the other end Michael Done­hue, play­ing his fi­nal game, was do­ing his best to keep the Pan­thers within reach, pop­ping through his sec­ond goal.

But the an­other per­fect pass from Matt Robin­son to Duffy re­sulted in the enig­matic for­ward’s fourth goal, which started a red time blitz for the Tigers.

Matt Robin­son fol­lowed up with an ex­tra­or­di­nary right foot snap over his head; Duffy hand­passed to Mitch Kil­ner for a ma­jor and Gus Gray kicked truly from 50m as the Tigers added four unan­swered goals in time-on to open up a 37-point buf­fer at the long break.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse for the Pan­thers, An­drew Trende left the field with a leg in­jury late in the sec­ond quar­ter and was ruled out for the rest of the match.

Be­nalla needed a mas­sive third quar­ter to get back into the match, but the Tigers had other ideas, and when Duffy bagged his fifth goal mid­way through the pe­riod the game was as good as done, with the lead out to 49 points.

From there the Tigers were able to just en­joy the game.

While the Pan­thers never gave up, Glenrowan was far be­yond their reach.

The end re­sult was the cul­mi­na­tion of five years of toil for Glenrowan.

Nine play­ers won a fourth straight pre­mier­ship, while an­other three won their third flag at the club.

Norman was de­servedly named best afield for the sec­ond time in a pre­mier­ship vic­tory, with more than 30 pos­ses­sions in an­other dom­i­nant per­for­mance in the mid­dle – the Pan­thers sim­ply had no an­swer for him.

Fel­low big game player Luke Fox was out­stand­ing in de­fence, caus­ing half a dozen turnovers with his peer­less abil­ity to take in­ter­cept marks, while Lawrence capped his bril­liant sea­son with an­other stand­out dis­play in the mid­dle.

Up for­ward, the one-two punch of Mat Duffy and Matt Robin­son was dev­as­tat­ing for Be­nalla.

Duffy booted 5.2 with one as­sist, but could have had three more if his team­mates had fin­ished.

Robin­son kicked 3.0 and had four di­rect goal as­sists, with his eva­sive ma­noeu­vres and field kick­ing sub­lime.

PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

PHOTOS: Emma Hil­lier

MATE­SHIP: Life­long friends Mat Duffy and Max Scott em­brace fol­low­ing their fourth straight flag to­gether, and (in­set) Duffy snaps a goal on his left foot.

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