BIG TICK FOR TOP GRAMMAR
Goulburn Valley Grammar School is this year’s champion of the Herald Sun Country Cup for the AFL Goulburn Murray and North East Border regions after winning the final at Deakin Reserve on Monday, August 16.
Featuring respective pool winners Goulburn Valley Grammar, St Mary of the Angels (SMOTA) and Euroa, the tournament was played in a round-robin format on the one night, with the most successful team being crowned the winner.
The GV Grammar boys started with a tight 23-18 win over SMOTA before dismantling Euroa 85-7 to take out the title, while in the other match SMOTA got the better of Euroa 47-9.
A competition that was dealt numerous hurdles due to the stop-start nature of this football season, AFL Goulburn Murray football development manager Trevor Mellington said it was a relief to get the final away and be able to name a champion.
“That was our fourth go at a date to get that final played, with lockdowns forcing us to cancel the event three times earlier in the year — it is something that we would normally get out of the way completely in term two, but with the way things evolved that was not possible,” Mellington said.
“A significant amount of work went into the whole competition, with the initial pool stage games happening in early April to finally get to the pointy end of a final.
“It was definitely a lot more challenging than it usually is, but lovely that we got there because none of this was able to happen at all in 2020, so to be in a position that we get to name a premier and to squeeze the final in between the past two lockdowns we were very fortunate.”
He said the quality of football on the night was extremely high, with the level of competition drawing high praise from some influential coincidental onlookers.
“The Shepparton Bears happened to have a committee meeting on in their club rooms while the games were taking place and president Mark Washington said to me that the standard of footy was amazing and just blew him away,” Mellington said.
In a regular year, the GV Grammar boys would be gearing up to face the best team from the North East Border region to determine an overall Country Cup winner for the two areas.
However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions the North East Border region was unable to produce a competition this year, handing the AFL Goulburn Murray winner the premiership.
“In a normal non-COVID world GV Grammar would have played the best school from the North East Border region for the overall cup, but unfortunately North East Border did not run a competition this year, so that was it and we presented the trophy and medals to the GV Grammar boys on the night,” Mellington said.
With the competition now complete for another year, Mellington said the Country Cup competition provided a number of positives for school-aged footballers across regional Victoria.
“We see (this competition) as critical because it is a really good opportunity for kids to play against their peers, while also providing them an opportunity to play with kids who may be their opponents in weekend footy and now they’re teammates, therefore building that school camaraderie,” he said.
“We have seen lots of examples of kids who have played in our schools competition that don’t necessarily play weekend footy, so it is attracting potentially new participants to the game — and it is also providing high quality competition of a competitive nature which we see as very important as well.”