Shepparton News


- By Zach Standish

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.”

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 ?? Country Cup. ?? All smiles: The Goulburn Valley Grammar boys after winning the Herald Sun
Country Cup. All smiles: The Goulburn Valley Grammar boys after winning the Herald Sun

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