Lions roaring in Mininera
The final game of the season in Mininera and District Football League lived up to expectations – a great venue, great weather and fantastic football.
Great Western created history by winning its first senior flag since joining the competition, clinching the premiership in the dying minutes of the game and beating Penshurst by five points.
A big day of action at Lake Bolac started with Hawkesdale-macarthur winning a junior flag against Glenthompson-dunkeld, then it was SMW Rovers who upset Great Western in a reserves finale.
But although things didn’t go the Lions’ way in the reserves, it was a different story in the seniors when all eyes turned to the main game for the day.
The senior clash started out as most expected, with both teams putting everything on the line and hitting hard.
With plenty of pace and skill on display, both teams wanted to get the jump on each other and threw all they had into the occasion.
It was Great Western that capitalised early in the game, with the Lions managing to outscore the Bombers and turn a seven-point quarter-time advantage into a 27-point advantage
by half time. With a four-goal break to the Lions, the game appeared headed in a one-way direction, but it was then that the Bombers dug deep and fought back with a telling sixgoal third term.
Teams went into the last change with Great Western up by only a point, prompting coaches from both camps to bark critical instructions including an insistence that players make sure to ‘not leave anything in the tank’ in one last tilt for the silverware.
Penshurst was unlucky with injury, having lost all of its players on the bench – two succumbing to hamstrings and another to a broken leg.
But this failed to deter the Bombers and with the ball rebounding between forward lines in the final term it was Penshurst that hit the front by one point with only minutes left in the contest.
Great Western secured the next clearance and with a free kick Gerrard Cunningham kicked his team back into the lead.
With one desperate last effort the Bombers went forward but the siren beat them, sparking the first Great Western premiership celebrations in Mininera football.
It was a great day for goal kickers with the Lions’ Cunningham, the league’s Jim Knight Medallist, and the Bombers’ Tim Barton kicking four each. Danny Grellet, who led the Lions on their big day in September, secured an AFL Vic Country Medal.
Others to shine for the winners and help them get over the line were Lachie Malloy, Tom Cairns, Nigel Sibson and Jeremy Cronin.
Justin Eales, Chay Deary, Matthew Rentsch, Nathan Rentsch and Taylor Mckenry were Penshurst’s best. Great Western finished the season in third position with 13 wins and three losses.
It made its way to the grand final by beating Lismore-derrinallum in a qualifying final at Willaura before overcoming Penshurst, by four points, in a second semi-final in Ararat.
BIG WIN: Great Western celebrates its premiership in Mininera and District Football League at Lake Bolac. Picture: SHARRON BASSETT