Lions roar­ing in Minin­era

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY JONATHAN BOX

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

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