Inverloch-Kongwak and Dalyston etched their names into the history books as the inaugural Alex Scott & Staff West Gippsland Football Netball Competition premiers.
The Sea Eagles defied challenging conditions to romp to a stunning 95-point victory in a surprisingly one-sided seniors football grand final.
There were shades of the second semi-final when the Sea Eagles made a fast, if wasteful, start to the game, booting the first four scores of the game – all behinds – before finding their range to lead 29 points at the first change.
The Cobras lifted in the second term, but it was their turn to squander some golden opportunities to get back into the game, sandwiching the first two goals of the quarter from Travis Woodfield and Jai Rout between five behinds.
They were made to pay as late goals from Will Hetherington and Toby Mahoney blew the margin back out to 25 points at the main break.
The teams returned to the ground for the third quarter only for the Cobras to find they had front row seats to the Toby Mahoney Show. The athletic forward rattled off his third, fourth and fifth goals of the day in succession to have Cora Lynn 51 points in arrears and on the ropes by three-quarter-time.
From that point on it was party time for the Sea Eagles, who piled on eight more goals, including two more for Mahoney who finished with seven for the day and was duly awarded the AFL Victoria Country Medal as best-on-ground.
Josh Purcell, Andy Soumilas and Clinton McCaughan were also outstanding for the premiers.
For Cora Lynn, Chris Johnson, Andrew Green and Ryan Gillis fought hard.
Over on the netball courts, Dalyston replicated its heroics of last year to stun red-hot flag fancy Korumburra Bena by delivering grand final day heartbreak to the Giants for the second year in a row.
Having navigated the home and away season undefeated, the Giants rightly entered the match as heavy premiership favourites. However, anyone who knows the history of the two clubs in grand finals, knew statistics counted for little.
Dalyston thrives on the underdog status and loves nothing more than taking on Korumburra Bena in big games. The crowd must have known this too, as they were packed in five and six lines deep around the courts, in anticipation of a great game.
The Magpies flew out of the blocks firing on all cylinders behind coach Jenny McRae’s inspiring team talk and they jumped to a five to one lead, making much more out of their opportunities than the Giants and led by five goals at quarter time.
The matchup of Dalyston goal defence Alana McRae and Giants goal attack Kim Hillberg was always going to be enthralling contest, with McRae giving away another decent height advantage, like she has most weeks, but still so competitive.
Giants coach Christie Hillberg opted to maintain status quo for the second term, backing her starting seven in and it initially looked to be the right choice as her team grabbed the first two goals of the quarter.
However, that’s when the momentum swung in Dalyston’s favour. The Giants were playing an uncharacteristic brand of netball, littered with turnovers, wild passing and troubles adjusting to the umpiring, with a number of warnings handed out.
Magpies goaler Jarney Thomas was shooting at a high conversion rate as Dalyston had the Giants rattled and half time couldn’t come quickly enough. Trailing by nine goals at the main break, the Giants run the changes and there was expectation in the air that this would be quarter the Giants would get back into the game.
Tarli Hillberg and Emma Kyle moved to the bench, with Chloe Hogg deployed as goal shooter and Annelise Van Rooye entering the game at wing defence, while Jacquie Snooks and Gemma Dixon shifted to wing attack and centre respectively.
However, it was Dalyston that took the initiative once more, getting the first two goals to grow the lead out to 11 goals.
The Giants desperately needed a spark and Christie Hilliberg was trying frantically to lift her team with a number of well-timed intercepts.
Chloe Hogg looked a much better option in goals, working well with Kim Hillberg and making Magpies defender Tess Angarane work harder.
But it was the massive work rate and pressure of the Dalyston mid court that was keeping the Giants at bay.
Jess McRae, Hannah McRae and Sophie Scott played tough, physical and uncompromising netball from go to woe. Dalyston led by eight going into the last and the Giants made a final few moves with hope of getting some run on, with Ellie Holmes stepping into wing defence and Kyle returning to the attack.
Dalyston had a steely look of determination at start of the last, personified by Alana McRae and her repeated efforts in defence and chasing down numerous loose balls.
Gemma Dixon and Snooks were doing a stellar job feeding their goalers but they just couldn’t convert enough to put on any scoreboard pressure, while Britt and Jarney Thomas couldn’t miss and Dalyston had it in the bag with half the quarter left to play. It was a great victory to the Magpies, who were undoubtedly the best team on the day.
Dalyston goaler Jarney Thomas was named best on court.
Koo Wee Rup held on for a hard-fought win against Phillip Island in the reserves decider.
The 14-point win was achieved on the back of a great first quarter, during which the Demons established a four-goal-to-none lead.
After only managing four behind to half-time, the Bulldogs lifted in the third term to cut the margin back to 14 points, but they couldn’t close the gap any further and Koo Wee Rup held on for the win.
Caleb Milojevic was named best-on-ground, with fellow Demons Jesse Cammarano and Matt Drommel also prominent.
Todd Cleeland, Ben Hamilton and Robert Linford were best for the Island.
2017 GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Seniors – Inverloch Kongwak 15.18.126 def. Cora Lynn 4.7.31
Best on Ground – Toby Mahoney (Inverloch-Kongwak)
Reserves – Koo Wee Rup 6.3.39 def. Phillip Island 3.7.25
Best on Ground – Caleb Milojevic (Koo Wee Rup)
Thirds – Garfield 3.5.23 def. Cora Lynn 3.1.19
Best on Ground – Damion Denysekno (Garfield)
Fourths – Bunyip 2.9.21 def. Phillip Island 3.0.18
Best on Ground – Dylan Gallasch (Bunyip)
A Grade – Dalyston 34 def. Korumburra Bena 26
Best on Court – Jarney Thomas
B Grade – Korumburra Bena 51 def. Dalyston 41
Best on Court – Jamie-Lee Jeffs (Korumburra Bena)
C Grade – Dalyston 28 def. Koo Wee Rup 22
Best on Court – Emma Ton (Dalyston)
17-and-Under – Dalyston 33 def. Inverloch Kongwak 24
Best on Court – Gemma Thomas (Dalyston)
15-and-Under – Korumburra Bena 32 def. Phillip Island 22
Best on Court – Darci Holmes (Korumburra Bena)
13-and-Under – Cora Lynn 23 def. Koo Wee Rup 22
Best on Court – Teegan Thornhill (Koo Wee Rup)