GRAND FINAL RESULT
Yallourn Yallourn North were crowned Premiers and Champions, going through the season undefeated and well led by Coach Barrie Burnett, by taking out their first flag since 1996 after being runners up in 1994, 1995, 2015 and 2016. The Bombers did it the hard way in a tough physical match where Hill End were worthy opponents. Conditions were spoilt by a nasty cold crosswind which almost favoured the northern end, which turned out to be the scoring end.
Hill End had the wind in the first term but were under pressure from the first bounce, YYN got the first score, a minor but Hill End bounced back when Chase Saunders goaled at seven minutes but YYN through Keenan Hughes hit the front only minutes later, elusive forward Dean McDonald showed the big crowd his magic with a pop-up goal to give the Bombers some headway against the wind. Little Lachlan Fanning sneaked under the Bomber’s defence to raise Hill End’s second goal to give them the lead again. Hill End had plenty of possession but gave the ball away easily to YYN with fiddley little kicks that at times went backways. Campbell MacInnes had the better of Chase Saunders closing the champion forward down with close checking football restricting the goalsmith only a handful of kicks for the day. Hill End led at the first break and fans would have still been disappointed with their game as their poor showing with the wind allowed YYN to be so close at that stage.
After two minor scores YYN levelled the scores. James De Vergilio playing hard for the Bombers with strong play. Hill End had trouble getting the ball forward as YYN’s backline led by Todd Dobson and Lachlan Little stood firm. YYN applied relentless pressure on Hill End and they weren’t allowed to play their usual burst through type of game, players such as medallist Jack Hudson, Ambu Uliando and Mugzy Mooker were restricted as the Bombers pounced on every occasion. Hill End regained the lead at 12 minutes into the quarter after Jack Hudson kicked one into the wind which was to be Hill End’s last goal for the next 61 minutes. YYN were on the attack and regained the lead once more when Dean McDonald was above everyone else to mark and kick his second. The Bombers went into attack and a string of minors resulted which kept Hill End still in the match and by half time the Bombers led 4-9 to 3-4 in a tight battle.
YYN proved that goals could be kicked against the wind and opened up the third with another goal. Scoring was restricted by both sides as the defences of both teams went into overdrive forcing many stoppages, Hill End’s little men, the Fawcett’s were getting plenty of possession but the wild wind blew the Hillmen away as they tried to play the short ball game and came undone as YYN were ready to pounce. The Bombers only added another goal to their tally but importantly stopped Hill End from scoring and at ¾ time it was still a winnable game for the Hillmen as they trailed 5-11 to 3-4.
In the last term YYN were pushing hard and in a purple patch put the match beyond Hill End’s grasp when they scored four goals in six minutes to sew up the match and secure the premiership Cup. Hill End were down but still had some fight left, full back Rob Fiddelaers lucking in the forward pocket scored Hill End’s first goal since midway through the second quarter but it was all too late as the Green and Gold’s saw their moment of glory vanish as YYN kept the pressure on to run out winners 9-16 to 5-8 to claim the premiership Cup.
YYN’s James Vergilio impressed the umpires and the MGFL panel by taking out the AFL Medal and the Bill McConville medal for best player. Dean McDonald finished with three goals which was a good result in the conditions.
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Match review written by Laurie Williams. We thank Laurie for his wonderful contribution this year.
Article image source: Hill End Football Netball Club Photos Facebook page. Click the image for source.