Trafalgar took out their ninth MGFL premiership (and possibly the last under the MGFL banner) with a gutsy come from behind epic win over Yinnar before a gate of over $36,000.

Trafalgar were behind for two quarters but staged a mighty last quarter comeback to defeat a gallant Yinnar side. The Magpies were down at least five star players who were out injured and these players would have made a big difference, players who have been the backbone of the Magpies during the season were missing and for three quarters Yinnar were able to keep their heads above water – but by midway through the last term it was evident that Trafalgar were going to overrun them.

Trafalgar led at the first break 2-3 to Yinnar’s three behinds as it became an arm wrestle with plenty of turnovers. Conditions were almost perfect both in weather and ground but the match developed into a pressure pot with constant ball-ups and stoppages with fierce tackling by both sides. Yinnar were getting in front early and were rewarded with eight frees to three in the first term. Klay Butler, Darcy Brock and Captain Daniel Puglia were the movers and shakers in the first term with Hayden Brock and Rhys Holdsworth the two goal scorers for the Trafalgar side.

After a blast from last time Coach Jamie Aitken the Magpies came back in the second term and produced a magic four minutes with four goals as they staged a major comeback with Emerson Hicks, Sam McCulloch and Michael Stockdale all scoring goals. Trafalgar were blindsided and couldn’t get forward as the Magpies shut the gates on Trafalgar and defended up to the 18 minute mark when Matthew Swenson dropped a 50 metre bomb to claw one back as the Bloods now were down nine points. Yinnar put a string of behinds on the board and this was a crucial point in the game when goals were wanted. Liam Visser and Michael Stockdale added further goals as Yinnar went in at half time with 6-9 to 3-4.

A goal each in the third term early was a signal for more action as the pressure built, Yinnar were still looking the better of the two sides but Trafalgar were still pushing hard in the contest. Jamie Aitken was a rock in defence for Yinnar and at three quarters the stats were almost identical with both teams having a massive 21 free kicks each and 28 inside 50’s. Yinnar had more opportunities but wasted their chances with wayward kicking. Haphazard handballing by Yinnar brought two goals to Trafalgar as the Bloods kept creeping closer to Yinnar. At three-quarter time Yinnar still had a handy lead with the score 8-11 to 6-6.

Trafalgar opened the final term with two goals in two minutes from Matt Swenson and Darcy Brock and the contest was on. The Bloods were within five points and Lachlan Farrell posted the third for the term to give Trafalgar a one point advantage. Scores were level two minutes later when Trafalgar rushed through a Yinnar behind. Time was ticking on but Yinnar were tiring, Daniel Hayes was knocked down but got up again to produce some magic with a goal to wrest the lead back to Trafalgar at the 15 minute mark. Yinnar replied through Lincoln Albanese and it was level again as time-keepers were ever alert to the time-on procedures. Trafalgar in a fit of the fumbles crossed for five successive behinds to keep Yinnar within kicking distance. One might have suggested Yinnar were choking as Trafalgar applied the last push and with the clock ticking were able to score two goals through Darcy Brock and Matt Van Schajik to run out premiership winners 12-12 to 9-14.

Yinnar although losing were worthy competitors with Emerson Hicks, Michael Stockdale , Brendan Chapman and Danny Campbell all featuring while for the winners Klay Butler (Bill McConville Medal), Jesse Stone, Daniel Puglia and Matt Van Schajik (AFL-Gippsland Medal) were award winners.

Laurie Williams (Independent Observer)


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