2018 AFL Yarra Ranges Community Bank Division 1 Senior Grand Final
The Wandin Football and Netball Club has pulled off one of the most successful AFL Yarra Ranges Community Bank Football Netball League Grand Final Days, coming away with the Division One Senior Football Premiership, to accompany their four Coldstream Cider Netball Premierships won earlier that day.
The Bulldogs put Woori Yallock to the sword in the second and third quarters to ensure that they would get their eighth senior premiership, winning the match 16.11(107) to 9.16 (70) in front of a record crowd of over 4,500 people at the Yarra Glen Football Ground.
Despite bright weather throughout the morning and early afternoon the two sides were met with consistent drizzle and a firm surface for the first bounce of the AFL Yarra Ranges showpiece, combining to create a slippery and scrappy opening few minutes.
The arm wrestle was finally broken when the dreadlocked Harrison Byrne found space inside the centre square and under pressure slotted the first goal of the afternoon with the ball skidding through.
The Bulldogs pressure was something Woori Yallock couldn’t handle in the opening term. Whenever a Tigers player gathered the football they were confronted by a wave of oncoming pups, ready to ravage them and steal their football.
The Tigers, to their credit battled manfully and managed to stay in touch at quarter time thanks to goals from Bradd Arnold and Jake Matthews.
It was from the second quarter onwards that Wandin would tighten their grip upon the premiership cup. The Dogs started the second quarter as they’d begun the first, with intense pressure, hard running and slick ball movement.
Tempers flared midway through the second quarter, when Clinton Johnston was left groggy after a hip and shoulder from a Woori Yallock defender. Whilst it is not what people come to see at the football, it must be admired the promptness at which almost all of the Wandin players showed in standing up for their teammate, who was later withdrawn from the match due to concussion symptoms.
It would not be the only player the Dogs would have to remove from the game. Jarrod Rowe was left in a similar position to Johnston after he slid in for the football and went head first into the knees of a Woori Yallock player. At the time it was suggested that Woori would have been able to overrun the Dogs, with their numerical advantage, should they be close enough at the final change, alas they were never quite close enough.
Barry McDonald could be quite pleased with one of his match ups at the halfway point of the second quarter. Luke Boontjes had done extremely well under immense pressure on Justin Van Unen. Van Unen had kicked just one goal to this stage of the game, despite his side having clear control of the contest.
As is his want however, Van Unen can produce a goal from anywhere, at anytime. With 23 minutes gone in the second quarter, and Woori Yallock still clinging on for dear life, Van Unen was given a handball from Jackson Byrne leaving the key forward 40 metres out from goal, tucked in on the boundary line in the right forward pocket, with his body facing the centre corridor.
Without a seconds thought Van Unen went with the right foot checkside, which had a feel of inevitability about it as soon as it left the boot, swinging back to leave the exasperated Woori Yallock players in awe. The scoreline at this stage had the Dogs lead at just 20 points, but with that kick, the air was taken from the Tigers sails.
That feeling was doubled when just two minutes later Dean Barton kicked a long goal off just one step to push the Dogs further ahead. His goal was cancelled out by Zak Monkhorst late in the quarter, as the big man dribbled the ball home seconds before he was about to be wrapped up.
If the second quarter had left the Tigers wounded, then the third quarter absolutely finished them off. They needed the first of the term to ignite the contest, but they were blown out of the water, and in truth lucky not to be further behind at the final change.
Wandin captain Robert Ross began to dominate the ruck with glee abandon, his hit-out tally inching closer to the half century mark, with countless marks to boot. Classy wingman Patrick Bruzzese began to find more and more space and combined well with other ball users, Brad Harvey and Tom Merlino.
Van Unen, despite being handled quite well by Boontjes was able to kick two more goals in the second quarter, whilst lanky forward Patrick Hodgett kicked the Dogs other third quarter goal.
At the other end of the ground, the Tigers inaccuracy was just one more additional barrier keeping them from being with touching distance at the end of the quarter. They kicked just three behinds for the whole term and missed the lot on a few occasions late in the third quarter.
The Tigers did mount that challenge eventually, when they kicked five goals in almost as many minutes in the last quarter to keep the game interesting, with goals from Robbie Allen, Jake Matthews, Mitchell Anderson, Joel Smith and Christan Cameron.
But as was the story of the day, whenever the Tigers looked a chance of mounting a comeback, the Bulldogs would find a way to halt their charge.
The goal which completely shut the gate was a comedy of errors, as Patrick Hodgett dropped a chest mark, recovered to find Sam Wettenhall who popped it over the top for Van Unen to run in and kick his seventh, only for the burly full forward to fumble the ball, watch as two Tigers defenders overran the now loose ball, take an air swing with his right boot, before Wettenhall finally took matters into his own hands, soccering the ball through with a sense of disdain, before the smiles emerged on both their faces.
The siren had merely become a formality by this stage, and as the clouds began to close in and the light began to fade, the end of the season finally came as the hundreds of Wandin faithful spilled onto the ground to embrace their 22 heroes who had capped off one of the most spectacular days in the clubs history.
Despite the convincing scoreline, the game had taken its toll on the bodies of all the players especially that of the best afield, Wandin skipper Robert Ross, who had been incredible in his ruck battle with the two Monkhorst boys.
“Yeah the body was starting to feel it about 10 minutes into that last quarter, Ryley he’s a great competitor and a big body to jump into.”
Ross is now one of an elite group at Wandin as a premiership captain of the senior side; this bewilders the man who only knows the club for the powerhouse they’ve become.
“Someone came up and said to me on Wednesday night that the club’s only won seven flags, and before today there’s only two of the premiership captains still alive, so to win a premiership let alone captain a premiership with them it’s a great feeling.”
The Family aspect of this club is an enviable one. The Wandin rooms are packed with people young and old, and their playing list for the day features two sets of brothers, with countless others having siblings throughout the club.
The Byrne family would be pretty stoked with their day, as daughter Paige took home premiership medals in the 17 and Under and D Grade netball finals, whilst Jackson and Harrison took part in the match against Woori. Their insight into why Wandin is able to create this atmosphere is simple.
“It’s just a big family, everyone loves each other from both the football and netball teams,” said Harrison, who kicked two running goals for the day.
But it’s all summed up by lifelong member Kevin Brown, who has been at the club through much tougher times than this.
“These guys (and girls) can’t do this without the help of the support staff and the volunteers,”
“If I could say one thing to everyone celebrating tonight, I’d just tell them to keep supporting each other, because you can’t have a football club without people rolling up every Saturday, doing all the little jobs, because that’s just how it is.”
AFL YARRA RANGES COMMUNITY BANK FOOTBALL NETBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE GRAND FINAL
WANDIN 4.2 7.9 11.10 16.11 (107)
WOORI YALLOCK 2.3 3.8 3.11 9.16 (70)
WANDIN: Van Unen 6, H.Byrne 2, Hodgett 2, Barton, Harvey, Hirst, Ladner, Merlino, Wettenhall
WOORI YALLOCK: Matthews 2, Allen, Anderson, Arnold, Cameron, R.Monkhorst, Z.Monkhorst, Smith
WANDIN: Ross*, Bruzzese, Heasley, Foley, H.Byrne, Harvey
WOORI YALLOCK: R.Monkhorst, Boontjes, Thompson, Lowe, French, Adams
*Denotes Best on Ground Medal winner
By Matt Fotia
COLD ROCK LILYDALE DIVISION 1 RESERVES
Mt Evelyn 10.12.72 def Olinda Ferny Creek 11.4.70
Mt Evelyn have come from 5th spot to knock off the more fancied Olinda Ferny Creek by 2 points to be the 2018 Premiers. It was Deja vu for Olinda as they lost by 2 points in the 2017 Grand Final. Olinda got off to a great start kicking 3.2 to 1.5 to take a lead of 9 points into the 2nd qtr and the early signs looked like Olinda were more in control. Mt Evelyn came back at them in the 2nd kicking 2.2 to 1.1 to reduce the lead to just 2 points at half time. The 3rd qtr was tough contested footy with both sides making the use of the wide-open spaces. The margin at 3 qtr time was Olinda by just 3 points. Mt Evelyn had the ball on a string but were making hard work of it with their inaccuracy in front of goal but in the end, they prevailed and gave their supporters something to cheer about coming home with a heart stopping 2-point win. Mt Evelyn Best: Liam Doidge, Steven Martin, Brodi Klaas-Henry, Brendan Cronkshaw, Benjamin Maynard, Jamie Yeomans. Mt Evelyn Goal Kickers: Liam Doidge 4, Ryan Fooks 1, Michael Gibbons 1, Brodi Klaas-Henry 1, Steven Martin 1, Lachlan Fooks 1, Andrew Condello 1. Olinda Ferny Creek Best: Jayden Rankin (Best on Ground Medallist), Owen Millwood, Blake Walter, Brady Schubert, Louis Seal, Jayden Faull. Olinda Ferny Creek Goal Kickers: Blake Walter 3, Owen Millwood 2, Brady Schubert 2, Travis Ireland 1, Glenn Stevens 1, Ben Telford 1, Jayden Rankin 1.
YARRA VALLEY MOTOR GROUP UNDER 18’S
Gembrook Cockatoo 12.7.79 def Healesville 6.8.44
Gembrook Cockatoo have taken home their 1st ever Under 18 Premiership after accounting for Healesville on Friday. Gembrook started well kicking 3.3 to 2 goals to have a lead of 9 points at qtr time. The 2nd qtr was low scoring with only 2 goals being kicked but Healesville had reduced the margin to 8 points at the main break. Gembrook came out a different team in the 3rd and took control of the game kicking 5.1 to 2.2 to have a very handy lead of 25 points as they went into the last. Healesville were left wanting in the last and they could just not get the run they needed to try and peg back the lead. Gembrook ran out winners by a very convincing 33 points. Gembrook Cockatoo Best: Harrison Snoxell (Best on Ground Medallist), Jack Burchill, Myles Wareham, Joel Firrito, James Hudson, Zac Loewe. Gembrook Cockatoo Goal Kickers: Myles Wareham 4, Morgan Watson 2, Lachie Ramage 1, Frankie Trott 1, Aaron Firrito 1, Kail Wood 1, Dante South 1, Lochlan Hartley-Taylor. Healesville Best: Jesse Brookes, William McVay, Tom Millman, Alec Peterson, Jayden Lawry, Max Renouf. Healesville Goal Kickers: Max Minney 3, Harrison Keeling 1, Max Donegan 1, Jack George 1.
By Judy Orren