Warrandyte Junior Football Club experienced an emotional day at Victoria Park in Kew last month with one out of two teams tasting victory in their respective Grand Finals.
The U15s side put on a masterclass to defeat Macleod comfortably by 44 points, but the U14s were left heart- broken after falling to Banyule by a solitary point in the final minute.
A hefty crowd of red and white were present to watch the young Bloods go into battle, kicked off by the Under 14s side.
Warrandyte got off to the best possible start, kicking a goal within 10 seconds of the first bounce. Slightly scrappy play ensued from then on, but the Bloods were able to hold steady and take a seven-point lead into the first change.
Banyule was sharper throughout the second term, but the Bloods found some spark with a high mark and goal to star player Chase Wallace. Brady Poole kicked a much needed steadier right before half- time to keep Warrandyte close, trailing by just a point.
Whatever was said at halftime to the Warrandyte forwards obviously had effect, because the Bloods rattled off two quick re goals right after the long break to regain control of the game.
Wallace continued to put on a show and Warrandyte looked in the box seat with a 15-point lead going into the final term.
What followed was one of the most frantic quarters of football of the season.
Banyule hit back to draw the margin to within a goal with just six minutes to play, before eventually wrestling the lead back with just three minutes on the clock. Warrandyte was unable to muster a clearcut chance and despite playing a terrific game fell agonizingly close, losing 9.8.62 to 10.3.63.
Thankfully for Bloods fans, the Under 15s side was able to record a terrific victory in their Grand Final to bring home silverware for the club.
Jack Boyd was the star of the show kicking five goals to lead the attack. Boyd was ably supported by Leo Garrick in the middle, while Lachie O’Reilly and Sam Martini were defensively sound and hard at it when it counted.
Most impressive was the professionalism and brilliant mental performance from the outfit, keeping their cool throughout in the 12.11.83 to 6.3.39 victory.
“We trained well, we kept our emotions in check, we didn’t get ahead of ourselves. We had some assistance from the Colts during the week, we understood how they (Macleod) play and we executed perfectly,” coach Eugene Hansen told the Diary. The Bloods broke Macleod down by the 15-minute mark of the rst term and from then on continued to put in a full four-quarter performance. All players were contributors, some kicked flashy goals, while others performed crucial one percenters to ensure Warrandyte was out on top when the siren sounded.
“Everyone had an equal opportunity and everyone contributed, and some of the boys probably played 15-20 percent above their usual level. Typical of that was probably Thomas Mckenzie who kicked a goal up forward, he’s not renowned for kicking goals and the celebration after that was amazing,” Hansen said.
Equally as impressive was the turnout from the Warrandyte faithful to support both sides, with Hansen noting a historical significance to the crowd that others may have missed.
“It was fantastic to see life members from the footy club there, I think around 30 years ago I was involved with winning a flag at the same age group and maybe eight or nine of that premiership side came down to watch,” Hansen said.
For both sides, making the final alone was a tremendous achievement and it seems Warrandyte Football Club has some stars in the making over the coming years.