Yarram Football Netball Club has secured an historic premiership double by taking home the seniors and reserves flags on a dramatic AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League Grand Final Day.
The Demons went into the main game as lofty favourites on the back of a dominant home and away season and finals series and with a point to prove following the disappointment of last year’s defeat to Sale City on the same stage.
Churchill started brightly, with enigmatic forward Ben Kearns registering the opening two goals of the game.
The Cougars had made two changes, with Chris Williams replacing injured ruckman Nathan McRae and veteran Paul Metlikovec came in for young gun Joel Mason, who played a starring role in the thirds grand final earlier in the day.
Yarram, on the other hand, named an unchanged lineup from the second semi-final win against Traralgon-Tyers United and yet it was Jack Moore, whose move from defence to attack had given his side a new dimension this season, that settled the Demons’ nerves with a neat finish after gathering a long handball from Dirk Mulholland to cut the deficit to four points at quarter-time.
The Cougars again drew first blood in the second term through Luke Brereton, who got on the end of Kearns’ snap to the top of the square, but it was all Yarram from there.
Dan Vardy got the ball rolling with a simple mark and set shot, before young gun Jake McFarland lit up the contest with an audacious checkside goal from the pocket.
Majors to Chris Bruns, Chris Coulthard and Moore rounded out a five-goal-to-one quarter and handed the Demons a 22-point lead at the main change.
Churchill once again struck first in the third term, but Yarram had all the answers and Bruns booted his second, courtesy of a 50m penalty, to restore the margin.
A late goal to Kurt Holt gave the Cougars a glimmer of hope heading into the last quarter, but it was against the run of play and Yarram maintained control through the final as the tough conditions took their toll on both sides.
Moore kicked the only goal of the final term – his third of the day – to seal the 8.17 (65) to 5.3 (33) win.
Jesse Field won the AFL Victoria Country Medal for best-on-ground, with Demons skipper Trek Davis, Bruns, back-to-back league medallist Griffin Underwood, Coulthard and Mulholland named in the best for the premiers.
Jarrod Broadbent, Chris Kyriacou and Travis Brighton were the standouts for Churchill.
Earlier, the Demons broke a 20-year drought, with a stunning come-from-behind win against Heyfield in the reserves grand final.
Yarram improved in the second term, but scoring was hard to come by and Heyfield maintained its lead until the six-minute mark of the final term.
Three unanswered goals to Jeremy Babb (two) and Justin Staley secured an 8.6 (54) to 6.8 (44) victory.
Lukas Jenkins was best-on-ground, with Ryan Coulthard, Braydn Wilson, Staley, Babb and Jesse Biemans also prominent.
Mat Stevenson, Ryan Bean and Jake Kenney fought hard for the Roos.
Churchill stormed to victory in the thirds grand final against TTU.
The Bombers never gave up but Churchill was too clinical and boasted too much firepower, with Iorangi and Whykes finishing with five goals apiece in the 15.5 (95) to 8.8 (56) triumph.
Iorangi was a worthy winner of AFL Victoria Country Medal, but he had plenty of help, with Mason, Tom Sevenson, Whykes, Patrick Kearns and captain Ryan Lowrie among the other chief contributors.
Charlie Martin, Jordan Jobling and Archie Grant (two goals) were among the best for the Bombers.
Over on the netball courts, Rosedale won a thrilling A Grade decider against Churchill.
The Blues trailed at quarter-time and half-time but edged ahead in the premiership quarter and held on to win 33-31.
Rosedale defender Amy Harrison was named best on court.
Glengarry won the B Grade premiership by defeating Woodside 38-32, with Magpie Kayla Muller named best on court.
The C Grade decider needed extra time to separate Sale City and TTU, with City eventually claiming victory 27-22. Sale City’s Kate Bicknell was named best on court.
City were triumphant in the D Grade grand final, beating Heyfield 38-19, with Lynne Oldfield named best on court.
Heyfield’s Abbie Ross starred as the Kangaroos overcame a three-quarter-time deficit to defeat Yarram in the 17-and-under netball decider 27-24, while TTU edged out Sale City to win the 15-and-under premiership, with TTU’s Piper Conway best on court in the 27-25 win.
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This post was written by Michelle Kyle