St Kevin's Old Boys have hung on to claim their first A Grade Premiership, defeating Collegians by three points at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday.
A massive crowd witnessed a great contest in the shocking conditions, with the strong breeze sweeping across the ground to the scoreboard side. There were more out of bounds on the full than goals and some may have thought that we were playing at SportsCover Arena given the strength of the breeze (I'm sure it would've been ten times worse at Elsternwick Park)
Leading by 16 points at the final change, SKOB withstood a late charge from a never day die lions outfit, the final siren sounding with Billy Kanakis lining up for goal to try and seal the win for the tri-colours.
A host of chances went begging for SKOB in the final term who were kicking to the scoring end (old grandstand) allowing Collegians a glimmer of hope as they slammed home three in quick succession from the 25 minute mark. SKOB hearts were certainly racing as the ball went back to the middle with only minutes remaining. SKOB managed to get the ball deep within its attacking fifty, and Billy in his usual front and square position earned a free kick for too high and that was all she wrote.
SKOBBER Mitch Brown was awarded the Best Player on the ground where he controlled the midfield across all four quarters.
SKOB had winners all over the ground, with each player contributing to the win. This scribe thought Connor Ross was outstanding in defence, Nick Wood's attack on the footy and the opposition really set the tone, Plugger's effort in the ruck, Sam Critchley's calmness deep in defence and Tom Jok's ability to win his own footy and weave in and out of traffic to get the ball moving forward.
What a day! SKOB Premiers for the first time in the Clubs 70 year history.
Final Scores: SKOB 10.10.70 def Collegians 9.13.67
Goal Kickers: M. Brown 2, B. Kanakis 2, J. Wallis 2, C. Matheson, B. Dowd, H. Parkes, J. Strauss
Best Players: M. Brown, S. Critchley, C. Matheson, B. Kanakis, C. Ross, J. Wallis
VAFA Premier Grand Final: Shannon Grant’s St Kevin’s Old Boys beats Collegians to score first top-grade flag
Phil Skeggs, Stonnington Leader
St Kevin's Old Boys hung on to win its first top-grade premiership by three points against Collegians at Trevor Barker Oval in Sandringham on Sunday.
At the final change, St Kevin’s was up by 17 points and coach Shannon Grant urged his players to keep winning the contested possessions.
But the final term turned into a nailbiter as SKOBs missed half a dozen shots on goal and Collegians, the club with the most A grade flags in the VAFA, refused to lay down.
Viv Michie fuelled the Lions’ hopes with a goal drilled from 35m after a SKOBs turnover midway through the term.
Two minutes later, Jake Trotter fluffed a chance to score for the Lions with a set shot from 10m.
But Courtney Hylton didn’t miss his shot at the 26-minute mark and the margin was just 10 points. Two minutes later Will Johnson goaled a set shot on the angle and the margin was just three points.
It was another three minutes of heart-stopping slog before the final siren sounded as St Kevin’s Billy Kanakis was about to line up for a long range shot after a free kick.
SKOBs’ best in the breakthrough premiership win included Mitch Brown, who was awarded the Jock Nelson Medal as best-on-ground, Sam Critchley, Anthony Lynch and Thomas Jok.
Collegians was well served by ruckman Tom Penberthy, Sam Hibbins, Alex Croft and Johnson.
St Kevin’s, the minor premier, was locked in a tight contest in the first half, with the lead changing hands some six times.
Collegians kicked with the wind in the opening term and Kenny Ong goaled twice in 10 minutes to help set up a nine-point lead at quarter-time.
The Lions soon proved it was possible to score into the blustery north-westerly when Alex Croft marked and goaled at the three-minute mark of the second quarter.
Callum Matheson bagged a reply for SKOBs at the 11-minute mark with a snap from a stoppage to cut the margin to three points and, a few minutes later, Ben Dowd slotted a goal on the burst to put SKOBs in front by three points.
Croft pulled in a one-handed mark about 30m out at right half-forward at the 18-minute mark and goaled to regain the lead but James Strauss got onto a handball and drilled a goal from 50m at the 22-minute mark, putting SKOBs back in front by three points.
Then, deep in time-on, Jake Trotter toepoked a goal to put the Lions back in front before, right on the halftime siren, Kanakis got a free for a high tackle and threaded the big sticks from 45m and the SKOBs were ahead by three points.
St Kevins came out firing in the third term and appeared to gain the upper hand. When Brown slotted a goal with a set shot from left half forward at the 27-minute mark, SKOBs were up by 18 points.
Collegians co-captain Trent Zimbachs was then carried off with a leg injury late in the quarter, adding to the Lions’ woes before the dramatic final-quarter fightback unfolded.
SKOB hold on for first-ever William Buck Premier flag
St Kevin’s broke the club’s longstanding hoodoo by claiming their first-ever William Buck Premier flag in a three-point thriller against Collegians at Trevor Barker Oval.
In cyclonic Sandringham weather, SKOB’s third quarter brilliance of four unanswered goals proved the difference as both talented units displayed high quality skills despite the testing conditions.
The Lions held the ascendancy in the first term with two goals to one on the back of great work from Xander Croft and a standout performance from Tom Penberthy. However, SKOB hit back in the second with five goals to three before compiling an elite third term.
Jock Nelson Medallist, Mitch Brown, was first-class and finished the game with two goals, while Sam Critchley marked everything in his vicinity down back for the premiers. Anthony Lynch’s tap work at stoppages was outstanding for SKOB and Ben Dowd improved as the game progressed, providing his well-known explosion from congestion in the third term.
As they have shown all year, the Lions were relentless until the final siren and after kicking three unanswered goals late in the fourth came within striking distance. Viv Michie kickstarted the Lions’ fightback in the fourth and was backed up with Courtney Hylton receiving the hands from Lachie Ferguson and slamming it home from 40m. An undisciplined free kick resulted in Will Johnson converting from the top of the square but they couldn’t quite penetrate in the final moments as SKOB worked the ball forward and saw the game out in front of their loyal supporters.
Croft and Kenny Ong finished with two goals each for the Lions, while Penberthy and Sam Hibbins were their two best players alongside a Matt Jenkinson performance for the ages as he kept Jay Schulz goalless. Josh Wallis and Billy Kanakis joined Brown with multiples for SKOB.
The finale completed a sensational year of William Buck Premier football as the standard of our competition continues to grow each year. Congratulations to both sides for their seasons and to St Kevin’s for claiming their first A-Grade flag in the club’s history.
Jock Nelson Medal: Mitch Brown (St Kevin’s)