By Mitch Guy
DALYSTON has completed a perfect season, winning Saturday’s Grand Final by 82 points over Fish Creek to remain undefeated and break a 26-year premiership drought.
A crowd of over 4,000 spectators ventured to the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve to witness the Alberton FNL finale.
The champion Dalyston team, coached by Paul ‘Skeeta’ Brosnan, took all in its stride throughout the season and met every challenge thrown at it.
Brosnan said coaching the club where he played his junior footy to a premiership was a great feeling.
“I think this one we really had to build over a few years and get a side up and about, and we were able to do that,” he said.
He said the evenness of the side was the key to success.
“Obviously we’ve got some really good players, but it’s just important that everyone contributes and from the first picked to the last picked it is all pretty even,” he said.
“The bottom six is the key, if you haven’t got a good bottom six you’re going to struggle. We have and in the end that pays off.”
The champion playing coach said he would more than likely retire following the premiership success.
The win is sweet for the club and its loyal band of supporters, who in 2006 were languishing at the bottom of the ladder.
President Paul Dunlop said he puts the club’s success down to the good families that have joined the club in recent years.
“You put some things in place like a code of conduct and it helps to attract people to the footy club and eventually it pays off and people want to come and play for you, he said.
“Some of these guys have played all their junior footy right through to seniors, so it’s fantastic for them.”
He said the club’s star recruits are fantastic people.
“Michael Kraska – you couldn’t get a better bloke. Brad Fisher is just fantastic, Bret Thornton came this year, and it was just to play with his mates,” he said.
“We’re lucky that all of the guys that have come have got a link with somebody that’s involved with the footy club. It’s either a family link or it’s one of their mates, and that’s why we’ve been able to do what we’ve done.
“The nucleus of the group is all the local guys who have played all their footy with us, and if you don’t have them, you’re going to struggle.”
Dalyston deliver after a season of dominance
DALYSTON has broken its 26-year premiership drought to win the 2015 Alberton FNL Premiership with a dominant performance on Saturday.
The Magpies completed its perfect season in dominant fashion, remaining undefeated and breaking the Alberton record for highest winning margin in a grand final with an 82-point thumping of Fish Creek.
Led by star Brad Fisher – who was clearly best on ground – Dalyston controlled proceedings from start to finish and finally tasted the ultimate success after falling short in recent years.
It didn’t take long for the Magpies to assert their dominance on the match, winning the first centre clearance before coach Paul Brosnan steered through a running goal to give his side the early ascendency.
Further goals to Matt Schreck and Michael Kraska capped a perfect start for Dalyston, before a bone-crunching tackle by big man Scott Sibly sent shudders through the crowd with Fish Creek’s Todd Mackie unconscious on the ground.
Mackie was stretchered from the field and transported to Wonthaggi Hospital, leaving the Kangaroos one man down for the remainder of the match.
He was kept overnight in hospital for observation but was given the all-clear on Sunday.
Play recommenced and shortly after Fisher pushed forward and goaled to extend the lead further.
Fish Creek finally broke through for its first goal at the 23-minute mark via Justin Smith, which sparked a series of goals to Brent Cooper and Cal Park to bring the Kangaroos back into the contest, trailing by five points at the first change.
Youngster Kyle Kirk played a pearler for the Magpies and was rewarded with a holding the ball decision. He then found Bret Thornton in the forward pocket to extend the Dalyston lead.
But Fish Creek seemed up to the challenge when Ash Snooks had the instant reply.
This seemed to spark the Magpies with back to back goals courtesy of James Ross and Kraska making Fish Creek’s task difficult.
Their hopes took a hit when Lachie Pratt was yellow carded for making contact with an umpire, which resulted in another goal to Kraska.
Glen Parker kicked the Magpies’ ninth goal as half time approached but a late mark and goal to Fish Creek’s Travis Manne gave them a slight sniff of an unlikely upset.
Any chance of a Fish Creek win was snuffed after the two sides returned to the ground when Dalyston moved the ball coast to coast in fine fashion and Kraska saluted for his fourth goal.
The Magpies took full control of the contest, booting the next five goals unanswered to run away with the match.
Fisher did as he pleased, taking grab after grab and setting up attacks from half back.
Fellow ex-Carlton teammate Thornton wasn’t far behind, finding space across the ground and delivering upfield with precision.
For Fish Creek, Brent Cooper was a mainstay across half forward and through the middle and held his head high.
The young trio of Jake Buckland, Gus Staley and Ryan McGannon fought hard in the Kangaroos’ back half throughout the day, in a positive sign for the club’s future.
Captain Trevor Hooker was another who gave his all and preliminary final hero Andrew Seccull battled well.
In the end, the Magpies’ superior class was the difference as they took a 62-point lead into the third time time, having kept the Kangaroos to a lonely behind.
It was party time for the Dalyston champions in the final quarter with the Magpies adding another six goals.
Kristian Butler and Daniel Belsten ran out the game to be amongst the side’s best, but across the board it was a sterling team effort for the winners.
Kraska finished with six goals in another commanding performance by the goalkicking machine and Fisher won best on ground honours for an incredible day on the big stage.
Full coverage of the day’s football and netball grand finals at Meeniyan, in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times