LEONGATHA Green’s unbeaten run in the Central Gippsland Junior Football League came to an end on Sunday in the grand final.
When the final whistle blew the Leongatha boys collapsed to the ground.
Up against Trafalgar in the grand final, the day didn’t start off smoothly.
As the Leongatha boys ran through the ‘Let’s go green machine’ banner, the tape caught a player and the pile-on saw Lachlan Gill limp off.
It had little effect on the rest of his game, being named amongst the best.
Trafalgar’s height was a telling factor on the day, consistently winning the ball-ups and marking contests.
Leongatha’s Jesse Burns and Jesse Helms defended stoutly as Trafalgar streamed into the forward line.
Trafalgar had the first chance at a goal, but it was well taken out by Leongatha’s defence and back through the middle.
Trafalgar scored first off an easy kick-in; but it was telling that the first goal came at the 10.30 mark – Leongatha’s defence was working well together.
At quarter time the score was 1.3-9 to 0.0.0, but while Leongatha was behind on the scoreboard, the Green Army was still full of run.
In the second quarter, Leongatha’s Thomas Hanily was doing some great work, crumbing around the packs and getting plenty of touches; his speed and determination was also extraordinary, sprinting to run down Trafalgar’s mid-fielders.
Maarli Buggraaff was another standout player, putting his body on the line to smother kicks.
Trafalgar hit a purple patch, with a snap and goal.
Leongatha kept pushing and were finally rewarded with a goal to Hanily, and then a minute later to Rhys Weaver.
Another point to Leongatha had the scores so close at half time: 1.4.16 to 2.1.13.
In the third quarter Josh Smith continued to find good space, while ruckman Angus Kemper was doing a stellar job.
Dustin Ward kept on running while Taite Cumming, drifting from the centre to wings and forward pockets seemed to be everywhere.
However, despite Leongatha’s best efforts, Trafalgar kept on pushing, using its short kicks and marks to good effect, having realised it was too difficult to outrun Leongatha’s determined tackling.
Trafalgar scored often, but inaccuracy kept Leongatha in the game.
In a good display of team-work, Trent McRae scored; he crumbed from the pack, turned on his left foot and goaled bringing the scores to 5.10.40 to 3.1.19.
In the final quarter, urged to keep running by coach Adrian Burns, Leongatha kept pushing, never giving up.
Hanily was weaving in and out, linking with Tyler Richards and Jesse Burns.
Fletcher Moon was providing good support, his shepherds giving Leongatha some much-needed space,
Burns scored the goal of the day; weaving between three Trafalgar defenders, he ran on, somehow kept his balance and scored.
Leongatha kept Trafalgar scoreless for the remainder of the game, but the damage had been done; Trafalgar 6.11.47 defeated Leongatha Green 4.1.25.
The Best on Ground medal went to Trafalgar’s Bailey Humphrey, who kicked five goals.
Best on for Leongatha was Jesse Helms, Brett Weston, Tom Hanily, Jesse Burns, Lachie Gill and Angus Kemper.
Green machine falters