WONTHAGGI Power coach Neil DeSantis said he “couldn’t have asked for more” from his Under 14s players this season, as their win over Inverloch Kongwak at Tarwin Lower on Saturday saw them named Southern Gippsland Junior Football Competition Premiers for the second year in a row.
It was a fitting end to a season in which the Power won every game, but the Eagles didn’t go down without a fight. Kicking with the wind, the Eagles jumped the Power in the first quarter, kicking the first goal, while Wonthaggi kicked 0.3.
Power composed themselves in the second quarter, kicking three goals, to put themselves three points ahead at half time.
Inverloch-Kongwak came back stronger in the third quarter, keeping the Power to a low score, and adding another goal to their own tally.
The last quarter was a fairly even contest, with each side kicking a goal, and the ball continually going back and forward between the half forward and half back lines.
This quarter provided the most dramatic moment of the day, when, with just five minutes left on the clock, Eagles onballer Oliver Thomas Boyle went to ground after a nasty knock to the head.
Play stopped for around 35 minutes as the two teams and their supporters waited anxiously for an ambulance to arrive and take the injured player to hospital for observation.
The Power were four points up, but the teams agreed to play the remaining minutes rather than award them the victory at that point.
The play, when it resumed, was still very back and forward in the centre, but Power did get a shot at goal, which hit the post, giving them a five-point lead, which they held on to as the clock ran out.
Coach DeSantis said it was a “weird feeling” to accept the premiership trophy given the unfortunate turn of events for the Eagles, but he congratulated his team for being “awesome all year” and showing great commitment.
“If training had been held three or four times a week, they would’ve been there,” he said.
You would be splitting hairs to define the difference in the two teams on the day, with spectators agreeing it was without a doubt the best contested game of the year from both sides.
“[Inverloch Kongwak] took it right up to us; they definitely came to win,” said DeSantis.
“They belted us in the second semi final and then to nearly win the grand final shows the character we’re working with,” he said.
“Both sides gave it 100 per cent and we were lucky to be in front at the end.”
Best on ground went to onballer James Lewis who played well all day, continually breaking packs and running through lines.
Under 12s player Jobe Scapin was another stand out for the Power, with coaches pleased to see him implementing advice given at training.
Powerful win for Under 14s