Southern Gippsland Under 15s captain Zak Box with coach Chris Terlich after winning the AFL Gippsland All Stars premiership on Saturday. Photo: Aiden Box at Unboxed Photos.

By Sam Watson

CRICKET might have been called off due to rain on Saturday, but that certainly wasn’t stopping the Southern Gippsland All Stars in the AFL Gippsland Intersport All Stars grand finals.

After dominant performances throughout the home and away season, all three Southern Gippsland sides were able to book a spot in the finals series.

The finals series was due to take place months ago when local football seasons were still running, but state government shutdowns so those plans put on hold.

Luckily for the Southern Gippslanders, AFL Gippsland remained committed to crowning premiers in the representative league’s first year, so they decided to wait until the opportunity arose.

Last week, the Under 15s and Under 13s travelled to Maffra for their preliminary final clashes and the Under 14s went to Morwell.

All three were able to win through to the grand final, which was played on their home turf at the Korumburra Showgrounds.

First up was the Under 13s, who were taking on Western Gippsland.

After winning four out of five games in the regular season the Southern Gippslanders would’ve been feeling confident coming into the big game, but the Westerners weren’t going to be easy beats.

In the first quarter they opened a one goal lead in the trying conditions and were only able to extend that lead to eight points in the second quarter.

But in the third quarter, the South Gippsland young guns absolutely turned it on, booting an unanswered five goals to give themselves a 39-point lead.

In the final term they added one more, and kept West Gippsland to just three points, making them 44-point winners.

Froley Anderson had a big impact on the game, booting three goals and being named in the best players.

And Jasper Shone had it on a string, being named best on and adding a nice goal.

Next up was the Under 14s, who were also taking on West Gippsland.

Both West and South Gippsland had four wins and one loss in the home and away season, so they knew it would be a close game, but the home side took control early.

They kicked the first of the match, while keeping their opponents to two points, and in the second quarter they also added another major, while keeping their opponents scoreless.

With a 13-point lead heading into the second half, Southern Gippsland would’ve been hoping to put the game out of question, but West Gippsland fought back hard, bringing the margin back to seven points at three-quarter time.

But in the last quarter, the hosts found their feet, adding one more goal and a few minor scores to secure the Southerners second premiership of the day by 15 points.
Archie Terlich, Yianni Caffieri and Willem Duursma all had big games for the boys in blue, racking up plenty of touches all over the ground.
Aydan Williams also kicked a crucial goal, capping off his very impressive game.

Lastly, it was the very impressive Under 15s who were tasked with completing the South Gippsland treble, coming up against the Sale District All Stars.

The Under 15s went undefeated throughout the regular season, but they all knew that anything can happen on grand final day.

And it was clear from the opening siren they were ready for a big performance.

They put on 29 points in the first term, while keeping Sale District scoreless and in the second quarter they continued to dominate in every facet of the game.

At three quarter time the match was well and truly out of question.

Sale District offered a small fight back in the final term, but it was far too little and far too late, and Southern Gippsland won by 54 points.

The dominant performance from start to finish capped off a brilliant day for South Gippsland and it was Zac Walker who was the hero of the day, booting four goals and earning best on honours.

Xavier Lindsay was also named in the best after kicking two goals and getting multiple possessions, as was Max Donohue who added one of his own to go with his high number of touches.

Southern Gippsland and the rest of the teams would’ve had no idea how they were going to shape up in the inaugural All Stars season, and they certainly wouldn’t have imagined they’d win all three premierships.

It’s a true testament to the immense talent we have locally and now that the first season is in the books, they’ll firm as the teams to beat in 2022.