Grand Final Reviews – All Competitions

Written by David Redden


AFL HCC HAVAL Black Diamond Plate Grand Final Review:

Terrigal Avoca completed an extraordinary feat in Saturday’s Black Diamond Plate Grand Final against The Entrance Bateau Bay; two successive undefeated seasons and back to back premierships. The final score in a clinical and professional performance was Terrigal Avoca 20.13 133 to TEBB 1.5.11.

The Panthers had winners all over the ground, with Best on Ground Medallist Ian Tyley, livewire small forward Jason Roach and Ethan Formby, playing in the usual Terrigal Avoca Sweeper position across the backline, all starring in a ruthless display by a football side that would not look out of place in the Black Diamond Cup.

Their skill levels and game structures were outstanding and the game was done and dusted after an electric second quarter, where the Panthers kicked eight goals to one down-breeze to lead by 64 points at the main break.

Jack Bastin, Oliver Gardiner and Bailey Hibbit were all valiant for an outgunned TEBB outfit who showed some wear and tear after successive weeks on the road in Maitland, Muswellbrook, Muswellbrook again, Singleton then Newcastle West.


AFLHCC HUNTER HAVAL Womens Grand Final Review:

Newcastle City secured their fourth Womens Premiership in the five year history of the BDAFL/HCC Womens Competition with a hard-fought and ultimately convincing victory over a very committed Maitland Saints. Final scores were Newcastle City 8.6.54 to Maitland 3.0.18.

City set up their victory in the first quarter, keeping Maitland one goal whilst the Blues were running against a very strong Northerly breeze at No.1 Sportsground. City then kicked three goals in the second quarter, leading by 17 points athe main break, with stop-gap full-forward Molly Simpson, carrying right knee and left adductor injuries, dangerous out of the square.

Maitland then kicked two goals to none in the third quarter, rising to the occasion with a spirited and tough display, going into the last break a mere 6 points down. Leawanna O’Donohue and Jessie Burnham kicked the third-quarter goals that brought the Saints within 18 minutes of a first-ever flag.

City, however, ran away in the last quarter, kicking five goals through the dynamite Simpson, Simone Wood and star Meaghan MacDonald, who channeled her inner-Lionel Messi with a kick in mid-air from 50m out that somehow conspired to bounce its way through the big sticks.

Taylor Joyce was adjudged best on ground, well supported by MacDonald, who had the shackles put on her seven days before by Killarney Vale but who ran amok most of the day, Chiara Lam and Anna Ralston, who held the backline together superbly with her calmness and crucial tackles.

The Saints were superb, a fact acknowledged by a gracious and eloquent MacDonald in the after-match presentation. Their tackling, hardness over the football and desperation showed that a flag may just around the corner. Sarah James, Skyla Dunn, ruck Nikki Robson and Amanda Smith all shone in a performance the Maitland Footy Club has every right to be proud of.


AFL HCC HAVAL Black Diamond Cup Grand Final Review:

The AFLHCC Old Firm of Terrigal Avoca and Newcastle City produced an ultimately thrilling Grand Final, with City, down by 25 points down at half time, producing a compelling and lion-hearted second half before a late, late Josh Polglase goal secured another premiership for Chris Bishop’s Panthers. Final scores in a wonderful display of Black Diamond Cup football were Terrigal Avoca 8.9.57 to Newcastle City 7.5.47.

In retrospect, Terrigal Avoca’s first quarter, in which key forward Brandon Thomas kicked three goals against a strong breeze, won them the flag. To go in 7 points up at quarter-time against that breeze was an amazing effort, and the Panthers kept the foot down for most of the second quarter, leading by 25 points at the main break despite City rallying in the last 10 minutes of the quarter and kicking one goal (from Mitchell Knight) against the breeze themselves.

City made mass changes at half-time; Conor Haswell went to full-forward, Max Quinlan into the ruck, Cam Keast to Centre-half forward and Ethan Durbidge spent some time in the Centre. City kicked three goals to none in the third quarter, trailing by a mere 7 points at the last change, although the Panthers had the breeze to come home with.

An exhiliarating last quarter was a wonderful spectacle as both sides threw themselves at every contest. The Panthers, down to 20 men after veterans Jayson Van Dam and Gus Darling sustained leg injuries, were under the pump for at least 20 minutes.

Jackson Crawford produced a Crawford check-side special to get City inside a goal difference, then youngster Josh Taylor had a very difficult snap on his non-dominant right foot to put the Blues in front; alas, the snap JUST sailed wide for a behind.

Polglase then received a free kick for an excellent tackle, calmly slotting a 45m goal toward the Panthers faithful at the Merewether end of No.1 to secure a famous, gutsy victory on a day where both teams had legitimate chances at the title.

Jarrad Flint was magnificent across half-back for Terrigal Avoca and was rightly adjudged the McBain Medallist for the best player on the ground. Thomas’ four goals were huge in a game where his team won with eight majors. Midfielders Kurt Fleming, Corey Billins and Jack Grimmond all produced excellent Grand Final performances for Bishop’s side.

City, who produced a second half for the ages, had great performers in veteran Luke Rawnsley, wing Liam Dwyer, Jake Hartikainen and Stephen Batten, who ran with Bishop all day in a tagging and kept the wily centreman relatively quiet, no mean feat and completely selfless from the committed Batten.