Well, what a year it has been for all of us involved in the clubs first year in the SANFL. The lads were certainly focused (perhaps nervous) before the big game at the huge North Adelaide football ground. This was the fourth game we had played this season against Athelstone and all had been very tight tussles with 2 games being less than a goal the difference. The conditions were challenging with a howling wind going directly to one end and we kick into it in the first quarter, which is exactly what we wanted. Although we were 4 goals down at quarter-time we fought back to be even at half time.
The third quarter was always going to be the Premiership quarter and our plan was to stop their run and limit their scoring. Central to this was Jack Bishop nullifying their best player in the ruck, and Riley Stone dropping into the hole in the backline to take some key marks (he didn’t drop one all day) and our full-back, Ryan Young, winning some key contested situations. We scored 1 goal in the third term (which Bunga rightly said was worth 5 in the conditions) and importantly kept them to 2 goals, but being 8 points down at the last break still meant we had it all to do. Given 7 of the players had played a final in the morning for the under 15’s we were worried we would run out of puff, especially on such a large oval. A couple of the lads came off with cramp but nonetheless they were simply unbelievable all day.
I can’t think of a game this year where every member contributed in key moments and in which they all kept working their backsides off with sheer desperation seeming to carry them forward. A move to full-forward netted Jackson Costello 2 final term goals, and the sealer seemed to come from some unselfish play from Ethan Johnson that actually resulted in an opportunity for him to roll onto that beautiful left foot of his and slot one from 40 metres with the Flaggies crowd ridding it home. To their credit, the Athelstone boys just kept coming and slotted one into the wind to make it extremely tense for the last 5 minutes. However, in the end, it was our depth of team players and the even contribution by all that got us over the line.
Congratulations to all 31 players who qualified for the finals, including 10 under 13 players. Huge contributions were made by all of them throughout the year and all share in this Premiership. Without the involvement of this entire squad, we would not have had such a successful year. Thankyou to all our family and club support during 2019, especially the big vocal crowd that lifted us along on the last big day. Congratulations to the club committee and to Bill Kelsey, Craig Bunworth and Paul Hollands especially for making this not just happen, but work. But most of all – well done to the Premiers themselves – a magnificent team game from a group of lads that have worked so hard and grown so much this year. We all look forward to what you are capable of in 2020.
Flagstaff Hill – 8.5-53 def Athelstone 7.4-46
J. Costello 2
E. Johnson 2
B. Gallacher 1
P. McAvaney 1
M. Pearce 1
C. Pudney 1
C. Newall (awarded best on-field medal)