Motton Preston’s Aaron Shelly (4) kicks the ball into attack during the senior grand final as team mate Zane Munro is disabled by an ankle injury.
Turners Beach centre half back Barry Clark (30) knocks the ball clear of his Motton Preston opponent during the senior grand final.
Motton Preston defender Todd Rand looks for a hand pass as he is about to be tackled by Turners Beach players Stewart Carter (22) and James Green (11) during the senior grand final.
Turners Beach coach David Enright lauded his players for their courage and tenacity after they withstood the best Motton Preston had to throw at them and win the NWFA grand final at Ulverstone, on Saturday.
With a blistering start in their quest to win the club’s first premiership since 1995, the captain Zac Ivory and Jacob Wiggers had three unanswered goals on the board within minutes of the start, but it came at a cost. Glen Spencer was off the ground with concussion, Aaron Heger had a broken nose and Jacob Wiggers was left dazed from a solid bump, with Wiggers the only one of the battered trio fit enough to return to the fray.
Without a full complement of interchange players an unsettled Turners Beach stalled in defence for much of the second quarter as Motton Preston determinedly played its way to a 6.11 (47) to 7.1 (43) half time lead. The Demons had numbers at ball and players such as Dwayne Howard, Justin Rootes and Jai Wells continually had the Beach defence under siege, but their effectiveness was limited by inaccuracy in front of goal and the sheer will of the Turners Beach defence.
With Motton Preston having missed the chance to land a body blow on the scoreboard, Enright urged his players to persist with their attacking style of football, to take their chances and not be concerned with a few mistakes.
Although the third quarter became one of missed opportunity for Turners Beach, converting 10 scoring shots into a solitary goal, it nevertheless took a nine point lead into the last quarter with signs that with every tick of the clock it was hurting the opposition.
And so it turned out as the game’s best player Nathan J Applebee, Heath Horton on a wing and Josh Ivory, converted Enright’s words into action. Around them their team mates cast aside the shackles of doubt with increasing confidence to create the loose man and move the ball quickly by either hand, or foot, into the forward line. There by weight of opportunities Jye Clayden’s two goals and singles to Brady Horton and Peter Enright finally turned the tide and for the first time in 19 years Enright and his players held aloft a premiership cup for Turners Beach.
Motton Preston’s Mathew Cosgrove knocks the ball clear of his Sheffield opponent during the reserves grand final.
Sheffield ruckman Scott Frankcombe (39) taps the ball clear of his Motton Preston counterpart Zane Ackerley (6) during the reserves grand final. Frankcombe received the Harry Belbin Memorial Medal as the best player in the Robins first grand final win since 2001.
Sheffield’s reserves grand final winning team.
In the reserves grand final, Sheffield completed the double of the minor premiership and the season finale, with a 31 point win over Motton Preston.
Even before the start of the match, there were positive signs for Sheffield, which had the task of reversing the result of the 2nd semi – final when Motton Preston inflicted the Robins’ first defeat of the season with a 14.11 (95) to 6.12 (48) win. Although they resurrected their finals series with an 18 point preliminary final win over Forth, it was far from a convincing one.
However, the inclusion of Chris Connors, Matthew Sullivan and Ben Corbett, who a week earlier had played in the club’s senior preliminary final team, but were qualified for the reserves match, had the promise of adding stability and experience to the side which was taking promising youngsters Zane Davies and Shayde Poole into the season decider. Former Forth premiership players Alan Hope and Adam Smith and NWFA journeyman Darren Williams, also gave the team the balance of grand final know – how, given Sheffield was chasing its first flag since 2001.
Predictably the first quarter was more about shadow boxing as neither team could assert any form of control on the contest. Sheffield ruckman Scott Frankcombe had the task of combating his counterparts Michael Smith and Zane Ackerley and in fact such was his effectiveness throughout the afternoon was named the best player and awarded the Harry Belbin Memorial Medal, the first Sheffield player to receive the award since Steven Reeve in 2001.
The first quarter ebbed and flowed between the respective backlines as the ball spent much of the time passing through the midfield, where Ben Corbett, Brad Heyward and Michael Richardson, had regular possessions for Sheffield, but so did Ian Swain, Josh Snare and David Guard for the Demons.
Somewhat unexpectedly the tide turned in favour of Sheffield in the defining second quarter when it added seven goals to one to take a decided 9.8 (62) to 3.3 (21) lead into half time. Motton Preston struggled to find a clear winner on its forward line and overall it wasn’t a pretty performance, a shadow of the side that won the 2nd semi - final, and with ailing premiership chances, despite the influence of Ashley Dudman, who finished the game with eight goals.
Sheffield on the other hand was playing with growing confidence. Joshua Keep and Aaron Heyward were making their presence felt in the forward half of the ground, while Shane Campbell and Deon Heyward were also contributors closer to goal.
Although a couple of early goals to Ashley Dudman gave Motton Preston a ray of hope early in the third quarter, it was left playing catch – up football after being left behind in the second quarter and its nine goal to seven second half was the best it could do and Sheffield was never seriously threatened to win 16.13 (109) to 12.6 (78).
Posted 7 September 2014