Northern Football League produced a stunning performance after quarter-time to dismantle the Western Region Football League in the AFL Victoria WorkSafe Country Championships.
With only one goal scored between the teams in the first quarter, expectations weren’t high.
But the NFL turned the game on its head to power to a 49-point lead at the main break.
Having found their momentum, the NFL turned the screws tighter in the second half – at one stage kicking 12 goals in a row.
There was nothing the WRFL could do to stop the run. The NFL went on to win 24.16 (160)-5.6 (36).
NFL coach Garry Ramsey said he, like everyone else, didn’t expect such a one-sided result. The leagues were ranked fifth and sixth in the state heading into the game.
Ramsey said the players began to gel as a team when they started to win more ball around the contest.
“We were behind in the stoppages, but our defenders were really holding up well,” he said.
“When we started to win the clearances we were able to give our forwards the chance one-on-one.
“As the game when on, we got better and better.”
It was a couple of late inclusions which did a lot of the damage up forward for the NFL.
Banyule forward James Kroussoratis and Northcote Park’s Ash Close kicked five goals apiece.
Neither were in the NFL’s original squad.
“From our initial squad of 35 … we had 18 available for the game,” Ramsey said.
“We had to add another four players and the players who joined late all performed.
“We thought we were a couple of forwards short so added a few to the team. They kicked 10 goals between them.”
Bundoora’s Josh Grabowski kicked three goals, while his Bulls teammate Liam Byrne kicked two goals.
Stephen McCallum was named best on ground.
The win is the NFL’s first at interleague level since 2014 and moves it up to fourth in the overall league rankings.
The league will face Nepean Football League next year for a spot in the top game.
Ramsey, in his first year as coach, said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“I got to know a lot of players, and work with club coaches and football managers.
“There was really good support from the clubs and the league.”
The NFL’s under-19 team suffered a three-point loss to the WRFL, with both sides plagued by poor goalkicking.
The league’s open and under-19 netballers both had wins on Friday night in their interleague matches against Eastern Football League.