East Sunbury’s first grand final appearance in Essendon District Football League division 2 has ended in heartache.
Saturday’s match at Windy Hill was always going to be a history-maker, with both the Thunder and Roxburgh Park looking to win their first senior premiership.
Roxburgh Park was looking to make it third time lucky, having lost two grand finals in the past five years.
While both sides had moments where they looked set to take the premiership, in the end it was the Magpies who broke through, winning 6.11 (47)-5.11 (41).
Wind, and later heavy rain played havoc in the low-scoring game.
Roxburgh Park started the better, before the Thunder settled and scored three quick goals to take the lead in the second quarter. They made it four in a row with the first goal of the second half.
The Magpies responded, pegging the margin back to just one point at the last break.
Sammy Saad, who had given away several free kicks earlier in the match, kicked his second goal to put the Magpies back in front at the 10-minute mark of the final quarter.
That goal would prove to be the winner.
For Thunder coach Glenn Hopkins, it was the Magpies’ experience and bigger bodies that proved to be the difference.
He said the weather conditions didn’t help their cause.
“It was a bit of a slog,” he said.
“I think the wind dropped away in the last quarter which didn’t help us. We thought it was probably worth a couple of goals.
“We lost that little bit of advantage, their bigger bodies made a difference.
“We needed a dry track to be able to run the ball and we weren’t able to get the game going enough with the wet conditions.”
Hopkins said they didn’t start well and despite working their way into the game, they couldn’t get their long kicking working for them.
He said they were in the game right until the final siren, but it was the little things that were the difference between winning and losing.
“The big bodies, mature bodies [of Roxburgh Park],” he said.
“We’ve just got to remember that every minute counts. It’s what we’ve talked about all along.
“Every minute and every part of the game counts and we’ve got to try and get them focused on every minute of the game.
“We’ve got to be more consistent in the way we do things, but that’s part of the learning.
“We’ll get there.”
Kamen Ogilvie was the only multiple goalkicker for the Thunder, kicking two goals in the second quarter.
Hopkins said Ogilvie was clearly their best player, while the back six stood strong like they had all season.
He said everyone did little bits and pieces, but just weren’t able to get the job done.
While the loss stings, Hopkins knows there’s plenty of positives with the group he’s only been working with since the end of July.
“It’s disappointing, you get there and want to make the most of it,” he said.
“For us, we know we have a lot of growth ahead of us. I’ve only just started coaching the club.
“We had eight kids under 20 and we know in the next couple of years we will grow.
“It’s quite early for us to get into a grand final for where we thought we’d be.”
Hopkins said with a full pre season under their belts together they were only going to get better.
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