Gisborne Rookies’ blue held strong in the dying minutes to hold off Sunbury Kangaroos in the AFL Goldfields’ Riddell Youth Girls grand final on Sunday.

Undefeated entering the grand final, the Bulldogs had all the pressure on them entering the game.

It was an arm wrestle all day, with the Bulldogs holding on to win, 4.6 (30)-4.1 (25).

Bulldogs’ Darren Mitchell said an undefeated season was never thought of pre-season. He said the grand final was too close for comfort as the Kangaroos threw everything at them.

“Grand finals are a different game and Sunbury had nothing to lose,” he said.

“The girls were nervous, but confident they could get it done.

“They kicked with the wind in the first quarter and led by one point at quarter-time until we got ahead by 14 points at half-time

“It was a dire struggle in the second half … we managed to hold on.

“Another five minutes may have been a different story.”

The premiership comes after making the preliminary final match the past two seasons.

Loree Newton was awarded the best on ground medal by the umpires. Newton, in her first season at the Bulldogs after playing with Kyneton, dominated the midfield.

Abbi Bolt kicked two goals for the Bulldogs, while league best and fairest winner Molly Warburton was another standout. Mitchell said the win wouldn’t have happened without the support of the coaches and parents.

“We had plenty of support at the grand final with supporters and players from Gisborne white and the senior team coming up. It was a real team effort.”

In the Riddell junior girls grand final, Melton Centrals defeated Bacchus Marsh.