Taylors Lakes will need a bigger trophy cabinet, with the club’s reserves side winning a fourth straight Essendon District Football League reserves grand final early this month.
Having captured three flags in as many years, there wasn’t many who expected that the Lions could again reign strong in the final game of the year.
The Lions, though, had other ideas, defeating Hillside in the grand final.
Co-coach Michael DiPietro said it all started when a group of players decided they wanted to keep playing football, after giving up playing seniors.
Himself and co-coach Mark Jurcec were among them.
“We decided we wanted to play in the twos and give something back,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate to have a good core group of mates that want to play together.
“Ricky Potter was coach for the first two years, with myself and Mark assistant coaches.
“The last two years we’ve been coaches and players. We’ve had a really good support team and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
DiPietro said they could never have imagined the success they would have over the past four years. “It’s a long journey and I know how hard it is to win one premiership, let alone four.
“You don’t envisage this. You hope to turn up each year and contend.”
Like the previous three grand finals, the Lions didn’t have it all their own way. The biggest margin in their grand final wins was 14 points in 2014.
This year, the Lions had to come from behind at half-time to beat Hillside 7.20 (62)-7.9 (51).
“We’ve had a lot of close ones,” DiPietro said. “A lot of nailbiters.
“This time we kicked a lot of points and thought we had kicked ourselves out of it.
“We rallied in the last quarter. They’re our local rival and we respect them greatly.
“They beat us twice during the year, and we’ve come back and beaten them twice in the finals.”
DiPietro said only six or seven players had played in all four premierships, with different players stepping into the side over the years.
“We’ve had a really good leadership group and it’s had a flow-on effect,” he said.
“We’ve had younger players stepping up to the plate. We’ve gone through a few players.”
DiPietro is hanging up the boots and he and Jurcec have handed over the coaching reins.
Reserves assistant coach Tyrone Mamo has been appointed to replace them.
Meanwhile, Sam Tankard has been reappointed the senior coach. It’ll be his third year in the role. The Lions seniors side made massive inroads this season, finishing just percentage outside the top four.
Tony Keehan will coach the under-19.5 team.