Sunbury Kangaroos capped off a stunning Riddell District Football League reserves finals series with the most important victory of all, a grand final win.
While nothing separated the top-four teams all season, with just six losses between them, the Kangaroos found another level come finals.
They easily accounted for Melton Centrals and they demolished Rupertswood in the semi-final before another big win against Diggers Rest in the preliminary.
Those performances put the Kangaroos into their fourth-straight grand final, this time against Wallan.
Kangaroos’ coach Matt Pettman said his side played an unbelievable finals series against some powerful teams.
“For the top two to lose one game each and third and fourth to lose two games it was so close,” he said.
“We played Rupo and were undermanned when we played them and [against] Wallan we lost by 13 points, it could have been anyone’s premiership.
“We knew they [Wallan] would be hard to beat, they were on top and favourites for a reason.”
Despite underdog status, the Kangaroos kicked eight of the first 10 goals on Saturday and led by 40 points midway through the third quarter.
The Magpies got going and reduced the margin to 35 points at three quarter-time.
When they kicked the first two goals of the last quarter, the margin was back to 23 points.
However, the Kangaroos’ experience showed through and they settled, kicking two goals of their own to seal the result.
Pettman said they had done enough before the Magpies made their run and the Kangaroos won 11.17 (83)-8.11 (59).
“We had to stick to our structures and game plan that got us to that position and eventually I knew we’d finish on top,” he said.
“With this group of guys there’s a good bunch of older, younger and different [playing] levels. When they were coming back, Matty Baird, Wally [Matthew Wallace], Walkes [Luke Walker] put themselves behind the ball and tried to stem it.
“I’m so rapt and so proud.”
Curtis Schultz kicked five goals for a second straight game. He was the Kangaroos only multiple goal scorer.
Josh Kanellos added the grand final best on ground medal to the league reserves best and fairest award he won a couple of weeks ago.
Schultz, Mark McInerney and Dwayne Tate were the Kangaroos’ other standouts.
Pettman said the victory makes slight amends for last season when they fell at the final hurdle.
“I’ve been here for three years,” he said.
“I was Wayne’s assistant and we won it. I
had this drive last year to coach on my own and to get the boys into the granny was unbelievable.
“To be last year runners-up and to see what we’ve done this year to be fighting and coming back and have a chance at it, is unbelievable.”
Pettman said they were keen to keep the streak going.
“I’ve never won back-to-back premierships as a player or a coach and I’m keen to come back and defend it.”
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