The Northern Football League has claimed the mantle of the number one football league in Victoria.
Facing the Geelong Football Netball League in the AFL Victoria WorkSafe Community Championships, the Northern side rose to the challenge and took out the match and the much-lauded title.
NFL coach Garry Ramsay said he believed it was the first time in 25 years that the league had held the number one ranking.
“It’s fantastic,” he said.
“I’ve been around [the league] for so long and this group has worked together the last three years.
“We’ll hang our hats on this for the next 12 months.”
NFL won 12.14 (86)-8.14 (62).
Ramsay said the second quarter proved to be the difference. In that time, the NFL went from trailing to taking a handy half-time lead.
“We were down two goals, five minutes into the second quarter,” he said.
“We kicked six goals in a row to get back on track.
“We got some turnovers and inside 50s. That dominate period of 15-20 minutes won us the game.”
Ramsay said they kept the foot on the pedal until late in the last quarter when the high intensity game took its toll but by that stage the damage had already been done.
Nick Riddle won the best on ground medal for the NFL. He has previously won the medal in 2015.
Ramsay said Anton Woods was fantastic, as were the two co-captains Jesse Donaldson and Matt Dennis.
“All 23 would have walked away after the game happy with their performances.
“Everyone performed to their potential.”
The rise to number one has been three years in the making for Ramsay and the playing group.
He said a focus on picking players who wanted to play and rewarding them for loyalty has paid off.
“Everyone is really keen to play,” he said.
“They get on well and are like a normal football side. You wouldn’t know they are in an interleague side.
“Everyone from last year got the opportunity to come and train again. Nearly everyone wanted to play.
“There were five or six changes this year, and they all added something, which is fantastic.”
Ramsay said they would let this win sink in before deciding the next goal of the interleague side.
Meanwhile, the NFL women’s side lost to AFL Barwon WFL
5.7 (37)-2.7(19) in their interleague clash.
Catherine O’Bryan was named the NFL’s best, along with Nicole Blythe and Karly Cobern.
In the netball, Geelong Netball League beat the Northern side 98-23 in the open match, and 71-29 in the under-19s.
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