The Riddell District Football League pulled off a remarkable extra time win, against the Southern Football League, to claim its third straight AFL Victoria WorkSafe Community Championships.
The RDFL trailed by 19 points late in the game before kicking three goals to level the scores and send the match into extra time.
Southern kicked the opening goal of extra time and had a shot after the siren of the first five minute period, but missed.
The RDFL then kicked the next two goals to take the lead. Both teams had shots on goal late, but the RDFL held on to win, 12.12 (84)-11.15 (81).
RDFL coach Ben Tankard said they threw caution to the wind late in the game and it paid off.
Tankard said for most of the day Southern had the better of them, but weren’t able to put them away.
He said his side continued to pressure the opposition and it paid off.
“Half way through the last quarter I thought we were pretty much cooked, so we really rolled the dice,” he said.
“Southern put a player behind the ball …We got our loose defender to run through at the stoppages and encouraged the defenders to leave their man and not really worry about how much we lose by and really go for it.
“We got a bit lucky with a couple of ugly inside 50s and got a bit of momentum and scored a couple really quickly.
“Again at half-time of extra time, they left the door ajar.
“I thought our guys just on pure endeavour and bravery stood up.”
Adding to the drama, the scoreboard was wrong for much of the final quarter. At the final siren, it had a one-point win to Southern.
Tankard said they knew on the bench that the scoreboard was wrong and scores were level, but the players on the field didn’t realise.
“We knew it was a draw, so we celebrated pretty hard when we kicked that goal,” he said.
“We were going for the extra time. Unfortunately the crowd didn’t know, but it added to the drama.”
Mitch Jensen kicked four goals for the RDFL, while Dylan Weir kicked three goals.
Matt Pannuccio was awarded the RDFL’s best on ground medal by the umpires.
Tankard said he thought they had one clear standout.
“I thought Dan Toman was a pretty clear best on ground,” he said. “You can see the pride in him, Brent Swallow and Tommy Waters, our leadership group. They really care about these games and want to represent the league.”
Tankard said Mitch Jensen, Dylan Tarczon and Pannuccio all had good games as well.
In the under-19s, the RDFL hung on to beat Southern 8.7 (55)-7.7 (49).
Jordan Watkins was named the RDFL’s best.