Sunbury Kangaroos have capped off a perfect debut season in the Essendon District Football League, claiming the division 2 premiership on Saturday at Windy Hill.
Undefeated this season, all the pressure was on the Kangaroos when they took on an in-form Moonee Valley.
The Kangaroos stood up to the pressure, coming away with the 12.15 (87)-11.5(71) win.
The premiership is the club’s second senior premiership, following a win on the siren in 2012 in the Riddell District Football League.
Kangaroos coach Anthony Leydin was numb after the game.
“We were waiting for that final siren,” he said.
“We looked like we were tiring and they were coming over the top of us. I think we had a big enough of a buffer with our effort in the early part of the last quarter.
“It was still a bit too close for comfort. It’s a pretty amazing performance by Moonee Valley, it was quite a tussle.”
It was a stressful couple of weeks leading into the grand final for the Kangaroos, with the injury room bigger than they would have liked.
Leydin said they only finalised the team late on Friday night.
“What people don’t know, we had to get over quite a few battles to put out a team we thought could compete and compete they did,” he said.
“We’ve been the walking wounded for the last two weeks. We’ve had three guys on crutches, two in hospital and four at the physio.
“Latch [Lachlan Baddeley] has a partial ACL tear, David House, I’m not even sure what his injury was, Mick Kilty tore the lateral ligaments in his ankle, Burgo [Josh Burgess] had a potential blood clot through a corkie and Bogey [Brenton Sutherland] with his meniscus, they’re the ones I know of.”
All of those injured played besides Burgess. Leydin and captain Daniel Gregory still called him on stage and gave him a premiership medal after the game.
Leydin said while it was a risk to play all those guys it was one that they were prepared to take.
“We knew it was always a risk and performance wise its hard to tell whether the risk paid off. In terms of emotionally and spiritually, having a couple of those guys out there today, just knowing they were out there, carried a lot of currency.”
Once on the field, the Kangaroos were up for the battle. The Fog led at quarter time by 12 points having kicked with the wind in the opening quarter.
With the breeze in the second term, the Kangaroos controlled the quarter kicking 6.9 to open up a 27-point lead.
The Fog came back at the Kangaroos in the third quarter, with the margin back to one point at the last break and a thriller on the cards.
Leydin said they were confident heading into the final quarter.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games, whilst being undefeated. I think today was evident of the fact that we knew what we were doing at the time.”
The Kangaroos kicked the first four goals of the last quarter to get out to a match winning lead. While the Fog came at them in the dying minutes, it was too late.
Ruckman Brenton Sutherland was awarded the best on ground medal. Sutherland spent 85 per cent of the day in the ruck, despite his knee injury. Leydin said there was several others that could have taken home the medal, with no passengers in the performance.
“[John] Corso was fantastic and Greggers [Daniel Gregory] was arguably best on ground.
“Quigs [Matt Quigley] was good as well and [Christian] Monaco I thought was good. He was a middle tier player who stood up.
“Jake Young has unbounded amount of talent and we saw that today.”
Corso and Young kicked three goals apiece for the Kangaroos. The win was the second of the day for the Kangaroos, with their reserves also getting the premiership, beating the Northern Saints, 10.6 (66)-8.6 (54).
Having made the move to the EDFL in the off season, the Kangaroos have had a successful introduction into this competition. Next season they will be in division 1.
Leydin admits he was one who had some doubts about the move across.
“It just goes to show, what do I know?,” he said.
“I wasn’t in favour of it, in the sense of having to come through division 2.
From the club’s point of view to have the success we’ve had this year, will hopefully be a good platform and springboard at the higher level.
“You all saw the support Sunbury had in the stands today and around the ground, it shows we’re a big club and we mean business.
“We might be coming from a long way back in division 1, but we’ve got a lot of support .”