Every footballer has dreamt about kicking the winning goal after the final siren, but most go through their whole career without even facing that scenario and some just choke in the spotlight.
Werribee Centrals forward Josh Sutton got the chance to live out that dream scene on Sunday and became the hero for his team with his set shot sealing an incredible one-point win over Inverleigh in a cut-throat semi-final in the Geelong and District Football League Smiths Holden Cup at St Albans Reserve.
“It was extraordinary,” Centurions coach Nick Smith said.
“He takes the mark and the siren sounds as he’s walking in for his shot on goal.
“He kicked it after the siren and there were scenes, it was massive.”
Sutton was relatively quiet for Werribee Centrals for most of the game.
In wet and windy conditions, it was not ideal for a key forward to show off his aerial capabilities.
The game might not have belonged to Sutton, but the moment undoubtedly did.
Make no mistake, this victory was signed, sealed and delivered by Sutton because of his willingness to stay engaged on a day when it might not have all gone his way.
Trailing by five points with only seconds left on the clock, Werribee Centrals needed a miracle.
Sutton produced a miraculous feat.
The first part of Sutton’s act was to take a strong contested mark.
A long ball was kicked into his space and he double clutched at the ball before reeling it in for a mark.
The second part was the kick.
Standing about 35 metres out on a 45-degree angle, Sutton could not have been in a more pressure-packed situation.
He had opposition players screaming at him, car horns blowing and the Centurions 2019 season on the line. He calmly went back, went through his process and kicked truly before mayhem broke out.
All of Sutton’s teammates rode the kick home before mobbing him stacks-on-the-mill style.
Perhaps Sutton’s greatest feat was managing to avoid injury with his 17 teammates jumping all over him.
“In an elimination game like that, it doesn’t get much more clutch,” Smith said. “He’s only a 21 year-old kid.”
Werribee Centrals got out of jail.
The Centurions trailed for most of the day and were second best throughout.
However, they got the reward for hanging in the game and also for their unwavering focus on defence for the full 120 minutes.
“We weren’t playing great footy, but we were cracking in, tackling, chasing, harassing and pressuring,” Smith said. “Eventually we got that late reward. The thing that was keeping us in it is we wouldn’t give up.
“I love that about our group and it was the same last week when we were three or four goals down and fought back to turn it into a five-point loss.”
Tito Nyawela was superb for the second week in a row in the midfield. He is Werribee Centrals player of the finals so far.
“He’s one of the ones that just loves the contest,” Smith said. “As soon as the game gets down and dirty in finals, he’s one of the guys who is a key.”
Werribee Centrals will face Bannockburn in the preliminary final at St Albans Reserve on Saturday. The two sides met in week one of the finals with Bannockburn winning by five points in a thriller.