Western Crusaders’ remarkable run has continued, with the side completing a perfect season for the third year to claim the Gridiron Victoria men’s Vic Bowl.
Red hot favourites for the grand final against the Monash Warriors, the Crusaders got the job done, winning 36-6.
Crusaders coach Craig Wilson said they had a pretty special bunch of players at the club.
“We went undefeated for a third season in a row, that’s 40 games in a row undefeated,” he said.
“Some guys leave and new guys come in and have picked up where others have left off.
“The culture is stronger each year and they have found the secret recipe.”
One key for the Crusaders has been to block out the noise of teams wanting to beat them and focusing on what they can do.
Come the grand final, Wilson admitted there had been some nerves.
“It was quite an experience and quite a responsibility not to muck it up,” he said.
“Everyone was focused on doing their job as good as they can and letting the game come to them.
“The cream rises to the top.”
Running back Rohail Akhtar broke open the game with a 60 yard run to put the first score on the board and it released the pressure on the Crusaders.
They were in control at half-time, but the game was far from over.
“The Warriors … were really strong in the third quarter,” Wilson said. “They were the first team to score, but took 10 minutes to do it.
“They ran out the time. The second half was a bit tougher than the first.”
American quarterback Ryan Deal was a well deserving best on ground.
The Crusaders may have just won a third straight title, but they are already looking to the next one.
“We’re really keen to make it four in a row,” Wilson said. “We don’t know if we will go through undefeated. Only one other team has won four in a row.
“That’s our goal.”
The Western Crusaders women’s team and under-19 team both lost their grand finals.