Williamstown CYMS secured the Victorian Amateur Football Association Premier C minor premiership and ripped apart second-on-the-ladder Ormond by 104 points at Fearon Reserve on Saturday.
The CYs were irrepressible in the second half, banging on 14 unanswered goals and keeping Ormond scoreless to turn a 10-point half-time lead into a triple-figure annihilation.
CYs coach Mathew Montebello was thrilled to claim a 15th straight win and lock up the No.1 finals ranking – with a caveat.
“You sort of don’t start off the year wanting to finish on top,” he said.
“When it’s there, you want to show everyone how serious you are and take it.
“We’ll enjoy the moment, but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything unless you’re holding up the cup at the end of the year.”
It will be the second time in as many seasons that Williamstown CYMS will head into the finals as minor premier.
Last season, that counted for nought, as CYs were bundled out of the finals in straight sets with two heartbreaking losses of less than a kick.
Montebello is imploring his players to take the minor premiership in their stride.
“When you’re at where we’re at, it’s very easy to tighten up,” Montebello said.
“We’re just trying to embrace the challenge that we have ahead. We see each week as another opportunity for this group to play together.”
Williamstown CYMS knows all too well that finals are a different ball game.
The experience of last year’s pain offers a constant reminder of how fleeting form can be.
It is likely CYs and Ormond will cross paths at some point in September – and Montebello will be planning for a much different challenge.
“Yes, it was great to beat them, it was fantastic,” he said. “But we know they’ll go away and re-think that and come back at us differently next time.”
As for the here and now, Saturday’s win was one to savour.
The CYs domination started in the centre, with Tom Johnstone, Russell Ackerly and Brad Tucker the ball magnets.
Nathan Malkoun’s run-with role was crucial, while Damon Tucker excelled both off a half-back flank and in the guts.
Lachlan Fairley was the standout in attack with four goals.
Fairley’s influence is much bigger than what he provides on the scoresheet.
“The opposition just has to worry about him,” Montebello said. “He allows other blokes to be freed up because teams become so conscious of him.”
Williamstown CYMS ruck tandem Dylan Jones and Nick Blackney not only controlled the air, but also managed to squeeze the best out of each other with a friendly rivalry.
Montebello says there is a similar dynamic across the group – and that will be important in the finals.
“The way they work together and sort of have a crack at each other about trying to out-do each other is really good,” he said.
“We’ve got to stay in that head space … the moment we drop out of that head space, we could be vulnerable.”
Williamstown CYMS will travel to Chelsworth Park on Saturday to face third-placed Old Ivanhoe Grammarians.