Whittlesea will return to the Northern Football League top flight after beating Banyule in the division 2 grand final on Saturday.

Relegated back to division 2 this season, the young Eagles have stood up to every challenge thrown at them.

But one last challenge stood between them and a return to the top flight – Banyule in the grand final.

While the Bears won the earlier finals encounter between the teams, it was the Eagles that had the last laugh on Saturday.

Having led throughout, the Eagles were able to steady as the Bears came at them late, winning 10.14 (74)-6.11 (47).

First year Eagles coach Blair Harvey said it was a special day.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “To see all the hard work through the year has paid off, it’s great.

“It is amazing great to get a premiership in our first year. I’m really grateful for it”


Whittlesea’s Thomas Falls. Picture Mark Wilson

For many it would be no surprise to see Harvey have premiership success at the Eagles, having played in six NFL premierships.

He had a few nervous moments on Saturday, as his Eagles did their best to keep the Bears in the game.

“They did get within three points at one stage there,” he said.

“We were kicking ourselves out of it, kicking point after point.

“We should have been six to eight goals up.”

While they weren’t kicking straight, Harvey had faith that his side had the fitness to run out the game well.

He said they worked a lot on fitness during the pre-season and had another running block of training between rounds 12 and 16.

He said they got that reward for effort on Saturday.

“We had plenty of the play and once we get the first goal it steady us and it was party time after that.”

The Eagles kicked the last four goals of the game to seal the win.

Jaron Murphy continued his good form, kicking four goals and was named one of the Eagles’ best.

Xavier Dimasi was awarded the best on ground medal, with Harvey saying his leadership had been great all year.

Xavier Dimasi was best on ground. Picture Mark Wilson

PHOTO GALLERY: NFL division 2 grand final

Mitch Andrews, Brody Bell at centre half back and 17-year-old Zach Molloy, who kept James Kroussoratis to one goal, were the other standouts.

The win was special for captain Riley Dyson, with Harvey saying at one stage it didn’t like he would get the chance.

“He broke his tibia in round two and thought he wouldn’t get back to captain a premiership.

“It’s great to see.”

The premiership was Max Dyson’s fourth senior one with the club.

Harvey said the future was promising at the club, with 14 players under the age of 23 and several still eligible for under-19s.

It bodes well for when the side returns to division 1 next season.

Harvey said they would start preparing for next year in the next few weeks.

“We’re in good shape to hold our own with a core young group.”

“We’ll try and get four to five in, but that’s easier said then done.

“We don’t want to come straight back down. The club has been up and down and it’s my job to make sure we have more stability and stay up there.”


Picture Mark Wilson