As the Calder Cannons prepare for Sunday’s TAC Cup grand final, Tara Murray looks back at their last premiership in 2010.
After winning the premiership in 2009, the Calder Cannons had to fight for the chance of going back-to-back.
The Cannons finished seventh on the ladder and trailed at half time of its preliminary final against Dandenong Stingrays. They won that match 13.13 (91) to 9.10 (64) to win through to the grand final.
Once in the grand final against Gippsland Power, the premiership was the Cannons for the taking.
The game was set up early by the Cannons midfield dominance, which allowed their forwards to have a day out with the result a 58-point win, 17.14 (116) to 8.10 (58).
Cannons captain Mitch Wallis led from the front and was awarded best-on-ground honours.
Wallis, who had a poor preliminary final due to illness, had 16 possessions in the opening quarter and finished with 47 possessions for the game.
Joining him in the middle was his best mate Tom Liberatore who has 28 possessions. Both had already been guaranteed of their AFL dreams, with the Western Bulldogs saying they would take both players as father-son picks in the draft a couple of months later.
Dion Prestia, who had been best on ground in the preliminary final, was again a ball magnet with 36 possessions.
He didn’t just get the ball, he used it well going at 90 per cent efficiency.
Jordan Schroder had 25 possessions, while Cannons coach Martin Allison had special praise for Cameron Guthrie after the game.
Guthrie had the hardest job in the TAC Cup — stopping Morrish Medallist Dyson Heppell.
“We knew there was only one player in the TAC Cup that could keep Dyson quiet and that was Cameron,” said Allison following the game.
“I thought he was simply outstanding negating his influence and getting [the] ball too.
“Dyson is going to be a future superstar.”
It wasn’t just the Cannons midfielders who had a day out, but so did some of the Cannons forwards.
Luke Mitchell who had missed a large chunk of the season through injury kicked 5.4, while Alistair Kefford kicked three goals.
Allison said at the time, the team which had eight players from the 2009 premiership side, was better than the 2009 team.
Those to play in both premierships were Guthrie, Liberatore, Mitchell, Wallis, Schroder, Prestia, Matthew Watson and Alex McLeod.
“The way they have been able to come together so good at the end of the season has been good. I thought that we were struggling a bit in the middle of the year, but our bottom age players have stepped up,” Allison said.
“The more games they played together the better they got. This week was better than last week and next week would’ve been better.”
Of the 2010 team, 11 players have spent time on AFL lists and several others have played VFL.
Here’s a look at what the 2010 premiership side has done since then:
Mitch Wallis: Always destined to go to the Western Bulldogs, Wallis at times has been in and out of the side. He seems to have found a niche in a tagging role. Has played 56 AFL games.
Tom Liberatore in the 2010 TAC Cup grand final with Dyson Heppell.
Tom Liberatore: Has been a stand-out with the Western Bulldogs and won their 2014 best and fairest award. Made the 40-man All-Australian squad and is one of the league’s best midfielders. Has played 77 AFL games.
Dion Prestia: After playing in two Cannons premierships and finishing second in the club’s best and fairest in 2010, Prestia was taken by Gold Coast at pick 9 in the 2010 draft. Has been one the Suns’ key midfielders and stepped it up another level this year, averaging 27 possessions per game. Has played 73 AFL games.
Brandon Ellis in the 2010 TAC Cup grand final.
Brandon Ellis: Was a bottom-age player for the Cannons in the premiership and played a further year in the TAC Cup. Was taken at pick 15 in the 2011 draft by Richmond. Ellis was a key to the Tigers’ late season run to the finals and he had at least 20 possessions in every game since round four. Has played 64 AFL games.
Michael Talia: Another bottom-age player of the premiership side. Following in his brother Daniel’s footsteps, the defender was drafted in 2011 at pick 39. After not playing a game for the Western Bulldogs in his first season, Talia has played 16 in the past two years.
Matthew Watson: The key tall in the side, Watson made his name in defence but could also play forward. Taken by Carlton at pick 18 in the 2010 draft, Watson has been much maligned at the Blues. Has played 19 AFL games.
Cameron Guthrie: In a star-studded team, it was Guthrie who won the Cannons’ 2010 best and fairest award. Guthrie has become a vital member of the Geelong unit after being drafted at pick 23 in 2010. Like he did in the TAC Cup grand final, Guthrie has made his name for himself as a tagger. Has played 62 AFL games.
Jordan Schroder: He joined Guthrie at Geelong in the 2010 draft when they took him at pick 54. Has struggled to cement a spot in the team, which has been full of experienced midfielders. He was joint winner of the VFL best and fairest award, the Liston Trophy, in 2013. Has played five AFL games.
Cannon’s Jordan Schroder and Tom Sheridan get the upper hand in the 2010 TAC Cup grand final.
Tom Sheridan: Drafted by Fremantle at pick 16 in 2011. Has been on the edge of the Dockers side and played as the sub on a number of occasions. Was emergency for the 2013 AFL grand final. Has played 19 AFL games.
Luke Mitchell: Picked by Carlton at pick 42 in the 2010 draft, Mitchell was plagued with shoulder injuries while at the Blues. Played one game in 2012 and was delisted at the end of 2013. Played with North Adelaide in the SANFL this season.
Hal Hunter: He was rookie listed by Essendon at the 2011 rookie draft. He came to the club with hamstring injuries and couldn’t manage to break through for a senior game. After being delisted last year, Hunter signed with Northern Football League side Northcote Park, but didn’t play a game.
Alistair Kefford: Played with Essendon VFL side this season after spending time at Williamstown. Also plays with Aberfeldie in the Essendon District Football League.
Ozgur Uysal: Played with Coburg in the VFL this season. Played 17 games and was named among the best players on seven occasions.
Alex McLeod: Spent the 2014 season with Essendon’s VFL side. Previously played with Coburg and Williamstown in the VFL. Also fronts for St Bernards in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.
Dylan Murphy: After playing VFL with Coburg for three years, Murphy joined Riddell District Football League side Sunbury Kangaroos this year. The move paid off with Muprhy winning the Bowen medal as the league’s best and fairest player.
Calder Cannons players celebrate their 2010 TAC Cup premiership.
Jason Williams: After playing VFL football, Williams joined Diggers Rest in the Riddell District Football League. He played in the Burras’ grand final loss on Sunday and has been a pillar of strength in defence all season.
Brandyn Grenfell: Plays for Seymour in the Goulburn Valley League.
Tom Sullivan: He won the Calder Cannons’ most courageous award in 2010. Now plays with St Bernard’s in the VAFA.
Ned Daniher: The brother of current Essendon player Joe. Was a late starter to the game. Was playing with Aberfeldie in the Essendon District Football League before taking a year off this season.
David Meli: Signed with Essendon on a international scholarship while at the Cannons. Meli also played VFL with Coburg. From Papaua New Guinea, Meli was playing football in the Port Moresby League in 2013.
Thomas O’Loughlin: Plays with North Bendigo in the Heathcote Football League. Was part of the senior side which finished runner-up in the grand final on the weekend.
Luke Madden: Was the Cannons’ most improved player in 2010. Plays with St Bernards in the VAFA.