Grand Final Reports: Uni Wins A-Grade Flag

University claimed its fifth A-Grade premiership in the past nine years and moved closer to 100 club flags overall with a Grand Final triumph on Saturday, while sadly the Reserves couldn’t do the double.

GRAND FINALS REPORTS

STEINEPREIS PAGANIN A GRADE

Uni 9.9.63 def Fremantle CBC 6.10.46

The A Grade premiership cup returned to the AJ for the first time since 2015 on Saturday following a gripping 17 point Grand Final victory against Fremantle CBC. The flag capped off a remarkable turnaround for the side which lost 4 of its first 6 games before storming home to win 14 of the remaining 15 matches to clinch the title.

The week got off to a bumpy start, with A Grade regulars Basti Ashford, Matt Hanagan and Cameron Wilson all ruled out of A Grade selection with injury concerns. They joined the likes of Charlie Stapleton, Rhys Edwards, Jake Colvin, Ryan Williamson, Aaron Holt and George Cunningham on the sidelines for the biggest game of the year. But Uni’s strength has always been its depth and ability to share the load across the whole Senior squad, so the 22 selected players arrived at Bassendean Oval full of belief and in good form.

Fremantle CBC won the toss and elected to kick to the eastern end with a 2 goal breeze at their back. Wingman Seb Bentley had the first opportunity to set the tone and put his body on the line and that he did, copping a bone-crunching hit in the middle of the ground in the opening seconds. The two sides’ game plans were evident early, with Uni looking to run and share the footy at every opportunity whilst CBC opted to pick their way through the midfield with short decisive kicking. Uni had the upper hand early and drew first blood with a goal to veteran half forward Jarryd Stewart. Several more chances went begging for Unibefore CBC hit back, kicking the 2nd and the 3rd goal late in the quarter to grasp a 5 point lead at the first change.

Uni defended CBCs ball movement far better in the second quarter which, coupled with the breeze, prevented them from penetrating into their front half. Uni attacked aggressively on the turnover, moving the footy quickly into an open forward 50. Captain Darren Mumford seized the opportunity, taking a number of strong grabs in front on the vocal Uni faithful. The skipper had 4 shots on goal for the quarter, jailing 3 to swing the momentum heavily in Uni’s favour. Uni’s fourth goal for the term came from the dangerous Matt Davies and opened up a 3 goal lead at the long break in the low scoring tussle.

The premiership quarter proved a big test for the Uni boys. CBC threw the kitchen sink and had the ascendancy for a large portion of the term. The Uni back six were tested as the game was played predominantly in CBCs front half however key backs Tim O’Hara and Brent Evans stood up brilliantly while Nath Stewart and Matt Goyder mopped up at ground level. The CBC midfield continued to fire but a key moment came late in the term, when a surging CBC were streaming through the middle and a score looked inevitable when a desperate chase and diving tackle from the gutsy Matt Goyder won the footy back for Uni. The resulting counter attack ended in a goal to Jarryd Stewart giving Uni an all important lift and some breathing space at the last break. Uni led by 2 goals with a quarter to play.

Despite exhaustion from the frenetic pace of the game on the huge Bassendean deck, nether side let up in the deciding term as every contest proved crucial. Scoring was difficult as both sides showed immense desperation in defence with A Grade silverware on the line. CBC managed the first major which left the sides just 8 points apart. Uni replied but another CBC goal mid quarter reduced the deficit to an uncomfortable margin again mid quarter. Diminutive crowd-favourite rover Ryan Donaldson lifted and was the one player that was able to extract the footy from the contest and deliver with composure and precision. A defining contest on the far side of the ground saw the Worm emerge from a 3 on 1 contest with the ball under his arm, turning a CBC scoring opportunity to a shot on goal for Uni, but it missed. The clock gradually ticked down and Uni were doing enough to maintain a slender lead until Davies got some timely space and banged through what proved to be the sealer with just minutes left on the clock. Uni continued to throw themselves at the footy for the final minutes until the sweet sound of the Bassendean siren made it official – Uni A Grade were premiers once again.

Although Uni had a number of deserving candidates, it was a battered, bruised and cramping Seb Bentley who accepted the medal for the best player on the ground after an incredible first half which set up Uni’s win.

The jubilant Uni crowd celebrated on the ground, in the rooms, on the bus and back at the AJ deep into the night. It was a great day for the mighty UFC.

Best: S Bentley, Mumford, Donaldson, O’Hara, Goyder, N Stewart, Curtin, Evans, Murray, Lake.

Goals: Mumford 4, Davies 3, J Stewart 2.

CF DIRECT A RESERVES

Uni 5.5.35 def by North Beach 10.7.67

The Mighty Bulls ventured to Steel Blue Oval, scene of many a famous UFC victory over the past four years, to take on the North Beach Reserves side who were aiming at a three peat having won the Ressies premierships in 2017 and 2018.

So it was going to be a tough contest and this wasn’t made any easier when Breadsey  finally succumbed to his dodgy knee after a valiant effort to be available and Jacob Orr went down with the “Eartha Kitts” the day before the game.

Anyway, despite all this on our mind, we started the game in good space with nothing to lose, quite comfortable with the underdog tag. Beware the Bull with the underdog tag so the old saying goes (or if not an old saying, or so the new saying goes!). We did see a first this year with Captain Courageous Sam Shackles winning the toss and electing to kick to the Bassendean town end of the ground. We jumped out early with goals to Durward, the Pickle Slicer and Bomber giving us a great start. Unfortunately the Beach managed to get a late one back in the last 30 seconds  but we led 3.1 to 1.3 at the first break. Another cause for concern was the Big King Bull, Chook Chapman hobbling off half way through the first quarter with a serious ankle injury. Unfortunately for Chooka and us, he was unable to go back on and losing him and his massive impact around the stoppages and his intimidation factor, which more often than not results in opposition midfielders shitting themselves like Denis the dog (A Grade Coach Brownies extremely well hung pooch) when  in the region of the Big Fella, was a massive blow.

The second quarter saw a huge amount of fight by the Bulls. In an arm wrestle we were able to maintain the lead which was out by 12 points when  the young Bull Sammy Monkhouse snapped one late in the second but unfortunately in doing so he also snapped his ACL and was assisted off and was out for the game. This was a really devastating blow to us as it meant we were down to two on the bench for the remaining 2 ½ quarters and we also lost our best player at that stage as young Sammy had his name half etched on the Miller Medal (A Ressies equivalent of the Norm Smith) at that point of time and was clearly the best player on the ground . I hope he comes good because  he is and outstanding young footballer who always plays well in big games as well as being a champion bloke. Anyway, we lost concentration watching Monkey being carted off which allowed Beach to sneak another last minute goal meaning we took a slender 1 goal lead into the long break.

In the second half Beach eventually wore us down and despite being only eight points  down with ten minutes to play in the last quarter we missed a goal and they took it down the other end and scored and then the flood gates opened and they won by 32 points.

A brave effort by a magnificent bunch of blokes extremly well coached by Weapons Macdonald. Weapons has now coached A Colts and A Ressies for the last seven years for six Grand Finals, four flags and a win ratio of  81%. He was also assistant this year to the A Grade who won so involvement in five flags in seven years from seven grand finals is a wonderful effort and I hope he keeps going as a coach because he is bloody good at it and a ripping chap to boot.

Congrats to all of the guys who played for the Bulls in 2019 and especially to Big Juice Tom Bowering who stormed to win the B&F this season. T Ferg and Sammy Monkhouse came equal second and were brilliant throughout and special thanks to Sam Shackles and Haz Donovan for their leadership along with of course Big Chooka , Bomber (Rat Pack) and a special mention to the veteran Brad Mumford who was terrific again and is close to 32 and probably thinking about hanging up those weary old boots after a stellar career with premiership’s with both the A Grade and the Ressies  over the journey.

A big congrats to Browney and the A Grade. A magnificent 20th A Grade flag (and club flag number 99)  despite a pile of injuries to key players throughout the year and a shaky start when there was talk of the R word. Browney thoroughly deserved it and special mention to Captain “Dazzling” Darren Mumford who won his 5th A Grade premiership. As of next season Dazzling will have individually won more A Grade premierships than of seven of the A Grade teams competing in the 2020 A Grade competition.  Only  Uni, the Beach and North Freo have won more premiership’s in their history than Dazzling (5) has and he has personally won more A Grade premierships than CBC (3, started in 1932), Scarborough (3) , TA’s (2), Collegians (1), Curtin Wesley (1) with Kinglsey (0) and Kingsway (0) yet to win one. I think that is an outrageous statistic that should make us all very proud of our captain,  who by the way, based on his game on Saturday, and despite never taking a mark with outstretched arms/hands ( like we try and teach all of the Colts!), looks like he might still have a few more premierships left in him. North Freo, look out, Dazzling is coming after your eight flags!

Also to all the other Coaches and to Lakey and the Board, well done , big effort. We field eight team and six of them competed in Grand Finals for two premierships and four runners up, plus the A Colts missing by a GF by four points is a mighty effort. The race is on as to which team will win the Club’s 100th premiership next season with my money on one of the Women’s teams. To the sponsors, the Patron,  to the old boys and Coaches Club, thanks for all your support. Well done to all.

Goals: Durward, Gajewski, Harding, Monkhouse, Taco

Best: Donovan, Shackles, Fitzgerald, Ferguson, Gajewski, Hannagan, Harding, Harris, Mantaras, Bowering

Also separately the University Football Club Past Players request the pleasure of you and your friends company at a “Sportsmen’s” Lunch hosted by Jim Malone and featuring guest speaker Luke Dwyer, Inaugural WCE AFLW Head Coach to be held on Friday, 25th October, 2019, at The Claremont Yacht Club, 4 Victoria Avenue, Claremont, from 12.00 midday.

More details to come, but cost is $160 per head and RSVP essential by Friday 18th October. Email 123ufc.secretary@gmail.com to book.

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