Uni Pirates Win 4th Straight Flag, 100 Flags For Uni
The Uni Pirates claimed their fourth consecutive premiership on Saturday with a 40-point win over North Fremantle, completing an unbeaten season and 100 flags for the club.
C5 GRAND FINAL
Brewhub Uni Pirates 10.9 (69) def North Fremantle 4.5 (29)
“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he [saw] there were no more worlds to conquer.”
The Pirates have joined Wembley (1970-1974), Mt Lawley (1985-1988) and North Beach (2004-2010) as the only senior mens side to have won 4 premierships in a row. They are also the first senior University mens side to go undefeated since 1934.
The game was a display of an extremely dominant and well-rounded Pirate outfit that proved just too much for their North Fremantle counterparts.
The Pirates to get here in this unprecedented season had gone through undefeated and had beaten their Fremantle counterparts in the previous two encounters. However, there was an understanding of their physical nature and consideration of the fact that they had some extremely talented players who had played higher grades throughout the season.
The Pirates were fortunate in welcoming back 2018 Premiership hero and B&F Alex Dykes for the Grandie, with the ever consistent Big O and warhorse Chooka returning to the side.
Pre-game Coach Day spoke about the connection that this group had made throughout the season and how the culture was as strong as any of the Pirates teams that had come before. It was emphasised to the group that they were not only playing for the individuals out there today, but for all the guys that were missing and all the Pirates that had come before.
As the boys ran out, as with last year, they were met with a vocal opposition crowd once again emphasising the different nature of Grand Final day. The anthems played, skippers Matthew Bailey and Andrew Diamond delivered their final words and then the moment everyone had been waiting for – bouncedown.
With a swirling breeze, the first quarter proved difficult with neither playing to their fullest capabilities. In all though it was University who kicked the first major, with the Macedonian Marvel at his dangerous best being at the right place at the right time, providing a steadier for this Pirates outfit. Elsewhere, and as this writer has become accustomed to typing, Dekkers was proving dangerous in the ruck with the front line midfield of Bails, Diamo and Chooka working extremely effectively. The backs were at their usual lockdown best, with Bando and Flemmo blanketing their direct opponents. A clerical error from the timeskeeper out at Canning in addition to a 100 metre penalty gifted North Freo their first goal, thereby providing them a 1 point lead at the first break.
There were some nerves permeating in the Pirate camp considering the slow start and a goal that should not have been allowed, however Coach Day placed on emphasis on the boys being first to the footy, with the rest taking care of itself.
These words appeared to resonate with the boys as the second quarter proved to be more reflective of the Pirates brand of footy. The midfield got the ball surging forward with crucial ratpack member Joey Dale finding his way onto the scorers sheet. Bull Riley was also in the right place to add another major after Chappy broke another tackle by spinning out of it.
It was at this point University started to take a bit more control of the game. Dyksey started to get involved in his own right, who worked beautifully with the first half specialist Diamo. This, in addition to the pressure of the forward line made it extremely difficult for the North Fremantle boys to garner any sort of momentum. The backs in this quarter with their rebound play led by Skaz and the influential Goat allowed for these repeat entries. Late goals to Garstone after shedding two tackles and Bomber Harding helped contribute to a 4 goal lead at the main break.
The half time intermission came and went with both coaches challenging the boys to replicate their efforts of that second quarter and to finish the game off strongly.
Coming out of the main break however it was North Fremantle kicking an early goal to get them back in the contest. Freo had a couple of chances to building something further, however the backs resisted. Once again Hoppo, Bando and Flemmo refused to concede with the boys showing the grit which had led them to become the best defensive unit in the C5 competition.
With the game still in the balance though one of the highlights of the Grandie came though later in the quarter. In his first GF Screecha won a free kick after being first to the contest and sticking his head over the footy. From there the Fremantle player gave away a 50 metre penalty which led to his dragging in front of the Uni faithful. Screecha, the ever dangerous backman, went back and slotted the goal with all 17 players getting around him. It was a ripping moment for one of the great servants of thirds football. Also of note, Jack Mac added another goal extending the margin to about 5 goals at the final break.
The fourth quarter went by with the boys keeping with the pattern of the day. Midfield dominance, backline resilience and forward creativity. The creativity was demonstrated with the Macedonian Marvel kicking 2 brilliant goals and Jack Mac bobbing up for another which made for the final margin of 40 points. The umpires adjudicated Dekkers, who also won his first flag, as the BOG which has capped off an unbelievable year for him. The coaches alternatively determined Hoppo, who played a dominant role on the half back, as the best player on the day.
The game and the events that followed continued to demonstrate the comradery of the group and its tight nature. The large turnout at the AJ and Tate Street (Bob Hawke’s house) was fantastic to be involved in. Following that the Charles played home to the usual vote count with Dekkers and Chaps coming away as tied for the B&F in season 2020.
I now will acknowledge a few people for their services to the Pirates.
Firstly, the entire squad. As was spoken about extensively, this was a special group with so many contributors. Having looked at the guys who missed out by injury or other reason, it is so reflective of the strength of the lower grades. Vanders, Jim Ross, Hoady, Louie, Egg, Stacey, Frenchy, Pooley, Nova, Jayden, JJ, Menzies, Apples and Ado are the names that jump out on reflection. On this point all I will say is thanks for your involvement in the group this year, it made us better to have so many great people involved.
Secondly, to the great Paulie Day, the lifeblood of this Pirates outfit. His involvement week in week out shows his commitment to the cause and its his love for the group that the boys have a great appreciation for. His words in front of the club and talking about how momentous winning premierships are have stuck with me and the rest of the boys over the past 4 years, so Paulie once again thank you for your involvement, it wouldn’t be the Pirates without you.
Penultimately, to the two players who have been involved with the Pirates from the start Chaps and Bails. Boys its been an absolute pleasure to be involved with you guys over the course of the dynasty. Chaps has only got better year in year out which is illustrated by his B&F victory this year. Bailsy meanwhile has grown into an excellent captain, with his commitment to trainings and games not going unnoticed.
Finally to Coach Day – I speak for all the boys here when I suggest having someone like yourself involved has helped create the 3s culture we saw over the weekend. Whilst the players have come and gone it has been your commitment to the job which has helped build this group. So thanks for helping build this squad and deal with an Assistant who at different times can be somewhat vocal.
Overall, it was a special weekend and to beat another team in another GF (TAs 2017, CBC 2018, North Beach 2019, North Fremantle 2020) reflects the calibre of the University teams that have played in the grade. In albeit uncertain circumstances to see this group get better over time and build chemistry made the flag such a satisfactory way to end the year.
In the end this group has written its own bit of history and have lifted the Pirates flag for the fourth time in four years.
Votes – Hoppo (5); Bando (4); Flemmo (3); Dekkers, Chaps, Garsti and Skaz (2); Dykes, Diamo, Chooka, Bails, Screech (1)
Goals – Con (3); Jack Mac (2); Garsti, Joe, Bomb, Screech, Bull
Top 5 Goal kickers for the year: