TERANG Mortlake coach Shane Quick says the Bloods clawed their way from fifth to back-to-back Hampden under 18½ premierships on the back of self belief.
The Bloods withstood countless challenges from Portland to win 12.11 (83) to 11.4 (70) at Reid Oval on Saturday.
The result was in the balance at three-quarter-time after Tiger goal sneak Jay Moody bridged the gap to 12 points.
They pinched the first of the last term too.
But Terang Mortlake had the answers.
Three consecutive goals kept the Tigers at arm’s length.
Ted Parker medallist Sam Crawley, who finished with five goals, steadied for the Bloods.
He juggled a leaping mark and converted, sparking the Bloods’ match-winning burst.
Click here to read more footy stories at our Footy HQ hub
Xavier Lourey, who played a strong game in the ruck, speared a pass into Josh Carlin and Joe Arundell then snapped truly.
Portland kicked three of the last four goals but the Bloods had done enough.
Quick said Crawley and fellow Geelong Falcons-listed teen Alex Moloney, who won the VCFL Medal for best on ground, were vital.
“The best thing is I just knew on the big stage they’d be two who would put their hands up and serve us well,” Quick said.
“I said to him (Sam) at three-quarter-time, ‘you have to go forward and win the game for us’.
“I put the acid on him a little bit and he responded well which he has done numerous times. “It is good to have those sorts of players, that when the chips are down and the pressure’s on can steady the ship.” Quick said Lourey, another Geelong Falcon, and onballers Nathan Monk, Jason Lee, Matthew Hayden and Danny Craven were also important.
The scoreboard ticked over slowly in the first term with the Bloods kicking the only two goals.
Scoring increased as the game opened up.
“It was a tough encounter which we fully expected,” Quick said.
“They’re a very, very physically strong side and they pride themselves on contested footy and running hard.
“With the greasy conditions early it wasn’t pretty footy but there was a lot of pressure.
“We were able to get a one or two-goal buffer but we could never shake them.
“But by half-time the ground had dried out a little bit and we could spread and run a little bit better, which we thought was the style of game we needed to beat Portland.”
Quick said he was thrilled with the Bloods’ mental toughness to come from an elimination final to win a gruelling grand final.
He returned to the under 18½ coaching role this year.
“I am just rapt to finally win one. I coached three losing ones in ’04, ’05 and ’06,” Quick said.
“I felt a little bit of pressure. There was a bit of expectation as far as we’d won it last year and we’d gone from under 18 to 18½ so we had most of the same side roll along, so I thought I can’t afford to muck this up.”