EMMANUEL College is one step away from Victorian Country Shield redemption.
The Warrnambool school secured its spot in the grand final with victory against Shepparton’s Wanganui Park Secondary College in a semi-final yesterday.
The convincing triumph, 21.10 (136) to 7.4 (46) at Craigieburn, ensured the teenagers would feature in the decider at Kardinia Park on July 16.
They will play either Ballarat Claredon College or an unconfirmed Gippsland school, which will meet in the other semi-final in coming weeks.
Emmanuel lost to Ballarat Claredon in the 2013 grand final and coach Daryl Mahoney said his players were “looking forward to having another crack at them”.
“Last year was the first time for quite a while we’d made it to the final. Two years in a row, we’re hoping to go one better,” he said.
“The best thing about them is they love playing for their school and they love playing together. We’ve done nearly a four-hour trip to get down there and a four-hour trip to get home and there were none who said ‘no, the bus trip is too far for me’.
“They all want to be involved and that’s great for the kids and great for the school.”
Emmanuel set up its big win with a 12-goal-to-two first half. It was unchallenged thereafter.
Jesse White (Koroit) booted five goals and Jake O’Sullivan (South Warrnambool) kicked four, while Jayden Brennan (Koroit) was best afield. Harry Lee (South Warrnambool), Willem Drew (Koroit), Liam Bishop (Warrnambool) and Jye Perry (North Warrnambool Eagles) also led the way.
“They shared the ball and spread the ball really well, were hard in the tackles,” Mahoney said. “And when the opposition tried to spread the ball, we covered them so they couldn’t use the space.
“I wouldn’t say we had a size advantage. Certainly a speed advantage and a skill advantage and our intensity (was there).
“We didn’t play too well in the last game against St Ignatius College. We used that as a spur to say we’ve got to be really switched on and involved in the whole 80 minutes and I think we were.”