EMMANUEL College footballers are celebrating the school’s maiden Herald-Sun Country Shield title triumph after shocking perennial winner Ballarat Clarendon College yesterday.
The Daryl Mahoney-coached senior team toppled highly-rated Ballarat Clarendon College — winner of seven of the past eight shields entering the game — in the grand final at Colac’s Central Reserve.
Emmanuel College kicked three unanswered goals in the final term, to run out a 7.8 (50) to 4.12 (36) winner.
The win erased memories of the Warrnambool-based school’s humbling 60-point loss to the same opponent in last year’s decider.
Mahoney said South Warrnambool pair Jake O’Sullivan and Jayden Brooks kicked two late goals to seal the crown.
“There was one point in it at three-quarter-time their way,” Mahoney said.
“We felt we could run over the top of them and that’s what we did.”
Mahoney said Emmanuel College, which boasted 16 senior Hampden and Warrnambool and District league footballers, was proud of its achievement.
He said the players were rapt to avenge their 2013 loss.
“As a group they are really proud to have their name on the cup,” Mahoney said.
“There are a lot of Ballarat Clarendon College names on it and we put it to the boys that it was time to put our name on it and now it’s there.
“It’s the first for Emmanuel College and now I think we’re starting something.”
Mahoney credited Emmanuel College’s defensive hunger for the win.
It had a 10-point lead at half-time but found itself down entering the final term after it went goalless in the third quarter against the wind.
“Our tackling pressure was there all the time,” he said.
“We asked them to hold that deep into a quarter.
“Normally it can drop off at the 15-minute mark, but they maintained it.”
Koroit’s Jayden Brennan kicked two goals in a best-on-ground effort.
The former North Ballarat Rebel was appointed grand final skipper after Emmanuel College opted to share the leadership honour throughout the country shield competition.
“Jayden was sensational,” Mahoney said.
“He was our captain and he really led by example.
“He got a smack in the nose towards the end because they were sick of him.
“They tried to tag him out of it.”
South Warrnambool’s Harry Lee played a solid game at centre half-back, while Warrnambool onballers Liam Bishop and Otto Opperman, South Warrnambool ruckman Lachie Mackay and Koroit wingman Willem Drew — the only year 10 student in the team — were Emmanuel College’s other standout contributors.
O’Sullivan was Emmanuel College’s only other multiple goalkicker and Koroit’s Jesse White and North Warrnambool Eagles’ Josh Corbett also hit the scoreboard.
Mahoney praised Drew for his courage.
“He was very brave, standing in front of packs,” he said.