Warrnambool steps up - top age players farewell U16 ranks with a premiership

WARRNAMBOOL coach Mark Ludeman says the Blues' Hampden league under 16 premiership bodes well for the club's future.

The Blues defeated Cobden 9.7 (61) to 6.6 (42) at Koroit's Victoria Park yesterday to claim a well-earned flag in front of a strong crowd.

The young side booted three goals to two against the wind in the first term before kicking clear in the second.

Ludeman said the triumph meant the club would have a talented pool of emerging footballers for its senior list in years to come.

"It helps with the future," he said post-match.

"We have some good talent here, and I've got one bloke playing seniors and two in the under 18s.

"Unfortunately in this day and age you have to have the juniors coming through because it's hard to attract Melbourne recruits anymore."

Warrnambool led at every change but had to dig deep in the last term when Cobden surged to within 13 points on the back of a brilliant Paul Pekin goal.

Tall Blue Liam Killey kicked the sealer, courtesy of a free kick further up the field, to extend the margin to 19 points.

Liam was a stand-out up forward with three goals, while teammate Luke McLeod kicked two.

Warrnambool also had the best players on the ground, with Tom Schnerring winning the Ray Russell Medal and Ben Threlfall taking home the VCFL Medal.

Ludeman said Cobden had a "bigger and stronger" side than Warrnambool, and so the Blues couldn't play into their hands with a closed-in match.

"We opened the game up. They were bigger and stronger than us," he said.

"If we went head-to-head they would've got us."

More than half of the Warrnambool side is top-age and will rise into the under 18s next season.

Cobden coach Anthony Reed said the Bombers had done well to make the grand final after starting pre-season with just 13 players.

He said he did not believe the grand final was either side's best game for the year.

"Our side definitely wasn't as good as we've been," he said.

"To hang in there just showed the standard of the game."

Full-back Isiah Robertson was the Bombers' best while Pekin and Dominic Dare kicked two goals each.

They had good support from onballer Billy McGlade and wingmen Nick Kemp and Adam Doak.

"I said to them the football wouldn't be great so the side that was the most determined would win the match," Reed said.

"And the side that was the most determined won the match."

Reed said he hoped the teenagers would stick together but acknowledged the lure of work and university could eventually take them away from Cobden.


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