PENSHURST captain Michael Crane entered Saturday’s reserves grand final as a man thirsty for redemption.
As a player in two losing grand finals – including the Bombers’ 37-point loss to Tatyoon in 2012 – Crane was desperate to lift his beloved Penshurst to Mininera and District league glory against Hawkesdale-Macarthur.
“I’ve lost two grand finals already, and I was really worried coming into this game. Hawkesdale-Macarthur are a pretty good team but I’m really proud of the boys,” he told The Standard.
“It’s a stellar effort, and now we’re going to celebrate. It’s a really good feeling.”
The two sides were locked in an arm wrestle for the majority of the first half, before an inspired quarter-time address from co-coach David Glare sparked a four-goal second term.
The Bombers maintained a three-goal buffer for the rest of the match, withstanding late pressure to stop Hawkesdale-Macarthur troubling the scoreboard.
They emerged with a score of 10.4 (64) to 8.3 (51), condemning Hawkesdale-Macarthur to its second consecutive grand final loss.
Glare was rapt with his side’s resilience.
His side bounced back from a 37-point loss to the Eagles in the second semi-final in the premiership victory.
“We were a little bit flat that day. To our credit, we just worked on things, and a little bit of burning desire was felt to get one back. We took that out in the game today,” Glare said.
“We had to move on from that loss, as we had to face up again the next week in the preliminary final. The guys just said ‘this isn’t going to happen again’.
“They’ve worked so hard on the track and it’s paid off today.”
Glare’s co-coach, Todd Hatherall, said the premiership meant “everything” to the club.
“You’ve got guys like Lee Uebergang who is a 500-gamer, and David O’Brien, who is a 250-gamer. If those blokes want to retire now, they’ve got the perfect note to be sent out on,” he said.
“There determination was great. No one gave up all day. We came out slow in the semi, but today, we were on from the start.”
Glenthompson-Dunkeld ended the Bombers’ dreams of dual premierships in the under 16.5 competition, breaking away to win the junior flag by 30 points.
Lifted by a three-goal effort from Josh Mawson, the Rams stunned the reigning premier to win 9.11 (65) to 5.5 (35) on a pristine Glenthompson Recreation Reserve.
Rams mentor Brandon Weatherson said his side began building towards the victory with a victory in the second semi-final.
“Penshurst have had the wood over us for about eight years,” he said. “We beat them in the semi with three guys out. They were back, but our boys were still confident. I’ve said to the boys all week that if we played our best footy, they wouldn’t beat us.”
I’ve lost two grand finals already, and I was really worried coming into this game.... I’m really proud of the boys' effort.