Koroit chasing maiden Hampden under 18.5 premiership

SAINTLY GLOW: Koroit teenagers Heath Brennan and Joey Brady are hoping to lead it to its first Hampden under 18.5 flag on Saturday. Picture: Rob Gunstone
SAINTLY GLOW: Koroit teenagers Heath Brennan and Joey Brady are hoping to lead it to its first Hampden under 18.5 flag on Saturday. Picture: Rob Gunstone

A HAMPDEN premiership drought will be broken in the under 18.5 competition on Saturday.

Koroit and North Warrnambool Eagles are both hoping to deliver a maiden flag for their respective clubs.

The Saints’ most recent flag attempt was in 1979 – one of three grand finals they played that decade without success.

The Eagles broke through for their first grand final appearance last season, some 20 years after the club joined the competition.

Koroit midfielders Joey Brady and Heath Brennan are aware of the significance of the Saints’ achievement to date and are keen to go one more step.

Brady, 18, and Brennan, 19, are among the more experienced players in the Saints’ line-up.

The midfielders are working at IGA during their gap years – Brady in Koroit and Brennan in Warrnambool.

“A lot of us didn’t really know each other at the start of the year but we’ve come together and we’re a good bunch of mates now,” Brady said.

“Tom Baker and Ryan Bunney are both from South Rovers and they won the (Warrnambool and District league) 17s flag last year, so they’ve been really handy pick ups because they’re top age.

“Our skills are pretty good and we try and work it through the middle of the ground and forward handball is something (coach Ben van de Camp) Vander always talks about as well.”

Brady, who plays alongside younger brother Seamus, said TAC Cup-listed duo Josh Chatfield and Lukas Essenwagner also gave the Saints an edge. Brennan, whose older brother Jayden will play in a grand final for Melbourne-based club Northcote Park on Saturday, said the Saints’ defence was also a strength.

They kept Cobden scoreless in the preliminary final until three-quarter-time.

“It was an unreal effort by all the lads. I doubt Cobden’s ever been kept scoreless for that long, especially in finals,” he said.

Koroit and North Warrnambool Eagles have split their two matches this season.

“It’s the decider,” Brennan said.