Flag Run Timed With Perfection as Scarborough Claim Premiership Over North Beach
The Peard Seniors overcame the challenges of a COVID interrupted season to time their run perfectly as they came from fourth place to claim their second Sandover Shield in three years with a 9.4 (58) to 4.7 (31) win over North Beach at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday.
They entered the match underdogs, with North Beach the early qualifier after defeating Curtin Uni Wesley in the 2nd Semi Final, but played with the confidence of a side who had qualified much higher on the ladder.
The first quarter saw North Beach get the early entry and opening score but the point was countered immediately as the Peard Seniors threw caution to the wind in a bid to assert their dominance on the game. The run saw club president Curtis Reddell win the ball inside the attacking 50, sell some candy and slot through the opening goal of the match to the delight of the big Scarborough contingent occupying the Can Bar.
One of the big matchups for the day was between Drew Kent and James Garcia. The two were inseparable, barely leaving two meters between each other all day, but when Garcia found himself with a slight bit of space he made the most of it and kicked the answering goal to give North Beach back the lead.
The Peard Seniors biggest point of difference this year, over previous, was the injection of youth and pace into the side. Players such as Adam Vallelonga, Tom Irwin and big man Lewis Putt have made their debuts during the year and played a significant part in the side turning its fortunes around with their enthusiasm and energy.
Vallelonga, who still qualifies as a Colt, had the daunting task of playing on the experienced Adam Cockie but stamped his mark early, finding plenty the ball all over the ground before drifting forward to slot his first goal and retake the lead for Scarborough.
He backed up his first with a second goal from long range two minutes later and the Peard Seniors headed into the first change with an 11 point lead.
North Beach broke out behind the Peard Seniors’ defensive press early in the second, where their Captain Matt Dwyer kicked a goal to draw the lead back to single digits but successive goals to Ryan Sheehan and Chris Baker took the margin back out to three goals, giving the Peard Seniors some breathing room.
The Tigers made a late push towards the end of the quarter, finding Dan Leishman who converted to reduce the margin to two goals at the half time break.
It was a stellar contest in the first half but even though North Beach had fought hard and were within two goals, you felt the momentum was with the Peard Seniors. Their backline had been miserly with Scott Tyres proving to be impenetrable, Tom Willett standing strong and Nick Hay providing plenty of run off half back to generate scoring opportunities.
Their skills in the wet were superb, with the ball handling of Warren Benjamin outstanding and big Blair Ranford taking overhead marks like it was bone dry.
In the middle Lewis Putt and Aidan Parker had their hands full with Kyle Cranley, who was one of North Beach’s best to this point, but their tag team effort allowed the mids to get on top to win the clearances and the contests around the ground.
Captain Liam Robilliard & Zaac Morgan, son or Premiership Player Glen, used their pace and hardness at the contest to their advantage while our forwards were working hard to generate scoring opportunities.
They call the third quarter the Premiership quarter and for the Peard Seniors that was definitely the case.
A heavy downpour at half time saw the ground really muddy up and at the start of the third quarter it was a real slog with stoppage after stoppage but as time wore on, the Peard Seniors started to take control.
Chris Baker, who had been consistently hard at the ball all day, broke through with his second for the game and Joel Ashman started to dominate around the contest to provide the crumb and run he has been so good at while also getting in and under to win his own ball.
The highlight of the quarter came when Aidan Parker took a strong mark against two defenders on the half back flank to kick off The Sandbar Play of the Day. He switched the ball into the centre, putting it out in front of Scott Worthington who, running at full pace, collected the ball on the half volley and kicked it long inside 50 to Mitch McPhee who duly converted the goal.
As time ticked down to the break Joel Ashman was taken high by the much bigger Cranley. He calmly went back and slotted the goal to extend the lead out over five goals and as the sides turned for home, the Peard Seniors held an unassailable advantage.
Once again the backs had held strong, holding North Beach goalless. Peard Seniors’ elder statesman Blair Ranford had a brilliant quarter, taking three telling marks to thwart North Beach’s advances, and the midfield was well on top creating chance after chance.
With the game all but over, the final quarter was generally played in good spirits. North Beach knew they had lost, needing to kick six goals to none in the last quarter after only kicking three goals in the first three quarters, but the Peard Seniors were determined to keep on the attack.
Tom Iriwin took the CNW Electrical Mark of the Day in the final quarter. The young colt came running back with the flight and launched himself into oncoming traffic to take a courageous grab.
Joel Ashman dodged a bullet when Adam Cockie made him the target in a contest late in the game. Fortunately Ashman he saw him coming and evaded the contact but with Cockie’s full momentum behind him, he kept going and took out his own player in Joe Deegan. The clash saw Deegan have to be helped from the ground and Cockie limped away from the contest.
Sam Lamont kicked a consolation goal for North Beach mid-way through the final quarter but the damage was done and the Peard Seniors claimed their second Premiership in three years, and their third from as many attempts against North Beach.
It was a real team effort from everyone and there were winners all across the ground for the Peard Seniors. The backline was led with distinction by Coach Wayde Twomey, Scott Tyres was brilliant and Drew Kent easily took the points in his contest with Garcia.
The ruck combination of Lewis Putt and Aidan Parker worked brilliantly. Putt’s fitness and stamina saw him wear down Cranley and start getting the upper hand over his much more experienced opponent while Parker was a workhorse all day. It was this contest that set the scene for the midfield to assert their dominance on the contest and generate significant opportunities for the forwards.
In the race for the BJ Giles Medal, for best on ground, there were a number of candidates.
Joel Ashman staked his claim for a second medal with his uncanny ability to find the ball, use it effectively while also hitting the scoreboard while Captain Liam Robilliard led the side with aplomb and was relentless all day. Chris Baker was also well in the hunt with his attack on the football, pressure around the contest and two goals.
But it was Adam Vallelonga who, in just his 12th senior game for the club, was awarded the BJ Giles Medal. He played an exceptional game, kicking two goals and was seemingly everywhere. The medal caps off a brilliant debut season for Vallelonga who broke into the senior side at the start of the year.
It was a brilliant way to cap off a strange year. With the COVID interrupted season leaving no room for error, the Peard Seniors focussed on what they could control and went about their business with a belief in their ability and execution.
The feeling around the rooms after the game was one of absolute jubilation and pride. The number of supporters in the changerooms to sing the song with the team shows just how much this meant.
For it is one thing to win a Premiership, it’s another to win one over North Beach.
Peard Seniors: 3.1 5.3 9.3 9.4 (58)
North Beach: 1.2 3.3 3.5 4.7 (31)
Peard Seniors: A Vallelonga 2, C Baker 2, R Sheehan, J Ashman, L Robilliard, C Reddell, M McPhee
North Beach: S Lamont, J Garcia, M Dwyer, D Leishman
BJ Giles Medal: Adam Vallelonga – Scarborough