It was a special day where childhood dreams came true as Ballarat took on Goulburn in Game 4 of the AFL Victoria Community Championships on Saturday May 19 at the MCG.
It was a seesawing affair as both sides showed dominant periods, with Ballarat taking charge of the first half and Goulburn making a comeback in the final quarter, to come out 22 point winners.
Speight (Ballarat) and Grenfell (Goulburn) kick started what would be a high scoring affair on the greatest sporting ground in the world.
Both teams were hot off the mark and settled in to the extra space of the MCG, using the wings to their advantage, kicking 6 goals (Ballarat) and 5 goals (Goulburn) respectively.
Ballarat’s Speight opened the second quarter with his third goal and put his side in front.
Ballarat’s clean ball use and high pressure that forced Goulburn to turn the ball over was a second quarter highlight, until Goulburn made a red-time comeback.
Clifton kicks Goulburn’s 9thto put them in front, followed shortly by Stroobants set shot goal.
This late surge in the dying minutes of the second term saw Goulburn kick three majors to put them eight points up at the major break.
Speight repeated last quarter’s actions by opening the third term with his fifth to put Ballarat back into the lead by 4 points. He then went on, kicking his 6that the seventh minute mark.
Goulburn’s Hayes kicks one back, but Speight goes for his seventh minutes later and the battle tightens.
Martyn replies with a goal for Goulburn, but Ballarat take charge to end the third on their terms.
The Ballarat boys in blue go into the final term up by only nine points.
Goulburn start the fourth quarter strongly, with Stroobants kicks one, followed by Grenfell who boots another, urging the Goulburn Valley boys to begin their push for the points.
Ballarat’s Graham slots through a well drilled set shot to close Goulburn’s lead to only a point with five minutes to go.
Goulburn were quick to answer with Grenfell slotting his sixth, only a minute after to extend his side’s lead to eight points.
Goulburn’s Smith scrums and kicks another, followed by another snapshot two minutes later, to push their lead to 20 points.
BOG for Ballarat Speight kicks a bag of eight for Ballarat but it’s too little too late, as they go down by 22 points.
Ballarat had more of the ball for majority of the game, but Goulburn Valley were dominant in front of goal, taking advantage of goal opportunities and finished off each quarter strongly and keeping their noses in it all day.
Goulburn were sloppy and wasted first half opportunities, however, made up for their mistakes by hurting Ballarat around the middle and stopping their onslaught of goals in the final term.
Ballarat’s Speight, who was named BOG for his side, was simply grateful for his opportunity to play on the big stage.
“Thanks to AFL Victoria for putting together this initiative,” said Ballarat’s Speight.
“Bit lucky myself today, the ball just went my way, unlucky for the team overall,” said Speight who kicked eight of his sides 16 goals.
Goulburn Valley’s Grenfell was named best for his side and was in awe when he walked onto the hollowed turf of the MCG.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, it was just great,” he said.
Both sides will now be split in their competitions, with Goulburn advancing and setting up for a new contest later in July.
Make sure to follow along for the rest of the AFL Victoria Country Representative Championships with the hashtag #AFLVChamps
Goulburn Valley 20.8-128 defeated Ballarat 16.10-106
BOG Goulburn Valley (Medallist): Grenfell with 6 goals
BOG Ballarat (Medallist): Speight with 8 goals