Whitefriars have completed their perfect season finishing undefeated and Premiers after winning the Division 2 Grand Final over a fighting Brunswick Nobs by 25 points.
Despite, leading at the main break, the Nobbers, who had fought hard all day, were overwhelmed and overrun by a slick and composed Whitefriars outfit after half time.
Best on Ground and winner of the A. R . Fellows Medal for Best on Ground was Friars defender Toby McGurgan who spent the game collecting intercept marks at will across half back.
The Friars should be congratulated on the rare feat of Premiers and undefeated Champions and with their Reserves team also triumphant in the early Grand Final, Whitefriars showed that they were clearly the best club in 2019.
After an outstanding season of thrilling attacking and undefeated football from Whitefriars, and a pretty good season from fellow Grand Finalists Brunswick Nobs, it all came down to the last 2 hours of hotly contested football at Box Hill Oval to decide whether the Nobs or the Friars would bring home the silverware for 2019.
The game started in contrast to the recent Semi Final with a confident looking Brunswick side coming out hard and fast to make a statement and put some early pressure on the red-hot favourite Whitefriars side.
In front of a big crowd, the Friars Ciaran Hickey booted the first goal of the Grand Final after only 2 minutes to set the Friars on the right track. However, a brace of goals from Nick Burgin and James Schmidt from the Nobs had them taking an early lead. Whitefriars peppered the goals but missed a few chances to take the lead back. Whitefriars started to settle and kicked 2 quick goals including a late major from Mark Stafford, to take a 24-12 lead at the first break. The Friars had 9 scoring shots to 2 and after a slow start, settled the better of the teams.
Whitefriars 3.6. 24 v Brunswick 2.0.12
The Friars continued where they left off early in the second quarter with Mark Stafford kicking his second goal to give his side some breathing space. The Nobbers tightened the game up after this and lifted their intensity and began to dominate the contested football, attempting to slow down the Friars fast ball movement. They kicked 2 goals through Josh Perez and Chris Gavaghan and when Jacob Adkins earned a free kick directly in front and calmly slotted it through, the Nobs took the lead from a shell-shocked Whitefriars. The high scoring Friars only had one scoring shot in the term while the Nobbers had 6 scores and after a 3 goal to 1 quarter had the Nobbers leading the red-hot favourites by 4 points at the main break
Whitefriars 4.6. 30 v Brunswick 5.4.34
The third quarter started exactly like each of the previous quarters with Whitefriars getting an early goal, this time through Dan Wood after 4 minutes. Just minutes later, Mark Stafford who was proving a handful for the Nobs defence, booted his 3rdgoal to put the Friars 9 points up. Enter Friars superstar forward Michael Nitas whose excellent crumbing work after a crucial Nobbers mistake finished truly for his first goal of the afternoon to extend their lead to 15 points. Friars gun forward target James Connellan took a strong pack mark and kicked straight to put the Friars 22 points up to end the quarter. In a reversal of the second quarter, Brunswick only had one scoring shot (1 point) while Whitefriars kicked 4 goals 3 to put one hand on the Premiership cup
Whitefriars 8.9. 57 v Brunswick 5.5.35
Well, it all came down to the last 25 minutes of the season to determine who would claim the mantle as the Premiership Team of 2019. A couple of early missed chances proved costly for Brunswick while the Friars lifted their pace and began to trouble Brunswick with their slick ball use. At the 12-minute mark, Whitefriars star Angus Hands booted his first goal for the game, a long bomb from 45 metres, to heap more pressure on the fading Brunswick side and take his team to a 28-point lead. Brunswick’s Jacob Adkins marked strongly and booted his second goal at the 18-minute mark to bring his side back to within 23 points. But Ciaran Hickey, who kicked the first goal of the game, kicked a spectacular running snap to reply. A late Brunswick centre clearance landed with James Schmidt who goaled to give the Nobbers some scoreboard respectability. However, the siren sounded soon after and Whitefriars were rightly crowned Premiers and undefeated Champions for Division 2 in 2019 winning by 25 points after a dominant second half performance, outscoring the gutsy Brunswick side 6 goals to 2 after half time.
FINAL SCORE – Whitefriars 10.14.74 v Brunswick 7.7.49
A.R FELLOWS MEDALLIST: Toby McGurgan (Whitefriars)
In the early game, Whitefriars Reserves defeated a hot favourite MHSOB team by 7 points in a low scoring thriller. Jason Spencer’s 2 crucial goals for the Friars proved the difference on the day in a close tussle while Jack Richardson was best on ground ably supported by Ben Kelsey and Nick Hee. For the disappointed Unicorns, Dan Gumley and Will Hellier were best with Charles Pearson kicking 2. The Friars came from 3rdplace to win their flag and make it back to back Reserves titles.
Whitefriars 5.10. 40 v MHSOB 4. 9. 33