Robe claims MSEFL premiership with long bomb on siren

SAVOURING THE SILVERWARE: Robe coach Jack Kelly holds the premiership cup while skipper Jonny Agnew clasps the Wilf Sprengel Shield on the podium at the conclusion of the Mid South East Football League grand final at Glencoe on Saturday. Picture: J.L. “FRED” SMITH

ROBE has snatched its fourth A Grade premiership with a thrilling Craig Pitt long bomb goal right on the final siren to deny Mount Burr a record fourth consecutive Mid South East Football League premiership.

Euphoric scenes swept the Glencoe Oval on Saturday as the Roosters had trailed the Mozzies from the 45 second mark of the first term in the grand final until Pitt’s 40-metre dob cleared the desperate pack and rolled across the goal line.

Field umpire Heath Case gave the “all clear” to goal umpire Dean Hampel and then signalled full time, with the Mozzies now three points in arrears.

A 20th Mount Burr premiership had appeared a certainty with 12 seconds left on the clock.

At this time, Jake Pitt grabbed the ball out of a pack on the half-back line and send a towering wind-assisted 60-metre screw punt in the general direction of his brother, who then executed a fairytale finish to the 2018 season.

After three grand final losses, his kick ended almost 30 years of torment of the Roosters by the Mozzies in grand finals.

It began at the same ground in 1989 and continued at Tantanoola the following year, then again at Tigerland in 2011.

The seasiders have been in the headlines throughout 2018 and Pitt was no exception, with a joyous journey from boiled lollies to chocolates.

Back in June, he had been suspended for striking Kalangadoo’s Leroy Larson and also received a broken jaw in that game.

Saturday’s grand final mirrored events which occurred in the second semi-final between the two sides at Kalangadoo.

Back on September 1, Mount Burr began well, led by 31 points just after half-time and Robe only got ahead after a goal on the final siren from Tom Rechner.

Fast-forward to September 15, Mount Burr began well, led by 24 points at half-time and Robe only got ahead after a goal on the final siren by Craig Pitt.

Ahead of the grand final, various pundits, including this scribe, believed Tom Renzi would get to hold aloft the Wilf Sprengel premiership shield and to proudly wear the Phil Muhovics Memorial Medal for the third consecutive year.

It was also meant to be a record-breaking day for Dale Bowering, as the veteran Mozzie was scripted to collect his 10th premiership medal and pass the record tally of Glencoe’s late veteran Jerry Phelan.

After the coin was tossed by Glencoe sporting identity Max Childs, Mount Burr skipper Brodie Hennink had the choice of ends and his team booted to the eastern end which was favoured by a four-goal breeze.

Within 45 seconds, the Mozzies had drawn first blood, with Jack Gregory posting the first of his equal game-high tally of three.

The experience of the reigning premiers came to the fore, as many of the team were playing in their eighth grand final in the space of 11 years.

Mount Burr opened up a lead of 19 points by the 10-minute mark and then Robe slowed down the tempo of the game.

The Roosters finally got on the scoreboard at the 15-minute mark through a Craig Pitt goal following pin-point passes from Jaryd Dawson and skipper Jonny Agnew.

The next two six-pointers came from Gregory and Henry Crauford, before Dawson stemmed the flow with a major from a 40-metre kick into the breeze.

Mozzie flanker Tom Hales received a high tackle near the goals and his dead-straight kick gave his team a 26-point lead at the first break.

Some in the crowd thought Mount Burr could have established a match-winning lead by this time, given the breeze and share of the play.

When it was Robe’s turn to have the breeze, the weather turned sour.

After Robe coach Jack Kelly booted a goal at the five-minute mark, the only other major in this term came from Mount Burr’s Dylan Ridley at the 29-minute mark.

In between, hail fell for much of the term.

Conditions improved in the second half, with the oval bathed in sunshine until dusk.

After one goal apiece in the second term, Mount Burr scored just two goals with the lessening wind and Robe kicked three into it.

Seaside skipper Jonny Agnew was behind the Rooster fight-back, while the Pitt brothers repeatedly showed their class.

At the final change, Kelly called on his team to make sacrificial acts in a bid to breach the 19-point deficit.

The breakthrough did not come until the 10-minute mark when Jake Wehl snapped truly while team mate Lewis Crawford did likewise a short time later.

Robe’s defence was ably led by Jack Sneath and it stood stall as Mount Burr did not score in the final term.

There was a 15-minute period when the Mount Burr lead stood at three points and then the Pitt brothers weaved their match-winning magic.

Among those to celebrate the win was Robe Primary School principal and ex-Rooster coach and president Chris McLay who said half the victorious team came from his school.

After the game, Kelly extended his commiserations to the Mount Burr United Football Club and commended its players on a great game.

Kelly also thanked the volunteers and umpires and all who worked for the success of the day.

“It has not really sunk in,” Kelly said.

“Well done to the boys from Robe.

“It was never-say-die”.

Robe Football Club president John Fenton said it was a “terrific” win and he was happy for the players and Robe.

“It was a great result for the town as we had been facing extinction.

“As president, I am very lucky to be a part of it.”

The best-on-ground trophy and Stan Jones Memorial Medal went to Mount Burr teenager Cory Gamble and he played with a level of skill and composure beyond his years.

Field umpires Heath Case, Travis Lockwood and Ben Young were correct with this decision along with many others.

In my view, Crauford was unlucky not to win the Stan Jones Medal for the second consecutive season.