A GRADE – KALANGADOO 16.8 (104) d GLENCOE 10.10 (70)
KALANGADOO has snatched its 15th A Grade premiership in the Mid South East Football League with a fiercely contested 34-point win over arch rivals Glencoe at “Mick” and Jean Walker Oval at Mount Burr on Saturday.
The hard-fought victory ended a premiership drought lasting five years and celebrations have barely ceased over the past three nights.
It was the 13th consecutive win over the Murphies and it began in round 13 on July 13 in 2013.
A near-record crowd which paid $32,360 at the gate saw an exhibition of country football at its best.
The Magpies had played the better brand of football throughout the match and none better than wingman Ethan Maney.
He played the game of his life.
He was rightly awarded the best-on-ground trophy and the coveted Stan Jones Memorial Medal.
He played with a level of skill, speed, strength and passion which was an inspiration to his team.
Field umpires Neil Webber, Travis Lockwood and Matt Fox made the correct decision along with many others.
Maney was not the only one to come away with silverware as coach Chrissy Mules won the prestigious Phil Muhovics Memorial Medal as premiership coach at his third attempt.
He had coached losing grand final sides in 2009 and 2016.
Both of these defeats had been to Mount Burr at Hatherleigh.
Although the Magpies had won both of their 2019 meetings by eight points, there was plenty of support for the Murphies.
Coming into the match, Glencoe opted to stay with the same starting 18 which had taken it to victory over minor premiers Hatherleigh in the second semi-final at Port MacDonnell.
Kalangadoo was able to recall ace forward Michael Krieger after he missed the preliminary final win over the Eagles at Mount Burr due to work commitments.
Kalangadoo co-captains Mitch Lowe and Brad Auld won the vital toss and their team kicked to the changerooms end of the Mount Burr Oval.
It was favoured by a two-goal breeze and had been the end of choice for forwards in the three curtain-raisers.
The three early games had done little damage to the well-grassed oval and it was a credit to the efforts of Peter (“Hendo”) Henderson who has been its volunteer groundsman since 1975.
The showers stayed away during the A Grade match and the sun was seen.
As the 36 players took their places, all eyes were focused on who would mind ace Glencoe recruit Brodie Foster.
With 117 goals from his 17 games at his new club, Foster had done more than anyone to get the Murphies to play in their first major round since 2015.
Ex-skipper Jason Bannister was given the job on Foster and kept him to a solitary goal.
The first term was ‘even stevens’ with three goals apiece.
Kalangadoo had the first goal on the board, but three quick replies from Glencoe showed the team meant business.
The Magpies reined in the Murphies by quarter time and took a three-point lead into the first break.
Many in the crowd had thought some physical fireworks might have erupted in the opening term, but this did not eventuate.
There were some hard bumps delivered and strong tackles applied, but none which exceeded the bounds of fair play.
There were some danger signs for the Murphies in the second term, although the Magpies advanced their lead by only a handful of points.
Glencoe struggled to deliver the ball into attack due to the up-field pressure.
However, at the other end of the oval, veteran Ben Mules was getting his hands on the ball for Kalangadoo.
At 37, he was the oldest man on the oval and had captained his home club to the 2001 premiership at the same venue while still in his teens.
Mules finished the game with seven goals, which was the greatest tally of the four games on grand final day.
For the third consecutive term Kalangadoo outscored Glencoe after the long break.
The Magpies did not overwhelm their opponents, but did enough to go the last change with a lead of 24 points.
The tide had swung towards the black-and-whites as the maroon-and-golds were unable to score consecutive goals.
In his final address as playing coach after three years at the helm, Glencoe coach Zacc Cocks implored his players to take risks in the final term in a bid to end a 12-year premiership drought.
Players like assistant coach Tom Edwards, Jesse Foster and Cocks himself had kept Glencoe in touch,
However, it was not to be as the momentum had swung Kalangadoo’s way.
Ben Mules continued to apply scoreboard pressure and at some stage the difference had blown out to 48 points.
Glencoe booted the last two goals of the contest, but Kalangadoo’s superior teamwork carried the day.
Speaking on the victory podium at game’s end, Chris Mules praised the opposition, the Mount Burr sporting community and the MSEFL for staging the grand final spectacle.
However, Mules said he could not find the words to describe his pride in his own