Dee-light for White Hills in under-18s grand final
A THIRD-QUARTER blitz set up a stunning victory for White Hills against North Bendigo in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s under-18s grand final on Saturday.
Beaten just once, albeit at White Hills in round three, North Bendigo was on a 14-game winning streak going into the season decider.
The Dogs run included the second semi-final win against White Hills by 28 points at Gunbower.
North Bendigo was first to goal in the grand final through skilful on-baller Riley Paetow in the eighth minute.
The Demons replied when Fraser Banfield marked in the 17th minute.
Norht Bendigo led 9-6 at quarter-time and then did most of the attacking in the second term.
Bulldogs’ co-captain Tyler Green was on the end of a handpass from Cody Riddick toward the goalsquare for the team’s second goal of the contest.
A century goalkicker in the home-and-away series, Riddick was held in a contest and was on target from a tight angle in the pocket at the northern end of the ground as North Bendigo kicked away to lead 22-9.
By the 90th second of the third term, the Bulldogs held a 19-point buffer after Brandyn Barilari took a courageous mark under a high kick into attack.
From there the momentum of the contest swung dramatically.
The Demons had dominated many of the centre breaks and kept doing so.
Consecutive goals by Josh Harris cut the Dogs’ lead to just six points in the eighth minute.
When captain Xavier Meersbergen was on target from a tight angle in the pocket it was White Hills which had taken the lead in the 11th minute.
The Demons’ pressure and run forced the Bulldogs into errors from which the red and black capitalised with goals by Seth Boyd and Xavier Meersbergen to charge to a 45-29 lead at a quarter to play.
After a run of points by both teams, White Hills worked the ball from deep in defence to Zavia Roberts to mark and goal.
Cody Riddick lifted North’s hopes with a long-awaited goal in the 14th minute, but when Zavia Roberts nailed his second major the margin was back to 20 points.
A running goal by Bulldogs’ centreman Zandyr Barilari reduced the margin to 14, but time for a miraculous comeback was fading quickly.
The Bulldogs did goal through Mason Lane after the final siren as White Hills players and fans celebrated a 59-50 victory.
The VCFL Medal for best afield was presented to Josh Harris as Mitch Griffin, Sam Lowes, Zavia Roberts, Darcy Lawler and Dylan Arnold were among the best for the premiers.
North Bendigo’s best were Lucas Keating, Harlan Draper, Cameron Anderson, Harvey Beale, Nathan Anderson and Riley Paetow.
Premiership-winning coach Rob Lowes said the Demons had worked incredibly hard, not just in the grand final, but all season to be rewarded with a grand final victory.
“Being up against North Bendigo is always a fierce contest.
“We were able to stick to our game plan and did really well to support each other and get numbers to the contest.
“This is great reward for all the work the boys have done.”
From the presentation dais, Bulldogs’ co-coach Storm Giri praised White Hills on a fantastic effort to win the grand final.
“Today you wanted the ball more and wanted the game more.
“It’s not the result we wanted, but our boys should hold their heads high and be proud of their season.
“It was a great season – 15-1 in home and away, and then a second semi-final win,” Giri said of a run in which he was joint coach with Tony Keating.
Written by Nathan Dole.