LVFNL Football Grand Final Review | Marong caps unbeaten run to premiership in 50th year


MARONG is celebrating a feat rarely achieved in country football.

The Panthers are now back-to-back premiers in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL’s senior and reserves competitions, and what is now the CVFL under-18s.

Victories in last Saturday’s seniors and reserves grand finals against Pyramid Hill at Inglewood’s Dissy Machinery Oval capped unbeaten runs by the Panthers to the ultimate prize.

A senior team coached by Linton Jacobs was chasing a feat not achieved in Marong FNC’s 50-year history.

The Panthers were up against a formidable opponent in Pyramid Hill which was striving for its premiership victory since 1950.

Although Marong had belted Pyramid Hill to the tune of seven and 20 goals in the home-and-away series, the Bulldogs were within four goals at the end of their second semi-final.

On grand final day Marong did all the early attacking against the Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Pyramid Hill.

Despite plenty of chances the Panthers were astray near goal as they went to the first break leading 1.7 (13) to 1.3 (9).

In the second there was greater reward for effort as Marong scored 3.2 to 1.1.

The Panthers kept control throughout the third quarter as they added 3.5 to 2.3.

Although they faced a 25-point deficit at the last change, Pyramid Hill’s players and fans refused to concede defeat.

Consecutive goals put the red, white and blue within 12 points about the 15-minute mark.

The Bulldogs kept attacking, but could not take the crucial mark from 30m or closer to goal.

A couple of shots from near or beyond the 50m arc went through the points as Marong’s defence kept the pressure on.

A third goal of the match and what would be his 110th season by gun forward Brandyn Grenfell gave Marong an 18-point buffer in the 20th minute.

Windy conditions and grand final pressure played a big part in that match as Marong ended with a score of 8.16 (64) to Pyramid Hill’s tally of 6.12 (48).

The Panthers’ attack was led by Brandyn Grenfell on three as Nathan Devanny, Lachlan Frankel, Ben Gregg, Kain Robins and Ryley Taylor added one each.

Goalkickers for the Bulldogs were Zach Alford, Thomas Brennan, Brodie Carroll, Harding medallist Dylan Collis, captain Steven Gunther and Bryden Morrison.

Best for Marong were Richard Tibbett, Ben Gregg, Matt Willox, Nathan Devanny, Kain Robins and Lachlan Lee.

Pyramid Hill’s best were Gavin James, Tom McGregor, Dylan Collis, Bryden Morison, Zac Dingwall and Brodie Carroll.

The Marong FNC’s senior footy premiership team of 2023:

Corey Gregg (captain), Michael Bradbury, Jonty Davis, Nathan Devanny, Jacob Ede, Trent Fisher, Lachlan Frankel, Jimmy Gadsden, Will Gadsden, Ben Gregg, Brandyn Grenfell, Brodie Hartland, David Johnstone, Lachlan Lee, Kyle Manley, Jack McCaig, Matt Riordan, Kain Robins, Ryley Taylor, Richard Tibbett, Nathan Walsh and Matthew Willox. Coach: Linton Jacobs.

Another memorable day for Marong included a three-goal victory in the reserves grand final.

The Panthers were under pressure throughout the first half.

Although it had one less scoring shot across the opening two quarters, Marong led 3.4 (22) to 2.6 (18) at half-time.

In the third quarter it was Marong which was able to take control at centre breaks, stoppages and run the ball into the forward 50m arc.

The Panthers scored 4.4 to a goal in what many coaches, players and fans often refer to as the premiership quarter in the match which matters the most.

Pyramid Hill fought on to win the final term, 21-13, but it was Marong which marked a 63-45 victory and another premiership.

Patrick Gretgrix kicked a match-high three goals in a best on ground performance for Marong.

Other goalkickers for the Panthers were Grant Dowler, Matt Grant, Brad Matthews, Sam Taylor, Tucker Thach and Zack Turnbull.

Goalkickers for Pyramid Hill were Harrison Goodes, Dylan Goulding, Will Perryman, Rowan Pollock, Nick Skinner and Thomas Walker.

Marong’s best were Patrick Gretgrix, Carl Thiesz, Aaron Collins, Harry Baker, Matt Grant and Sam Taylor.

Darcy Hetherington, Brad Moon, Matt Moon, Ashton Dye, Thomas Walker and Harrison Goodes played well for Pyramid Hill.

The Marong FNC’s reserves footy premiership team of 2023:

Harry Baker, Aaron Collins, Grant Dowler, Matt Grant, Tom Grant, Jai Gretgrix, Patrick Gretgrix, Reece Gretgrix, Jarrod Harris, Rhian Hender, Ben Langridge, Chris Ling, Brad Matthews, Noah McCaig, Corbin Stacey, Billy Stewart, Sam Taylor, Tucker Thach, Carl Thiesz, Zack Turnbull, Zac Webb and Thorne Wilson.