Late blitz gets UGSFL home
The Upper Great Southern Football League stormed home in the final quarter against the Goldfields Football League to claim the 2019 Landmark Country Football Championships title last Sunday.
A five-goal to one last term and an inspirational Jarrad Doney were the differences for the UGSFL at Claremont Oval.
In their first Country Football Championship triumph since 2010, the UGSFL were crowned victors after a 11.8 (74) to 8.5 (53) win.
Neither side could manage a possession without opposition pressure in a high-intensity first term.
GFL’s Joshua Mathers booted the match’s first goal three minutes into the contest.
Nine minutes into the term, Matthew White nailed UGSFL’s first goal on the run from 50m out after intercepting a GFL kick forced by exceptional Brayden Fairhead pressure.
GFL found themselves in front at the first break, 3.1 (19) to 2.2 (14), after Mason Hill kicked UGSFL’s second.
UGSFL controlled the second modified quarter, kicking four goals to none.
In his fairest and best performance, Doney laid plenty of crucial tackles that prevented GFL gaining momentum while winning multiple centre clearances and inside-50s of his own during the second term.
Brayden Fairhead, Simon Panizza and Jayden Schofield (one goal) also ensured the UGSFL forward line had plenty of supply, while on the half-forward line, Dion Anthony and Jack Walsh caused problems for GFL defenders.
Schofield opened the scoring during the second term, before Jake Wilson kicked back-to-back goals, giving UGSFL a 16-point advantage.
GFL pressed late in the term, but could not capitalise on multiple inside-50s, with White, Alek Oliver, Damon Joyce and Nathan Ugle holding firm.
A Leroy Jetta goal after the siren gave UGSFL a 6.6 (36) to 3.1 (19) lead at half-time.
GFL turned the tide in the third term, holding UGSFL to one point and kicking four goals themselves, heading into the last break in front, 7.4 (46) to 6.7 (43).
Running out of steam, the GFL midfield could not keep up with Doney, Panizza, Fairhead and Michael Humble in the final term.
Jetta booted three fourth-quarter goals while Ryan Melvin and Hill kicked one as the UGSFL strung together five goals in a row before GFL could respond with a solitary major just before the siren sounded.
Defenders White and Oliver were named the UGSFL’s best along with Doney and Panizza.
Panizza, Hill, Anthony and Schofield were rewarded for their efforts across the carnival, named in the Landmark Championships All Stars team, while player-coach Paul Duffield was named the All Stars team coach.
Duffield, who before playing for the Fremantle Dockers had always dreamed of representing the league at the championships, said the victory would be one of his most cherished football memories. “It is one of the great heights I have had in footy for quite some time,” he said.
“It holds a very special place in my heart as it is where I started playing my junior footy and very much a part of my story.
“To finish here, today like this, is a very special feeling.”
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