Chasing The Bush Premiership: Gotcha!

Words and photos provided by Jared Newton

Imperials sent four teams down to Meningie on Grand Final day and three came back victorious.

Imps Flag

The whole build up to the grand final went pretty much as expected.  I was fairly nervous at training as it was sinking in as to what I was about to do.  Thursday night was a perfect night down at the bridge as we were put through our paces for the last time.  It was packed.  Imperial supporters young and old packed out the BBQ shed to watch us train and give us encouragement as we ran our laps past them.  Training for the week went without a hitch for me and I felt great going into Saturday.

At selection you could cut the tension in the air with a knife.  The Reserves had 30 fit players to pick from, the seniors had a full compliment too but there was a chance there could be some tinkering done.  When it was all said and done the seniors dropped one bloke for a guy in the ressies and our coach, Belly had to go around and tell 9 individuals (some who already worked it out and some who hadn’t) that they weren’t to play in a grand final.  I felt really awful for the blokes who missed out and the disappointment on their faces said it all when the teams were read out.  I was named first ruck in the reserves.

On the day I was calm.  When I arrived at the ground I wandered around, inspected the field, briefly watched the under 17s and started getting ready.  The build up to the game was no different to any other, which I thought at the time to be a good sign.  We ran out onto the field and through the banner and I took the time to soak in the crowd.  The club had brought 2 trucks to the grand final that were fitted out with deckchairs and resembled a makeshift grandstand.  Ramblers had done the same for the senior grand final with a truck on the wing, the crowd was huge.

For the reserves we were up against Mypolonga Tigers, who had come from 5th to make the Grand Final.  Meningie, who finished top went out in straight sets to miss an opportunity to play a home Grand Final.  Mypo had been in red hot form and beaten teams in similar fashion to us.

During the season we encountered Mypolonga 3 times for 3 wins.  The two games I played against them in the reserves I was judged best on ground in both of them so the signs were there.

The game started in hot fashion, we kicked the first goal but Mypo steadied to be up at quarter time.  In the second we steadied to have a four goal to zip quarter to take the lead and from there we never squandered it.

Mypo kept us honest but didn’t take their chances when they came whereas we did.  The game will never be remembered for the spectacle, it was in fact a very ugly game of football, lots of stoppages and rushed possessions.  There was a strong wind blowing right across the ground, on top of that the weather was 28 degrees so it wasn’t an easy day to play footy.

We settled a little better in the 2nd quarter and kicked 4 goals to nil to take a three goal lead.  Despite the spectacle every grand final is usually remembered for a particular event, ours was a clutch goal on the siren.  An errant kick out ended up in the hands of our young wingman Lippy who took the grab on/just after the siren.  He went back in the left pocket with the wind behind him which was a tough kick for a left footer and slotted it straight through.

Captain Imperial

The second half was as ugly as the first and despite one of our blokes getting sent off, we never really looked threatened but were kept honest.  The game was a ball up and throw in fest which slowed the game down and we stayed calm to hang on and win by 29 points

Imperial        1.2     5.6     6.8     8.12 (60)

Mypolonga       2.3     2.5     3.6     4.7 (31)

I had very little impact on the match.  Because of the heat I was on and off and the rotations were used quite well by our coach.  Some of my ruckwork was good around the ground and we got first use quite a bit but that aside I didn’t do a hell of a lot.  Not that I was too concerned when the final siren sounded.   My opposite number was one of their best players but we did play off one another, the tussle in the ruck was good but I probably did lower my colours to him.

I was hoping to finish the game on the field to experience the siren but halfway through the final quarter I was stretchered off with a knee injury.  I jumped for a ruck contest was pushed landed on my left knee which I locked up and hyper-extended.  The pain initially was excruciating but subsided by which time the stretcher was already on the ground.  I was clapped off respectfully by the Imps fans.

At the end of the day our wiser heads prevailed against a young team and we took our chances whereas they didn’t.  That’s what won it.  We didn’t necessarily dominate, the game was ugly and many players felt they played poorly on the day including myself, but the best team for 2011 won the flag.  Imperials Reserves are now the owners of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 premiership flags.

Despite the dodgy knee nothing was stopping me from getting up on the podium to get my medal, not was anything stopping me from doing the lap of honour and getting on the piss, which I did for the next 3 days.

To cap it off the seniors won their 20th flag in style by beating cross town rival Ramblers by 48 points.  It was the first time these fierce rivals met in a Grand Final in 24 years.  The two teams share a mutual dislike and respect and again the better side won out on the day.  As someone who played six matches for the senior team I am in their official premiership photo which will be mounted on the wall, another bonus for the year.

The boys never looked like losing and the BOG went to Tyson Wait who also won the League B&F and was BOG for Country SA against Country WA, so for him, a great season for a great player.

Imperial        5.3     10.7    14.13   16.15 (111)

Rambler 3.3     5.4     5.6     9.9 (63)

1sts win

Our Under 17s lost after being undefeated all year, 8.8 (56) to 11.7 (73) and the Under 15s won 7.9 (51) to 4.7 (31)

Celebrations for the club started in the rooms on Saturday night before going to the reserves coaches house afterwards, back to the club on Sunday off to dodgy Dundees Hotel Sunday night and all day Monday before I finally threw in the towel at midnight on the Monday with my medal still around my neck.  I even slept with it on in between, it’s now hanging on my wall with the premiership flag which I have to return to the club on Friday night so they can hang it on the wall.

Some memorable parts of the celebrations included;

  •  Singing the team song for the first time when we won the flag
  •  Receiving my premiership medal, RRP $10, value to me- Priceless.
  •  Singing the team song collectively with the whole club when the seniors won the flag
  •  Watching the replay on DVD on the Sunday and trying to work out how the hell we won
  •  The joy my teammates derived from my ‘Gary Lyon’ impersonation on the stretcher and replaying the injury 20-30 times on the big screen for a laugh
  •  Doing the Eagle Rock on the dancefloor on the Saturday night where everyone had their pants down- don’t ask me why
  •  Getting congrats and back slaps from people I have never met before and will probably never meet again
  •  Losing the flag on Saturday night in the coaches backyard then finding again on Monday
  •  Watching Captain Imperial strut his stuff on the sidelines during the A-grade game when we knew we won
  •  Getting the Murray Valley Standard ‘Imperial 2011 Premiers’ Prints halfway through the last quarter and holding them up and chanting to random Rambler Footballers to ‘Read the News’
  •  Taking pot shots at the senior coach on Mad Monday- it’s the only time you would ever get away with not showing him respect
  •  Just all round enjoying the company of a great bunch of people involved in the Imperial Football Club whether it be on or off the ground and celebrating the collective success of a season of hard work that began last January.

Saturday night - actual focus used

On reflection my season was very good.  I played 6 games in the seniors without setting the world on fire but was very good for our ressies, I came top 10 in the League B&F, contributed every game and played 2 solid finals leading up to the grand final.

My knee isn’t as bad as first thought.  I went to Sportsmed in Adelaide and the Doc was 80% sure I haven’t done my ACL as structurally it felt OK but to be sure I have to go back next week for a few more tests.  The knee was too sore to fiddle with, it’s not in a good way my calf and hammy are buggered and I know I’ve done the medial and probably stretched some of the tendons around it.  Hopefully I’ve dodged a bullet on the ACL but I don’t think I did it because the knee hasn’t buckled or felt like it’s going to.  I’d be interested to hear from any Almanackers  that have done a knee as to what it felt like.

So it’s all over now.  The grand final has been played and won, the celebrations have died down and it’s all in the past.  I’ve done something that not every footballer gets to experience.    If I dodge the dreaded reco I’ll saddle up for 2012 because I’m greedy.  One flag isn’t enough.



  1. Watching the DVD afterwards definitely provides some special moments, especially if someone gets injured. Our twos won it last year and the captain was knocked out/carried off in the first 5 minutes. The incident provided hours of entertainment. The key is to put it on when the crowd is already quite refreshed.

    Another memory from my sole senior flag was burying the opposition club’s jumper within our home ground. Great stuff

  2. Jared, congrats on the win.

    Hope the knee turns out ok(ish).

    PS: Is Captain Imperial’s outfit recycled from an Olympic mascot?

  3. Great stuff Jared. Thanks for the stories throughout the year.

  4. Jared Newton says

    Andrew, yes me toppling over gave great enjoyment for everyone in the room. It was roughly 2pm on Silly Sunday so people were more than refreshed.

    The Captain Imperial is actually a modified Captain America outfit shipped in from the USA. A great touch for the day, get on Facebook and like his page, there’s more photos on it.

    Cheers John, I enjoyed contributing.

  5. Pamela Sherpa says

    Fantastic to hear that you finally got there Jared. Good on you for writing about your season along the way, not knowing whether it was going to be a heartbreaker or not.

  6. Champion!

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