Colac & District Football Netball League Grand Final – South Colac v Irrewarra-Beeac: The Drought Is Over




South Colac line up before the senior grand final. Photo: CDFNL Live



Grand Final day of the Colac & District Football Netball League at the Central Reserve (officially now the Australian Lamb Company Stadium). After a fantastic season, the South Colac Sports Club have senior and reserves football, plus four netball teams in their respective deciders. There’s been no CDFNL finals since 2019. This day feels heightened as a result.



South Colac reserves before their grand final.
Photo: CDFNL Live



I’m a late call up to be timekeeper for the Reserves Grand Final. As runner for the club’s Under 14.5 team over the past two years, I haven’t had to do timekeeping before. But happy to debut in a GF to help out. South ressies, aka the “12 o’clock show”, finished top of the ladder after the home and away season. Well beaten by today’s opponents Alvie in the 2nd Semi. There’s a few ins for South today. The first quarter is a reasonably even contest. Alvie dominate the rest of the game and run out 43 point winners. A tough way to finish for the host of young players in the team and veterans like Adam McNamara, who coaches my boys in the Under 14.5s.


The day is not panning out well for the South Colac Sports Club. In addition to the Reserves going down, the Under 15 netballers lose 33 to 25 to the Western Eagles, the D Grade netballers go down 36 to 24 to Irrewarra/Beeac, the C Grade netballers narrowly lose 28 to 26 against Colac Imperials while the B Grade netballers lose 29 to 23 against Birregurra. Five nil in the negative with one to go.



The banner just made it through.
Photo: CDFNL Live


There’s a strong wind blowing over the Central Reserve. I’m called in to support the extra large banner for the seniors, made by the North Melbourne cheer squad. The South Westerly starts to do some damage to the banner as we raise it. A small tear in the bottom corner begins to take on a life of its own as we grimly hold on. The Collingwood supporter in me starts having PTSD flashbacks to the 2018 Grand Final where sadly the Pies banner (and the Pies themselves) didn’t hold on. The banner wouldn’t have lasted a second longer as co-captain Mitch Perkins thankfully leads the troops through in the nick of time.



Photo courtesy @maxblake44 Twitter



The crowd is immense at the Central Reserve. Irrewarra-Beeac last won a premiership in 2010, the third of a three-peat. South last saluted in 2002, yet had been consistently around the mark over the past decade, including grand final losses in 2011, 2016 and in the most recent CDFNL decider in 2019.




A long period of consistency without the ultimate reward. Courtesy CDFNL Live Facebook



The first quarter is a tough, dour affair, with the wind affecting play. Both teams are on, both defences looking impenetrable. Only one bar open for the massive crowd, equally as impenetrable as the on field backlines, and located as far away from the main grandstand as they could possibly make it. Irrewarra-Beeac kick the only goal of the first term with the wind and take a four point lead into the first break.


Irrewarra-Beeac kick the opening goal of the second after a free and the many Bombers fans are up and about. A minute later small forward Jordan Foley swoops on a loose ball and kicks South’s first major. South settle into the style that has served them well in the second half of the season and you can feel them start to gain the ascendancy. A chain of handballs sees Tyler Black snap a goal from 20 metres out, followed by his older brother and previous club coach Josh Black goaling from a set shot 40 metres out, giving the Roos the lead. A pinpoint pass from Foley to Nick “Chicken” Lynch right on half time sees the South Colac coach nail the goal after the siren, the Roos enter the half time break with an eight point lead.



Josh Black marks and goals. Photo: CDFNL Live



We fight our way to the bar for another round but decide that will be our last trip there given the excessive queues. Standing on the wing with the group of under-14 parents who group together most Saturdays to support the seniors. We’re too invested to waste any more time in the bar queue.


The third quarter, the so called premiership quarter, begins and South come out in full force against the wind. Mick Embrey always tackles strongly, gaining a free from a holding the ball decision and duly slotting it through from just inside the 50, perfectly allowing for the wind. Daniel Roberts, who has been lively at half forward all day, marks strongly and goals from a set shot and the lead is out to 20 points. At this point the Bombers lift. Play is concentrated in their forward line for much of the rest of the quarter and they kick the next three goals, including one not long before the siren. The crowd has very much lifted, the atmosphere is incredible. As we walk out to the three-quarter huddle, South people are generally happy with a 2 point lead and kicking with the wind in the final term. Well, as happy as you can be in a grand final.


South start the final term well. Matt Garner has dominated the ruck all day, midfielders Brendan Monaghan, Josh Woods, Billy McLeod and Tyler Black are starting to assert their dominance. Josh Black marks running back against the flight of the ball and kicks the first of the last quarter from 15 out. When “Chicken” Lynch marks and goals from 50 out at the 14 minute mark, the game looks in control. No one celebrates a goal like Chicken, you know from the moment it has left his boot whether he has kicked it by his reaction. The lead is 13 points, still not insurmountable, and it’s not until Steve Presani marks deep in the forward line and goals at the 23 minute mark that South supporters can fully start celebrating the end of the 20 year drought.


The siren sounds to a huge guttural roar from the Roo supporters. The players embrace and are quickly swamped by the supporters. There’s many smiles and many tears. The two hard luck stories have been star defenders Todd Baudinette and Tom McKean, both suspended during the finals series. Baudinette, a high flying, long kicking centre half back who played his 200th senior game for the club earlier in the season and is a big favourite of the junior players, is right in the thick of it and looks as happy as anyone. McKean, the pacy half back, is in tears but also gets around his teammates. You can only feel for these two men, as well as assistant coach Josh Goonan who missed out on selection for the grand final. There’s always hard luck stories in any premiership.



The winning moment. Photo: CDFNL Live



The “Free Todd” campaign ran by the Under 14’s during the 2nd semi-final was ultimately unsuccesful. Photo: Gavin Reynolds



Matt Garner wins the Peter Featherston medal for best on ground after his display in the ruck which included 35 hitouts. Club legend Adam Downard, South’s most recent premiership captain in 2002, hands out the premiership medals to all the players, before the cup is raised by co-captain Ben Cox and coach Nick Lynch.




Adam Downard presents co-captain Ben Cox with his premiership medal.
Photo: CDFNL Live



Ben Cox and Nick Lynch raise the premiership cup. Photo: CDFNL Live



The spacious home rooms at Colac are packed as the song is sung, the coach and president speak and celebrations begin.



Tyler Black leads the team in with the cup. Photo: Fiona Brett




In the rooms after the game. Photo: Fiona Brett



So many great stories out of the win. Dan Jeffreys was a member of the 2002 premiership as a 16 year old, and after a long career at the Colac Tigers in the Geelong Football League returned to his home club and wins another one 20 years later, then announces his retirement. Ben Cox, Justin Mooney and Daniel Roberts, who had all played in the losing grand finals of 2011, 2016 and 2019 and finally taste premiership success. Cox, a multiple century goal kicker, has reinvented himself on the wing and played some great footy in the second half of 2022. “Flash” Mooney played his 200th senior game for the club in Round 8, badly injured his shoulder in that game and had what looked to be season ending surgery. His run, skill and poise in the backline had been sorely missed. He made a remarkable return in the reserves at the end of the season and only came back into the seniors for the grand final, playing well in a defensive role. Roberts is one of the great clubmen at South and is regularly seen marking the lines on the oval on a Friday night. He played a fantastic finals series, a player who contests hard and just gets the job done.


The rooms were jam packed all night up at the South Colac Sports Club. No tears as the night wore on, just smiles. No bigger smile than from the permanent grin on the face of president Mick Baker. The senior players arrived after having their own private dinner around 7.30pm, with the president introducing them all individually, including the suspended duo of Baudinette and McKean in a nice touch. Baker then lead the room in a rendition of the South club song, sung as loudly and enthusiastically by everyone in attendance as possible.



A packed South Colac Sports Club welcomes the team. Photo: Luke Reynolds



A wonderful win and memorable day for everyone associated with the club. They’ve been a great and entertaining team to watch. From the hardness and skill of co-captain Mitch Perkins in the backline, the superb finals series by big full back Paul Presani, the hard working defensive skill of Lewis Oborne, the run and skill of teenager Seb Hay, the intercept marking and exquisite kicking of Sam Giblett (he would have been my choice for the medal) and the dash and skill of Justin Mooney, Todd Baudinette and Tom McKean, the South Colac defensive unit is as solid yet as attacking as any in the league.
The superb ruck work of Matt Garner and Steve Presani feeding the hard running, aggressive midfielders Brendan Monaghan, Josh Woods, Tyler Black and Dan Jeffreys. The composure, marking and raking left foot kicking of the smooth moving Joel Menzies. The zip of Billy McLeod and the skill and hard running of Ben Cox on the wings. The pace and skill of Jordan Foley around goal. The pressure and courage of Daniel Roberts and Mick Embrey up forward. The marking, presence and composure of Ben Collins at centre half forward. Josh Black, a highly skilled player whether on the ball or up forward with the ability to play taller than he is. As good a country footballer as I’ve seen. And the coach, Nick Lynch, deceptively quick and hard to beat on the lead, a booming accurate kick and as passionate a coach as they come. It’s been a joy to watch them week in, week out. There’s nothing better than a premiership and to see the joy it brings to so many people. Go Roos in 2023.



SOUTH COLAC              0.2   4.3   6.3   9.5 (59)
IRREWARRA-BEEAC  1.0    3.1   6.1    6.2 (38)


SOUTH COLAC: S.Giblett, B.Monaghan, M.Garner, B.McLeod, T.Black, M.Embrey
IRREWARRA-BEEAC: C.McCrae, T.Flanigan, J.Stannard, J.Angus, M.Thornton, J.Cartwright

SOUTH COLAC: J.Black 2, N.Lynch 2, J.Foley, T.Black, M.Embrey, D.Roberts, S.Presani
IRREWARRA-BEEAC: C.Murray 2, A.Inglis, J.Cartwright, T.Jackson, T.Grist



The 2022 Premiers! Photo: CDFNL Live



Read Luke Reynolds’ (many) pieces HERE.


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About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Crackers,
    I trust it was an excellent day and evening.
    Congrats to South – especially meritorious given the two suspensions (one of which I believe was slightly controversial?)
    Go the Roos!

  2. Magnificent recount mate, such a great relief for many leagues to get a finals series this year – all the more sweet with a GF win after a long time waiting!

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Smokie, always a magic day and night when a premiership is won. And yes, slightly controversial….

    Cheers Jarrod, wonderful for local football to have a full season and finals, definitely reflected in the wonderful crowds at local finals.

  4. Awesome Luke love the passion – what do you reckon the crowd was ? Bizarre to only have the 1 bar open
    GFs are a desperately needed financial gold mine to stuff that up is staggering.Love the individual story lines especially,Dan Jeffrey’s thank goodness you won the senior flag after the other losses thank you

  5. The drought is over.
    Love it, Luke.
    Congratulations to all who played.

    Did your kids see the seniors win the flag? Were many South Colac kids around?
    I remember as a ~13-14-15 y.o. watching our cricket club’s A Grade team win the flag. Plants a seed.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Malcolm. Heard there was more than 4000 people through the gate during the course of the day.

    ER- yes my boys were there, as well as many of the boys Under 14 teammates. As well as many of their parents, which is testament to how welcoming an atmosphere they’ve created at the club for families.

  7. Great stuff Luke. Well done on helping out, indeed making your timekeeping debut in the early match! The celebrations must’ve been terrific for the community especially given the drought. As an old Barossa farmer once said, ‘It always rains at the end of a dry spell!’

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Mickey. It certainly rained at the celebrations!

  9. Thanks for the write up Luke love a country footy story

  10. Great work is Jordan Foley related to Nathan or Nick Lynch related to Paul Lynch

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Raj.

    Thanks Rodney. Nick Lynch is nephew of Paul Lynch, unsure about the Foley’s but if they are related I don’t think it is a close relation.

  12. John Harms says

    Now the dust has settled I’ve had a chance to read and appreciate this. Fantastic yarn about a memorable win. Congrats to all involved, including the writer.

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers JTH. Such a memorable win, it deserved to be written about.

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