Local footy: A Black day in the Ammos

More Grand Final football stories were etched over the weekend as plenty  will continue to develop over the coming weeks.

A story just as big as any other is the dual premiership glory of the University Blacks in the Victorian Amateur Football League (VAFA).

The excitement surrounding the promotion of the University Blacks to the Premier division two weeks ago in the VAFA wasn’t enough for one of the most successful and most historic AFL clubs on earth.

The Blacks have finished the season with two premiership cups – one to the reserves and one to the seniors. They did battle with the Beaumaris Sharks in both the matches, but the Uni struck twice with a two determined and dedicated performances.

The sun was shining and it was the Blacks who put their strongest foot forward in the early game, the Uni reserves opened up proceedings on the Elsternwick Oval with a six goal first term.

Both hills in opposing pockets at the Elsternwick oval were full of footy fans – people barracked, screamed, clapped and supported like crazy.

When the seniors headed to their respective change rooms to prepare for their own battle, the Beaumaris Sharks made an assault at the premiership glory.

At the tail end of the last quarter the curtain raiser suddenly had the crowd’s hearts pumping. Both senior teams would have been affected by the pressure surrounding the finish to the seconds game. As they tried to focus on their respective warm ups on the oval at the rear of the main ground, the roar of the crowds would have been distracting because the nervous energy in the air was contagious.

Three goals in quick succession to the Sharks in red-time of the match slimmed the margin to two points. Beaumaris looked as if they were going to pinch the glory off the Blacks.

It was an old-fashioned arm wrestle for the last ten minutes.

Calls to the Black unit to play “Blacks football” in the dying moments was fitting, they dug deep and held off a fast finishing Baeumaris team.

They set the tone for what was to come.

In the Seniors, the teams could hardly be separated in the first stanza. With hard contested footy the theme of the first quarter.

Amateur Football and Country footy are kilometres apart. But, despite their differences, both types of footy have the capacity to unravel many emotions. The University Blacks  excitingly and expectedly added to their plethora of flags over the weekend, while in the country, grand final emotions also ran high.

In the Bendigo Football League – Golden Square and Gisborne battled it out in hot and heated conditions, Kerang and Woorinen were showing passion in the Central Murray Football League in Swan Hill and Wederburn and St Arnaud were going hammer and tong in the North Central Football League.

From the country to the city, grand final footy is exciting, heated, and passionate – a new story is written every year.

The only real difference would be that the VAFA doesn’t serve alcohol at any games.

So, in front of a large sober crowd, it was the Blacks who broke the game open with six majors to the one in the second quarter. Jordy Foster was dangerous for the Blacks, while the very reliable Scott Weekley, Charlie Richardson, Bede Mahon and the big Andrew Willingham set the tone in the pivot. Harrie Lahy and Huw Lacey’s hard running and solid foot skills were vital in the Blacks getting the edge.

The Blacks second quarter dominance helped them take a 37 point buffer into the main break. And they didn’t take their foot off the pedal in the premiership (third) quarter as Mahon, Drysdale, Weekley and the like ramped up the intensity and built on an already healthy lead.

But, as expected, Beaumaris finished strongly.

Back in the country, the Kerang Blues were kicking away from the Woorinen Tigers, despite ex-AFL player Andrew Lovett showing some signs of brilliance.

As celebration mode set in for the Blacks, in Bendigo Rodney Sharp had a shot after the siren to try win the game for Gisborne Bulldogs. But, it wasn’t to be and Mark Loydd had narrowly coached the Golden Square Bulldogs to the 2012 premiership.

In the North Central, Wedderburn had scraped through with the narrowest of victories.

But, at Elsternwick, the Sharks couldn’t peg back the margin to anything that would send supporters heart rates through the roof- unlike earlier on in the day.

The Blacks had done more than enough. The eventual margin of 27 points proved that the Uni were made to fight all the way. Although they had the upper hand at every change and never really looked threatened after the quarter time break.

Charlie Richardson added the the Ian Cordner Medal for best player on the ground to his Moore Medal, although the best player probably could have been raffled to a handful of the Uni Blacks boys.

All over the state in September, footy Grand Final day’s are an opportunity for people to be surrounded by excitement and remember that although a season of sport is never predictable, it can engulf an entire community, organization and club with a feeling that just can’t be properly explained.The Uni Blacks have rightfully lifted the lid after a dominant display as a club and as an organisation in 2012 and will re-enter the premier division in 2013 in much better shape than they did in 2007 and if they keep the side together will be a big worry for many of the team

About Thomas Dullard

I write, I read, I blog, I play, I study, I love. I am a 21 year old journalism student at RMIT University. I am from the small country town of Swan Hill and am proud of it. I love all things news, especial sport. I love Melbourne, I love sport and snow and I love my family. I have made a TV series, anchored the Olympic news and am writing a book - all via www.thomassherlock.com

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