Victoria Country has relinquished the Brian Molony Cup in disappointing fashion.
The boys from the bush simply could not match it with the Victorian Amateur Football Association for long enough, with Country on the end of an 82-point loss.
Rochester’s Steven Stroobants was a shining light for his defeated side, booting four goals from limited opportunities up forward.
‘‘Personally I thought I was in and out of the game,’’ he said.
‘‘I was lucky enough to get on the end of a few, though.’’
Country could not take full advantage of the breeze in the first term and edged only eight points ahead.
From there the VAFA took full control, booting nine unanswered majors in the second stanza to almost put the match to bed.
‘‘They were very, very slick,’’ Stroobants said.
‘‘They were too quick for us early, and in that second quarter with the breeze they were too good.’’
Country fought back hard in the third quarter with five goals to two, but once again the VAFA found another gear to slam home 10 final-quarter majors and make the match a non-contest.
Stroobants has been around the Country squad for three seasons and continues to enjoy representing the region.
‘‘I love playing representative footy and testing yourself against the best, that’s why I keep putting my hand up to do it,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s something I look forward to every year, representing the league, my club and my family.’’
Tigers teammate Nathan Marrone also represented Country on Saturday and roamed the under-fire half-back line well.
‘‘I got a few kicks early and that helped settle me a bit,’’ he said.
‘‘It was hard to find yourself in the game the whole time with so much going on, especially down back with the ball coming in hot, but I loved it, I really loved it.’’
After learning a lot from a best-on-ground performance for the Goulburn Valley’s interleague squad in May, Marrone said he would once again soak up everything he experienced this weekend.
‘‘The pace was another step up again from interleague and I will definitely learn a lot and take a lot out of it,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a good learning curve, to have blokes like Danny Frawley and Sam Fisher there giving us their insight, experience and knowledge of the game was great.’’
Frawley, who coached the Country side, did not sugar-coat the defeat.
‘‘You could see that the VAFA really came in with a plan and executed it perfectly,’’ he said.
‘‘Our guys had a dip, but there is no way we can polish it up, they were far too good.
‘‘We’ve got two years to lick our wounds and do a fair bit of training, but we’ll be back better and stronger than ever.’’
The final GV export, Tatura’s Chris Ryan, played as a swingman for most of the day, plugging holes in the ruck, down back and up forward where needed.
Ryan also snared a goal in the loss, meaning the region’s best certainly held their own at a higher level.
‘‘Nathan played pretty well across half-back, using his long kicking and skills well,’’ Stroobants said.
‘‘Chris was used as a swingman, so he was in the game for most of it as well.
‘‘Overall I think the GV was pretty well represented.’’
Vic Country 4.4 4.6 9.10 10.10 (70)
VAFA 3.2 12.4 14.6 24.8 (152)
Vic Country: Jason Davenport, Brian Graham, Steven Stroobants, Jono Spina, Jayden Symes, Scott MacLeod.
VAFA: Anthony Lynch, Josh Freezer, Thomas Paule, Viv Michie, Al Armstrong, Jason Tutt.
Vic Country: Steven Stroobants 4, Jason Davenport 2, Ben Dobson, Brian Graham, Chris Ryan, Chris Moreland.
VAFA: Al Armstrong 7, Steven Milne, Sam Hibbins, Sam Critchley 3, Corey Cassidy, Thomas Jok, George Burbury 2, Thomas Humphrey, Thomas Paule.