Mooroopna’s under-16 premiership did not come easy.
From losing two players to season-ending injuries before the finals and being tested in Sunday’s decider against Shepparton United Blue, the Cats well and truly earned their triumph.
Mooroopna coach Jason Whittaker said he was proud of how dedicated his side had been.
‘‘They’re a great bunch of kids and they’ve worked extremely hard for it,’’ Whittaker said.
‘‘They started training the first week of November, so they’ve put about 10 months effort in and truly deserved the win.’’
Mooroopna easily defeated United Blue in their only clash during the season, winning by 47 points.
But the Demons came out all guns blazing at Deakin Reserve, taking a 20-point advantage with only a few minutes to go in the first half.
The Cats were able to steady with two late goals before half-time, but United Blue hung around until the last quarter.
Mooroopna eventually outlasted the Demons by 29 points with four goals in the final term.
‘‘It can be a different story come finals even though we did finish on top of the ladder,’’ Whittaker said.
‘‘Looking at the start of the finals series I always thought it was pretty open and probably any of the top nine sides were a chance.’’
Lochlan O’Brien was Mooroopna’s standout player in a dominant display playing in the midfield after the Demons were on top in that area during the first half.
Jai Carn was a crucial factor up forward with five goals, while Issac Dowling (AFL Victoria best-on-ground medal) and Domenic Gugliotti were terrific.
Bailey Whittaker provided drive off half-back, with all of the Cats’ defence standing tall in keeping United Blue to three goals after half-time.
For the Demons, Wil Norman starred with five goals, while Kade Chalcraft, Blake Fothergill, Darcy Holding, Cody Teitzel and Sheldon Bogdan were outstanding.
Kyabram’s Riley Ironside took out the Trevena Family Medal as the best player in the finals.
Mooroopna 2.1, 4.3, 9.5, 13.6 (84)
Shepparton United Blue 2.4, 5.5, 7.5, 8.7 (55)
Mooroopna: Lochlan O’Brien, Jai Carn, Issac Dowling, Domenic Gugliotti, Bailey Whittaker, Samuel Ward.
United Blue: Wil Norman, Kade Chalcraft, Blake Fothergill, Darcy Holding, Cody Teitzel, Sheldon Bogdan.
Mooroopna: Jai Carn 5, Thomas McCarty 2, Henry Wedding 2, Lochlan O’Brien 2, Harrison Crilly, Matthew Curtis.
United Blue: Wil Norman 5, Darcy Holding 2, Sean Thompson.