Hard toil earns great spoils

September 25, 2017

Never headed: Numurkah completed an undefeated season when it claimed the under-14 premiership over Moama.

Numurkah’s ability to work harder for longer led to it holding aloft the premiership cup amid jubilant scenes on Saturday.

But if the Murray Football League under-14 rules stated that quarter lengths were 15 minutes, rather than 16, then Moama would have found itself an easy victor.

The Blues slammed home three goals, one in the second term and two in the last, in the dying seconds of a quarter to claim a stirring victory, with the final score reading 5.4 (34) to 4.1 (25).

After a tight opening few minutes, Numurkah co-captain Bailey Roberts hit teammate Ben Millen superbly in the forward half, with the latter duly converting the only major of the term.

Jayden Hollands proved the man of the moment late in the second stanza after Moama’s Angus Baldwin had given his side hope with a goal earlier in the piece, bursting into open space with 15 seconds remaining and booting his 112th major of the year.

Zach Ross brought the Magpies back within a solitary point six minutes into the third term, but again it was Hollands — through a 50m bomb against a strong breeze — who lifted for his Blues.

Despite the hulking figure’s efforts, Moama again goaled through Daniel Castledine to go into the last quarter one point down.

Five unsuccessful Numurkah shots on goal followed, and as panic began to rise around the ground, Moama’s Shane Bell stood tall on the last line of defence to mark the sixth attempt.

The act of courage began a chain of Magpies possessions which ended in a Luke Caine goal to put the side in front and send their fans into raptures.

For five minutes Moama hung on, but Dustan Ebborn and Rhys Cason majors in the final minute had the Blues in front at the only time of the match that mattered.

‘‘It was an unbelievable game of footy, it took a little bit of magic for us to get over the line in the end,’’ Numurkah coach Matt Cason said.

‘‘We just kept battling on and working in that last five minutes, I couldn’t ask for more, we just didn’t give up and that was the key.’’

Hollands was recognised for his efforts with the best-on-ground medal for a side which went through the entire season undefeated.

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