Sport

Duo in seventh heaven

by
September 25, 2017

Unprecedented: Nathalia duo Jason Limbrick and Brett Vallender now have seven premiership medals each, while Limbrick was also named the best player in the grand final.

Nathalia is undoubtedly the king of Murray Football League finals.

The Purples’ unprecedented level of dominance over the competition continued on Saturday with an eighth premiership in 13 seasons and yet another three-peat.

But it is the way Nathalia has secured each of those flags that is scarily astounding.

Since losing the 2004 decider, the Purples have a record that reads 18 wins and one loss when the whips get cracking in September.

A four-peat from 2005 to 2008 gave Nathalia four flags from as many attempts, but it then missed the top six for three consecutive years.

A renewed push for success in 2012 had the Purples once again atop the dais at the end of the season, but the club regressed for yet another two years to miss finals completely in 2013 and 2014.

Since then it has been another three finals campaigns for three more premierships and almost permanent fixtures of the period have been Jason Limbrick and Brett Vallender.

The duo each claimed their seventh triumph on the last day (that matters) in September at Rumbalara’s Mercury Dve on Saturday, a remarkable feat of endurance to say the least.

Limbrick showed he has plenty left in the tank by booting four majors and proving the matchwinner for his side, and said that this flag was right up there with his most important.

‘‘It means the world, this is just so special. Every year is different, but we’ve just got something really special here that gets us over the line in the close games,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t do anything special, we just keep fronting up and training hard, we do the basics really well and we’ve got a really strong club around our players.

‘‘I was just trying to play my role, I’ve played in multiple positions all year, so I was forward today because that’s what we thought we needed and I was able to contribute, so that was good.’’

Vallender was less influential than his counterpart after copping a knock to his sore ankle early in the piece, but remained overwhelmed with joy after the game.

‘‘It’s the best, no-one else has done it before (win seven flags) and to do it with a bloke like Jason is great. Who knows, hopefully we can do it again next year. I think I’ve got one more left in me,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s probably the best one really, obviously Numurkah being our rivals and that sort of stuff there’s nothing better than being on top of them for me.

‘‘It’s a real credit to our young blokes, they’re as fit as fiddles and we can’t ask any more of them.

‘‘We know what it takes to win it and we had a bit of a slump in the middle of the year, but we got everyone right at the right time and obviously that success came at the end.’’

With so many young stars in the ranks at Nathalia, the prospect of arguably the best team in the league’s history only getting stronger is a scary one indeed.

But the consensus from the group, even immediately after winning a grand final, was one of focus and improvement.

‘‘There’s some guys who played a lot of senior footy who are very unlucky today,’’ Limbrick said.

‘‘I’m certain that will spur them on, there’s really no reason why they can’t make a big contribution next year and it’s hard for them, but it’s a good, strong basis for our club going forward.’’

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