Panthers Complete Undefeated Plate Season with Premiership
-written by David Redden
In the Black Diamond Plate Grand Final played at Newcastle No.1 Sportsground on Saturday, Terrigal Avoca completed an undefeated season with a hard-earnt 14-point win over a dogged and persistent Newcastle City. Final scores were Terrigal Avoca 6.9.45 to Newcastle City 4.7.31.
The Panthers set up their undefeated flag with a 5 goal to 1 first half, to leave them leading by 25 points at the main break. City came back hard in the third quarter, kicking 3 goals to one in the third stanza to leave the Blues only down by 13 points at the last change.
Remarkably, neither side kicked a goal in the last quarter, with Terrigal Avoca deploying a loose man in defence to stifle City’s challenge in securing the improbable, an undefeated Premiership in the 14-team Plate Competition.
Terrigal Avoca kept gun forward pair Kevin McDonald and Abe Gibson goalless in the match, a significant factor in their win. Using the tactics successfully employed by the Panthers Black Diamond Cup side for many years, key backs Ethan Formby, Damen Smith and Liam Townsend made life very difficult for City’s forwards, rarely allowing a one-on-one contest throughout the four quarters.
Livewire rover Jason Roach was adjudged best on ground after a scintillating performance, using his speed and deadly left foot to set up many of the Panthers attacking raids.
Smith, Formby, Townsend, Ryan Shaw and Michael Roach (who produced an excellent display in the centre) were other players to shine for Terrigal Avoca, who lost Josh Arms early on to concussion.
Ben Conquest, thrust into the ruck against much taller opponents, was outstanding all day for City, playing as an extra ruck-rover and winning countless contested possessions. Backmen Luke Vicary, Brodie Jones and skipper Mitchell Black were big contributors for City, alongside rover Asheet Tak and utility Nick Pollock.
Goal kickers for Terrigal Avoca were Mathew Studdert, Tim Smith, Michael Studdert, Jason Roach, Jack Fitzgerald and Ryan Shaw.
City’s goalkickers were Tom Dwyer, Jarred Matson, Rhett Allen and Bailey Cullen.