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By RHYS WOOSNAM - Division 3 Seniors
TWENTY-ONE weeks of blood, sweat and tears all came down to a solitary match of September 9, where Parkside achieved the ultimate success.
In a bruising encounter at Hogans Road Oval, the sublime skills and attacking nous of the Magpies was too much for their Tarneit opponents. Parkside simply put their opposition to the sword in their trademark fashion, and won the 2017 flag by comfortable 41-points.
It was the perfect finish to an almost perfect year for the premiers. Defeated only twice in the regular season, Parkside were the measuring stick for the competition. They were hardly challenged all season, and dominated teams with consistency and ruthlessness.
The final game of the year had the potential to go down to the wire, with Tarneit on a hot streak heading into the grand final. However, Parkside hit the ground running, kicking four goals to one in the first quarter. If it wasn’t for their overall inaccuracy (12.17) the match may have been over before half-time.
Parkside’s key option up forward in 2017 has been former Collingwood champion Jason Cloke, with his experience and freakish ability conjuring over 100 goals in the 18 week regular season.
Come Grand Final day, he played a supporting role to Brent Kelly, who kicked four goals in a tremendous performance. Elsewhere, Parkside were led by Ben Papal, Darcy McMahon and Justin Dorward who willed their team to victory.
Unfortunately for Tarneit, it was close but no cigar in 2017. Having finished in third spot, they set themselves up for a legitimate crack at premiership glory. Their finals series was electric and they had the momentum to cause a huge upset, but they were never in the contest when it counted.
Their foot soldiers battled valiantly, but toppling the might of Parkside would have taken a superhuman effort. Moving into 2018, Tarneit will reassess and put in one hell of a pre-season.
Getting so close to the ultimate prize and falling short will only motivate the team to push harder next year.
For Parkside, the result of the Grand Final was well deserved and solidified them as a true powerhouse in this division.
By BEN CARDWELL - Division 3 Reserves
A RESOUNDING 44-point win at Hogans Road Reserve was enough to crown Parkside as the Division 3 Reserve premiers for the second year running, toppling the Wyndham Suns and capping off a dominant season.
A six goal first quarter saw the Magpies come out firing, and left Wyndham stunned from the outset. The Suns seemed to compose themselves and played competitive defensive football in the second and third, but their lack of offensive options troubled them significantly and they never looked like a genuine threat to catch up to their opponents on the scoreboard.
A few goals to the Suns early in the fourth gave their fans a glimmer of hope, but Parkside’s Grand Final experience was noticeable in their ability to clinically put away their opponents with three quick goals.
Magpie Mark Schwabl was awarded the medal as best on ground after picking up a goal and dominating around the field.
Matthew Shepperbottom kicked three for the victors, leading the game, while Dillon Hinge, Christopher Stevens and Colin Tornatore all managed two goals each.
Parkside’s forward pressure was a major factor, preventing the Suns from getting effective possession out of their back half and giving their forwards plenty of opportunity to capitalise.
This was evident in their lead in scoring shots, scoring 23 times in comparison to Wyndham’s nine opportunities.
To their credit, the Suns were efficient, kicking six goals and three behinds, but struggled to string together counter attacking movement and effective inside 50s.
Parkside are this season’s deserving premiers, having lost just one game all year. They finish the season with a stunning percentage of 444%, a true testament to their sheer dominance and offensive firepower.
Henry Turner reserve will have been filled with celebration, as they managed to not just follow up their Reserves premiership from last year, but also win the Senior premiership as well, achieving the rare double-up.