Seniors win 2018 Premiership
The 6.12 (48) to 4.8 (32) victory looked unlikely at half-time as the Pioneers failed to register a major in the opening half, before piling on six goals to one in the second half, including four goals to none in the final quarter.
The Hawks dominated most of the play in the opening term but failed to capitalise, leading by a mere 12 points at quarter time off the back of majors to Ben Sullivan and Adam Amin.
The second term saw an inaccurate Pioneers outfit waste several opportunities in front of goal, kicking 0.3, as the Hawks took a 17-point lead into the main break as Adam Amin registered his second major at the 18-minute-mark with an opportunistic snap around the body – the only goal for the quarter.
The premiership cup looked set to head to Central Reserve 10 minutes into the third quarter as Evan Pickering made no mistake for the Hawks from a set-shot deep in the pocket, extending his side’s lead to 21 points over the goalless Pioneers – before Mitch Ward pounced on a loose ball inside 50 to kick his side’s first for the day at the 16-minute-mark.
Charlie Thorn found himself in space in attack 10 minutes later as he strolled into an open goal to cut the margin to six points at the 26-minute-mark off the back of brilliant rebounding work from defensive 50 by Michael McDougall and Mitch Ward swooping on a contested ball on the wing to set up the goal.
With a seven points separating the sides at the final change, the Hawks missed three scoring opportunities to the five-minute-mark of the last term, registering 0.3 before Andrew Padbury took his goal tally to 58 for the season when he kicked truly from 45 metres out to draw the Pioneers within three points eight minutes in.
The sides continued the stoppage-riddled arm-wrestle before Damian Bertacco roved a Parthenides hit-out in the pocket to set up Matthew Mariani who put the Pioneers in front by two points for the first time midway through the last term.
Bertacco continued his brilliance with the game still in the balance, kicking the sealer as 23 minutes ticked over after a desperate attempt at goal 15 metres out sailed through – followed up by Aleksander Kumurdian 90 seconds later to increase the Pioneers’ lead to 16 points securing the club’s first flag since 2007.
Whitehorse live-wire Mitch Ward, who was crucial to the game turning in the third term, praised his side’s persistence in breaking down the Hawks’ structures.
“They structure up so well and sometimes it takes half a game to actually break it apart,” Ward said.
“We started running and moving it forward, we got the game open and eventually got it on our terms.
“Our first half was very stagnant and it probably played into their hands.
“They (Glen Waverley Hawks) don’t give you a lot of time and space, so you’ve really got to make that yourself and we did that in the third quarter.”
The Pioneers’ 2018 leading goal-kicker Andrew Padbury was in a state of disbelief after the siren.
“It was unreal – I don’t think any of us could find our kicking boots in the first half to be honest,” Padbury said.
“To kick zero goals in the first half is a bit silly, but it was one of those days – it was unreal.”
Padbury also paid tribute to his 2017 mentors, along with senior coach Jamie Carpenter, who played in the club’s last senior flag 11 years ago before the club faced a finals drought between 2010-2016.
“A bit of credit goes to the fellas last year – (2017 senior coach) Derek Shaw and (2017 assistant coach) Andrew Beever who really set this up – it’s probably a two-year build,” he said.
“It was a tough eight or nine years.”
Damian Bertacco took the best-on-ground honours, claiming the Frank Bibby/Blue Ribbon Medal.
Whitehorse Pioneers 0.1 0.4 2.9 6.12 (48)
Glen Waverley Hawks 2.1 3.3 4.4 4.8 (32)
Whitehorse Pioneers: Bertacco, Ward, Padbury, Kumurdian, Thorn, M. Mariani
Glen Waverley Hawks: A.Amin 2, Sullivan, E. Pickering 1
Whitehorse Pioneers: McCormack, Hockey, Kumurdian, Gleed, Thorn, Bertacco
Glen Waverley Hawks: Riddle, Sullivan, Murray, McMillan, A.Amin, Steinfort
Article from EFL Website by: Daniel Cencic