Northern Riverina Premiers
TULLIBIGEAL claimed their third premiership in four years with a 26-point victory over Lake Cargelligo in the Northern Riverina League grand final.
Tullibigeal proved too good for their rivals, winning 13.9 (87) to 9.4 (58) at Hillston last Saturday.
After finishing the season as minor premiers and starting the game as firm favourites, for Lake Cargelligo the loss was their third successive grand final loss.
The game was played with both defences dictating play with both teams’ forward lines experiencing difficulty in finding avenues to goal.
In contrast to the second semi-final a fortnight ago, this time it was Tullibigeal who started the game full of running, booting the first two goals of the game through Broden Imrie and Codan Frankel to put the Tigers under early pressure.
In a tight hard fought first quarter Tullibigeal had a slight lead of six points and increased their advantage to 13 points at the long break.
Lake Cargelligo’s tactics of playing the man instead of trying to win the ball cost them dearly and resulted in the Tigers having a player sent from the field in the first quarter.
The Tigers also suffered a further blow when their star midfielder Jaden Kelly was forced to leave the field in the second quarter with a bad head knock which robbed them of much of their drive from the centre.
Tullibigeal’s defensive pressure in the third quarter started to break the game open in their favour and by three quarter time they had increased their lead to 20 points.
Although the Tigers were still within striking distance going into the last quarter the first two goals of the last quarter, through Steve Hickson and Phil Brown, Tullibigeal’s lead stretched to over five goals to virtually end Lake Cargelligo’s hopes of a comeback.
For the Tullibigeal Grasshoppers their coach Sonney Bartholomew again led his team in a sensational ‘best on ground’ performance playing as a defensive midfielder, he cut off numerous Tiger attacks as did his fellow team mate Josh Smith who played a similar role.
Though the centre of the ground on-ballers Dan Bendall and Codan Frankel and Brayden Davis gave their team plenty of drive where forwards Steve Hickson (3 goals) Brant Frankel and Andrew Brasnett with two goals, each finished off their team mates’ good work.
Tullibigeal’s backline stood firm all day with Jack Payne and Ådam Hague outstanding.
Unfortunately for the Tigers they put in a disappointing display and were just outplayed on the day.
Co-coach Aaron Hart tried hard to put his team into attack and was his side’s best with backmen Dylan Hately, Greg McFadyen, Russell Thorpe and Tony Aubrey all in the Tigers’ best players.
Full forward Mitchell Johnson, with four goals, was the only prominent Tiger forward.
For Sonney Bartholomew it will be a season he won’t forget after taking out the Northern Riverina League’s best and fairest award, the Coach of the Year, the Jim Daniher medal for best on ground honours in the grand final, premiership coach as well as taking out his own club’s best and fairest award.
Credit: The Daily Advertiser