By Tara Murray
It was a Sunbury Kangaroos double at Windy Hill on Saturday, with the reserves joining the seniors as Essendon District Football League premiers.
Like the seniors, the reserves had won through to the last day of the year in the semi final and had the week off.
They faced minor premiers Northern Saints, who they had beaten in the semi final.
The Kangaroos dominated much of the first half, but didn’t reflect on the scoreboard as they trailed by one point.
The Kangaroos finally got some reward for effort and looked to be on their way to a premiership.
The Saints had one last burst in the last quarter and reduced the margin to 12 points with 10 minutes to go. The Kangaroos held their nerves, to win 10.6 (66)-8.6 (54).
Kangaroos coach Matt Pettman said it was an unbelievable feeling.
“It’s credit to the boys for the work that we’ve done throughout the year,” he said.
“We were around it all year and Northern Saints are a good side. To come out in the finals and beat them, I knew the boys could do it.
“I believed in them and that’s unbelievable.”
Pettman said it was a weird feeling in the rooms at half time, knowing they could have quite easily been in front.
He said was confident that they could get the job done.
“Coming into the rooms, heads were down,” he said.
“I felt the game was on our terms, it was only matter before we took over and run over them.
“I just knew we had the players and we had the structures that we could win it. We were winning it in the midfield and we just had to shut down a couple of key players.”
They were one player down at the start of the second half, with captain Julian La Sala receiving a blue card just before half time. He was allowed to return to the field in that quarter.
The Kangaroos experience then shone through in the second half and they were able to stand strong when the Saints came at them late.
“Jamie Cuffe killed it and having [Jacob] Opie come back and the older guys like [Daniel] Ellery, [Adam] Walshy [Walsh], Polly [Matthew Baird] they seem to hold well when we were under pressure,” Pettman said.
“I think the boys all did really well. It was a team effort and that’s what I asked for at the start of the game and that’s what we got.”
Pettman, who coached the Riddell District Football League 2017 reserves premiership, said there was a lot of unknown coming into this season being in a new competition.
With the senior side also winning the premiership, both sides will play in division 1 next season
“It hasn’t sunk in yet and I’ve got the week off work and I’m sure we’ll celebrate all week,” he said.
“Coming into the new league, there was so many unknowns… The group of boys have been through the highs and lows and this is unbelievable.”