SFL Grand Final Review
By Ben Harrison
Claremont 16.15 (111) d New Norfolk 6.11 (47)
CLAREMONT secured its first Southern Football League premiership by defeating competition powerhouse and long-term rival New Norfolk at KGV Oval on Saturday. New Norfolk had won the last three Grand Finals and other team had really challenged the Derwent Valley club since Kingborough won all three premierships in 2011.
In the end the difference in this game came down to a 12-minute period where the Magpies piled on nine goals before the long break to set up a 64-point victory that saw the 2015 cup head to Abbotsfield Park. Its first night in its new home would have seen some extensive celebrations as the Magpies also took out the Reserves and Colts premierships.
The Magpies have been the standout side all season after recruiting strongly to develop their playing list following grand final losses to the Eagles in 2013 and 2014. In the first quarter it appeared that pattern of dominance from Claremont would stay the same, but the Eagles stayed in the contest.
Following a fiery finish to the first quarter, some more spot-fires appeared and then just before the 15-minute mark of the second quarter an Eagle player cleaned up Magpie dynamo Chris Novy, who took no further part in the game.
Some push and shove went on for a few moments but after Novy left the ground the Magpie machine retaliated on the scoreboard as classy left footer Nathan Matthews scored the first two goals of the nine straight for Claremont to leave New Norfolk shell shocked.
Beyond a miracle the game was effectively out of reach for the Eagles and the rest of the game was fairly even on the scoreboard as both sides seemed to just play out the game till the final sire signaled the start of the Magpie celebrations.
Claremont’s best players were led by Matthews who was awarded the Gorringe-Martyn medal being judged best afield and he received great support from Ashley Bennett, Simon Ladic and Daniel Fewkes. Sean Salter led the scoring with three goals apiece and that tally was enough to ensure that Salter finished his season with 101 goals to his name in a terrific effort amongst nine Magpie goal kickers on the day.
New Norfolk again was best served by Rohan Heron at both ends of the ground along with co-captain Zeke Gardam, while Nathan Ross was active from time to time and finished with two goals.
In the reserves final Claremont was victorious over Brighton by 52 points where the Johnstone Medal for Best afiled went to Simon Spencer of Claremont and in the Colts game Claremont hung on from a fast finishing Huonville to win by only two points as the V.A. Geard Medal for best afield went to Cameron Wooley of the Huonville Lions.