NAVARRE overcame a slow start in Sunday’s Maryborough-Castlemaine District Football League grand final before powering away from Carisbrook to win by 55 points at Princes Park.
The 16.21 (117) to 9.8 (62) victory capped a magnificent double for the MCDFL’s latest power side - not only back-to-back flags, but an undefeated 2014 season.
“This is probably sweeter than last year,” Navarre coach Daniel Parkin said.
“Back-to-back is hard to do, but to have also done it undefeated this year is unbelievable.”
While the final result was a 55-point win to Navarre, there were anxious moments early for the Grasshoppers
The Grasshoppers kicked the opening goal of the game through Cody Driscoll, but that would be their only major of the first term.
Through the Grasshoppers’ previous 18 games this year, no side had led them by more than 10 points at any of the quarter breaks.
But by quarter-time they were 20 points down after the Redbacks had the better of the first term.
The Redbacks had nine scoring shots to four to lead 4.5 to 1.3 at quarter-time.
Jackson Bowen, Liam Cunningham, Matthew Bilton and Cole Roscholler all kicked first-term goals for the Redbacks.
But the 20-point quarter-time lead should have been more after the Redbacks squandered several gettable set-shots.
However, the Grasshoppers were quick to respond to the challenge in the second term.
With the midfield led by Josh Driscoll, Ben Scott, Sam Kaye and captain Louis Hannett getting on top, the Grasshoppers surged back.
Navarre kicked 5.3 to 1.1 in the second term, with a goal to Kris Brennan with the last kick of the quarter giving the Grasshoppers a six-point lead at half-time, 6.6 to 5.6.
And that momentum the Grasshoppers built in the second term continued into the third quarter as they blew the game open.
The Grasshoppers’ domination of possession in the third term was highlighted in the 15-4 inside 50 count in their favour, while they kicked 5.8 to 1.1.
To that stage since quarter-time, the Grasshoppers had kicked 10.11 to 2.2, had 30 inside 50s to 13 and 10 centre breaks to three.
Leading by 37 points at three quarter-time, the Grasshoppers finished off with five goals to three in the final term.
All three of Carisbrook’s last-quarter goals were kicked by Cunningham, who earned the MCDFL best on ground medal for his effort in kicking six of the Redbacks’ nine goals for the match.
His sixth goal was a sensational kick under pressure from the boundary in the scoreboard pocket.
The AFL Victoria Country Medal was won by Navarre’s Scott, who was also a best-on-ground medallist in last year’s 101-point grand final win over Lexton.
Others in the best were Daniel Reading, forward Kris Brennan (four goals), Hannett, the dashing Bryce Tickner and Josh Driscoll.
As well as Brennan, full-forward Ashley Driscoll also kicked four goals to take his season tally to 84.
Carisbrook’s best were ruckman Bowen, Cunningham - who finished the year with 82 goals - defenders Andrew Lovett and Nathan O’Keefe, along with Jakob Tidyman and wingman Hayden Barby.
“We started well and controlled the footy early, but to Navarre’s credit, they were just too good for us,” outgoing Carisbrook coach Luke Treacy said.
As well as the seniors, Navarre also won the A-grade netball for the second year in a row, too.
• Match statistics:
Centre clearances: Navarre 18; Carisbrook 10.
Inside 50s: Navarre 50; Carisbrook 35.
Stoppages: Navarre 21; Carisbrook 10.
Navarre 1.3, 6.6, 11.14, 16.21 (117)
Carisbrook 4.5, 5.6, 6.7, 9.8 (62)
Goals - Navarre: A. Driscoll, K. Brennan 4, S. Robertson 2, D. Reading, N. Murphy, B. Scott, L. Hannett, C. Driscoll, R. Murphy. Carsbook: L. Cunningham 6, C. Roscholler, M. Bilton, J. Bowen.
Best - Navarre: D. Reading, K. Brennan, B. Scott, L. Hannett, B. Tickner, J. Driscoll. Carisbrook: J. Bowen, L. Cunningham, A. Lovett, N. O'Keefe, J. Tidyman, H. Barby.