Elmore scores 17-and-under flag win; Lockington-Bamawm United captures 15-and-under crown

UPLIFTING: Elmore's victorious 17-and-under grand final team with coaches Hollie and Jess Hildebrandt. Picture: KIERAN ILES
UPLIFTING: Elmore's victorious 17-and-under grand final team with coaches Hollie and Jess Hildebrandt. Picture: KIERAN ILES

ELMORE has thwarted Colbinabbin’s bid for back-to-back 17-and-under premiership wins by scoring a six-goal victory in Saturday’s grand final at Huntly.

The 38-32 win demonstrated the depth of the Bloods junior talent by winning and the dedicated efforts of club coaches.

A breakthrough grand final win was set up in a feverish first quarter, with the Bloods outscoring the Grasshoppers 11-8.

They were able to add to their lead in each of the second and fourth quarters and broke even in the third to cap a remarkable win.

It was the third of three finals successes for the young Bloods, who defeated their grand final rivals 56-38 in the qualifying final and backed up with a one-goal semi-final win over Leitchville-Gunbower, which had finished as minor round premiers.

Wing defence Kira Niven capped an outstanding by being named best-on-court.

Hollie Hildebrandt, who jointly coaches the team with sister Jess, said while confident of victory at three-quarter time she was relieved to hear the final siren.

“That last quarter was just unbelievable, we had the timer counting down but we got there,” she said.

“The girls have done a great job all season, they’ve pushed really hard at trainings and always put it together on a Saturday.

“They work so well as a team and played unbelievable.

“They’re all real cheerful and a wonderful bunch to coach.”

Hildebrandt, who this season notched her 150th game for the Bloods in the A-grade game against White Hills, was confident several of Saturday’s grand final line-up would eventually make the progression to the top grade.

“There’s a couple – Abbey Hromenko and Livia Rosaia – who have already played A-reserve, but the wonderful thing is there is still three of these girls who are eligible to play under-15s,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic effort for those young girls.

“Hopefully they can stay together and we’ll have a handy A-grade side in a few years to come.”

Bloods A-grade coach Kris Rosaia said the junior team’s grand final success was uplifting for the entire club.

“We’ve always valued the strength of our juniors, and we’ve always had strong juniors,” she said.

“To follow that through and show we have the strongest in the league ain that 17-and-under competition has been fabulous. The club has really gotten behind them.

“The majority of the girls live locally in town and the community – they’re a great bunch of girls, very team-oriented and enjoy each other’s company off the court and have real strong friendship bonds.”

The premiership line-up comprised goal shooter Grace Beckmans, goal attack Abbey Hromenko, wing attack Hannah Trewick, centre Zahra Hayes, wing defence Kira Niven, goal defence Livia Rosaia, goal keeper Sarah Trewick  and subs Amila Carlile, Cayde Hayes and Montana Kerr.

Meanwhile, Lockington-Bamawm United made amends for a grand final loss last year to Colbinabbin to win a nail-biting 15-and-under grand final.

The young Cats led by 10 goals at three quarter time and had to endure a brave Grasshoppers fightback in the final quarter to win 42-38.

It capped a busy finals series for the Cats, who defeated White Hills by two goals in the qualifying final, before losing to Colbinabbin by five goals in the semi-final.

They qualified for the grand final with another win over the Demons in last weekend’s preliminary final.

Ella Roulston and Emily Mitchell were co-captains of the premiership winning line-up.

Their 2017 season teammates included Georgina Byrne, Ella McPhee, Bridie Baker, Melanie McNair, Sarah Jones, Grace Nicholson, Telia Rorke and Charlee Roulston.