COACH Julian Bull described Wycheproof-Narraport’s North Central league grand final victory over Birchip-Watchem on Saturday as “a win full of heart”.
The Demons spent the bulk of the game playing catch-up footy – they led for just 19 minutes – but they dominated the final term to over-run the Bulls and record a 12-point victory.
From 13 points down at three-quarter-time – the same margin they trailed Charlton by at the last change a year earlier – the Bulls kicked 4.3 to 0.2 in the final term to win 9.9 (63) to 7.9 (51) at Boort.
The Demons’ four goals in the final term came after they had managed just five for the first three quarters.
“It’s an amazing feeling and something we’ve been working towards for the past two years,” Bull said.
“We had our back against the wall after Birchip beat us in the second semi-final a couple of weeks ago, but it was fantastic to play the way we did today to get the result.
“It wasn’t pretty footy, but it was just all heart from the boys.
“And that’s the way it has been for two years… we’ve had our backs up against the wall at times, but the team has so much heart that we’re never out of anything.
“We’ve got 21 blokes each week who just go hard for each other. It wouldn’t have mattered if we were 20 points down in the last quarter, we would have found a way.”
We’ve had our backs up against the wall at times, but the team has so much heart that we’re never out of anything
The victory was the Demons’ first premiership since 2010 and capped a season in which they had been the benchmark side, finishing 14 points and 90 per cent clear on top of the ladder.
It also came on the back of losing last year’s grand final to Charlton by seven points in what was also a season where they had finished well clear on top of the ladder.
Bull says one of the key ingredients to the Demons’ success is the tightness of the core local contingent in the team that was highlighted by Saturday’s premiership 21 featuring 19 one-point players.
“It’s not a rich club, but it has been very successful and that’s why people want to play for us,” said Bull, who in his two years as Demons coach has won 32 of 38 games.
“But they also want to come and play with the Wyche guys like Boe Bish, Corey Jones, Ricky Allan and James Coatsworth and that helps draw players to the club.
“And those players who come to the club, they stay because they love the place.
“You’ve only got to look at Andy Mead… he traveled all the way back from Geelong on his own each week because he loves the club.”
For Demons’ premiership captain Boe Bish – who has been with the club since juniors – he had double reason to celebrate as he also won the Des Darcy Medal for his brilliant rebounding game off half-back.
“It’s a relief to get the win today; obviously losing last year was disappointing and Birchip showed us a couple of weeks ago in the second semi how to play finals footy,” said Bish, who returned to the team for the finals from a broken hand.
“To bounce back today and get the win, it’s just unbelievable.”
Saturday’s victory was Bish’s second Demons’ premiership after he also played in the 2010 flag.
It was also the second flag for another Demons’ favourite son in Corey Jones – 20 years after he won his first as a 16-year-old in 1997 in a one-point win over Donald.
Proving he is the epitome of versatility, Jones was this year’s league leading goalkicker, yet he was awarded the AFL Victoria Country Medal on Saturday playing across half-back in what could be his last game.
Still, he was able to impact the scoreboard, kicking a long-range goal 15 minutes into the final quarter that put the Demons six points up as they took the lead for good.
“The footy club has been fantastic to me and it’s great to be part of today,” said Jones, who won the Demons’ best and fairest this year.
“We’re a really well-rounded side, everyone chips in, plays their role and it’s just great for the club to get some reward today.”
The hard-luck story of the grand final for the Demons was vice-captain George Turner, who suffered a broken jaw in the 21-point preliminary final win over Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers the previous week.
“We love George; if you know the way he plays you’d understand why he has a broken jaw… he’s the hardest footballer I’ve seen,” Bull said.
• Wycheproof-Narraport premiership team – Julian Bull (coach), Boe Bish (captain), Ricky Allan, Spencer Allan, Conner Burge, Corey Jones, James Coatsworth, Matt Riordan, Chris Howgate, Kieran Prestidge, Trevor Rumbold, Andrew Mead-Harding, Toby Sheahan, Dane McLennan, Rolly White, Adrian Pappin, Tim Holobowski, Jordan Bish, Benjamin Brennan, Joel Turner, Robert Binks.