ONE of the most nerve-racking couple of hours of his life was how Leitchville-Gunbower coach Michael Pilcher described Saturday’s hard-fought Heathcote District league grand final win over North Bendigo at Huntly.
For the second year in a row an injury from the second semi-final ruled the luckless Pilcher out of a Bombers’ grand final win.
Last year it was Compartment Syndrome; on Saturday it was two broken bones in his left foot, but while he didn’t play, Pilcher can now add premiership coach to his footballing CV following the Bombers’ nine-point win over their arch-rivals.
“It’s surreal and will take a few days to sink in. My first year as a coach I found incredibly challenging, but I had an awesome group to work with and full credit to the boys,” Pilcher said.
With Pilcher, along with Joel Donehue (hamstring), outs from the second semi-final team, one of the Bombers’ inclusions was 18-year-old Logan Prout, who had been sidelined since round 10 with a broken scaphoid.
“To miss 13 or so weeks and come in today and kick two goals, Logan showed he’s an absolute superstar,” Pilcher said.
The Bombers set up their 14.10 (94) to 12.13 (85) victory with a game-breaking 7.1 to 0.6 second quarter.
“We didn’t see that coming; we thought it more would have been we could get on top with our running game in the third and fourth quarters,” said Pilcher, who is standing down as coach.
“But we obviously got the jump in the second quarter and I thought our transition from back to forward was as good as I’ve seen this year.
“That gave us a great advantage, but North was fantastic in the way they came back at us in the second half and they got the momentum, but the boys were able to clinch a really good win.”
Saturday was the Bombers’ fourth grand final in a row and their record now stands at 66-8 through the 2015-18 seasons.
As well as the seniors winning back-to-back flags, the day started with the Bombers’ under-17 team winning its third premiership in a row.
“Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a lot of our thirds players like Brady Hore, Mitch McEwen and Logan Prout transition through and there’s probably seven or eight of our top-agers this year who would comfortably slide into the seniors, so that’s great for the future,” Pilcher said.
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