A REWARD for hard work is how Newbridge coach Brad Comer described his team’s Loddon Valley league grand final win on Saturday.
The Maroons snapped an 18-year premiership drought with their 11.11 (77) to 4.9 (33) victory over Mitiamo.
“It’s absolute elation at the moment and I’m so happy for the the town and the boys… they deserve it,” Comer said.
“I truly believe we worked the hardest over the pre-season and I couldn’t be more prouder or happier for the boys.”
The game at Bridgewater was played in some horrendous and bitterly cold conditions, featuring hail at times, rain and a howling breeze that was at its strongest during the second term when the Maroons used it to turn a two-point deficit at quarter-time into a 24-point lead at the main break.
“The conditions were fairly brutal out there… we worked really hard against the breeze in the first quarter, but our work-rate all game was fantastic,’’ said Comer, who kicked one of only three goals against the breeze at the scoreboard end for the match.
Comer, 33, has lauded his backline all season and had good reason to do so again on Saturday after the Maroons kept the Superoos to just four goals for the game.
“They were unbelievable today as they have been all year,” Comer said.
One of the Maroons’ defenders, full-back Alex Code, who carried a quad concern into the game, was awarded the AFL Victoria Medal for best-on-ground, while Comer post-match revealed the reason behind captain Jordan Gilboy’s switch from the midfield to forward this year.
“Jordy has been playing with a stress fracture in his foot since early in the season,” Comer said.
“He’s the captain and the way he has gone about his footy has flowed through the rest of the group.”
Comer is now a premiership player with the Maroons, just like his father, Brian, was in 1978 in a grand final that Newbridge also won against Mitiamo.
Brian had also been chairman of selectors in the Maroons’ previous flag in 2000.
“For it to have been 18 years since the last flag, it has been too long and the club has been through a lot to finally get here,” Comer said.
“It hasn’t been an easy road, but we’ve worked hard on and off the field and this result today is just fantastic for everyone involved and the town.”
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.