By Jackson Russell
Wallan’s fairytale Riddell District Football Netball League finals run came to an abrupt end with a 85-point loss to Rupertswood in the senior grand final on Sunday.
The Magpies were under the pump early, conceding the first three goals before Michael Mannix put them on the board from the goal square after a 50 metre penalty at the 22-minute mark.
Wallan went into quarter time at Clarke Oval, Sunbury, trailing by 16 points.
Rupertswood hit another gear in the second term, scoring less than a minute into the second term with another a few minutes later before Wallan replied after an off-the-ball free kick to Matt Perri.
Two quick bursts from the Sharks blew the lead out to 53 points, 19 minutes into the second term.
Nothing could go right for the Magpies as Perri failed to convert a free kick from close range, attempting to chip over the man on the mark but not making the distance.
Wallan trailed by 48 points at half-time after Connor Hamilton finally broke the drought at the 23-minute mark.
Rupo picked up right where they left off in the second half, kicking the first goal of the third term at the two-minute mark.
Shaun Stewart replied for the Magpies with a great gather and snap, but Rupertswood was able to march right back down the field and reply.
The margin reached the 10-goal mark shortly thereafter, followed by Rupertswood breaking the 100-point barrier halfway through the third term.
Two quick goals to Sean Morris and Perri late in the piece brought the margin back somewhat but the Magpies trailed by 76 points at three-quarter time.
Wallan kicked two more goals in the final term but it was too late as the celebrations started early for Rupertswood.
Wallan assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said the Magpies were simply outplayed in the second term.
“We kicked into the breeze in the first quarter and I thought we had an okay first term but we got outplayed in the second term with the breeze and from then Rupo were well control of the game and thoroughly deserved their win,” he said.
“We just got totally outplayed, I think. They had the week off and jumped out of the box and we couldn’t stay with them.
“We’ve had a big three weeks so that might’ve just caught up with us.
“Our skipper Michael Mannix was magnificent, other good players were Brenton Cox, Shaun Stewart and Danny O’Sullivan in his final senior game.”
There are still plenty of positives to take out of the season for the Magpies, who went into finals with numerous key injuries.
“Going into the end of the season, we’ve had injuries and virtually lost our spine,” Mathieson said.
“In the semi and preliminary finals, we had nine kids under 21 and in the grand final, we had eight kids under 21 so we were very young.”
“It was just unfortunate that we didn’t have all our personnel but the lads who did represent us were awesome.
“Our under 19s still made the finals and the reserves won the premiership so there’s plenty of depth and plenty of positives.”
Rupertswood 21.10 (136) def Wallan 8.3 (51)
Goals: N. Grigg 7, M. Knight 3, C. McRorie 3, B. Cannolo 2, B. Swallow 2, S. Hetherington, J. Berry, K. Murphy, T. Podolczak.
Goals: B. Schraven 2, M. Perri, S. Morris, M. Mannix, C. Hamilton, M. Tang, S. Stewart. Best: M. Mannix, S. Stewart, B. Cox, D. O’’Sullivan, M. Tang, A. Love