By Jackson Russell
After two years of heartbreak, Wallan’s reserves footballers are finally premiers.
The Magpies won the Riddell District Football Netball League reserves flag by 21 points over Rupertswood at Clarke Oval, Sunbury, on Sunday.
The twos were unsuccessful in their premiership chase in 2017 and 2018, falling in consecutive grand finals.
Wallan trailed by four points at quarter time after a two-goal-to-one first term, but came out of the gate firing in the second, kicking three goals to one to be up by 12 points at half-time.
Rupertswood responded with a four-goal-to-one third term to hold just a one-goal lead at three-quarter time.
The Magpies were huge in the final term, holding Rupertswood scoreless and kicking four goals to run away with the flag.
Wallan reserves coach Matt Bell said the first 10 minutes of the third term was ordinary.
“We knew at half-time they would come, they’re a fit, young side and have the speed,” he said.
“The proud thing is the second half of that quarter, we fought back, we didn’t panic and we kept the margin at three-quarter time to something where we could creep it back in the last quarter.
“In that last quarter, we kicked four goals and everyone just stood up.
“I think it comes down to losing the last two years, it just came down to how bad these guys wanted it this year.
“It was a great effort in that last quarter and a half to fight back the way we did.”
Bell said having some younger players come up from the under 19s this season proved the difference over the previous two grand finals.
“We had a couple 19s come up this year and that was the missing ingredient,” he said.
“We needed that speed and athleticism and those guys really brought that this year and helped us older blokes out which is what we needed.”
Damien Korp was named best on ground in the win and was just one of numerous standouts for the Magpies.
“I thought Matty Traynor was great all day, Korpy obviously got the best on ground, he was sensational all day,” Bell said.
“Brendon Meroli really stood up in that last quarter, we recruited him this year and he played most of the year in the seniors but he came back towards the end of the year and really stood up in the last quarter to kick a couple of goals for us. I thought those three were sensational all day.”
Rupertswood 6.7 (43) def by Wallan 9.10 (64)
Goals: J. Baillie 3, A. McConville, L. Moore, D. Halliwell
Best: B. Borg, J. Baillie, J. Egan, D. Halliwell, K. Guy, B. Nalder
Goals: T. Robertson 2, J. Layley 2, D. Nolan 2, B. Meroli, L. Zerella
Best: M. Traynor, D. Korp, B. Meroli, J. Layley, J. Morris, B. Wightman