It was a fairytale event beginning to end for the Moree junior Suns AFL side when they came up against the Inverell Saints in the TAFL grand final at Bellevue Oval in Armidale on Saturday.
After a game that might have spelled their season end for a young Suns side who came into the match on top of the ladder, they brought it all home in an undeniable and hard-fought win of 11.10-76 to Inverell’s 10.13-73. It was a sweet ending for the 2016 debut of the TAFL juniors to scoop the premiership. “And the first team to win it,” junior Suns coach Duane Macey said.
The emotions were high because the siren had already gone when Moree was given a free kick at the end with Inverell a nose ahead after a final quarter that saw the Suns run to the nub.
As that ball sailed through the air to meet its target and passed cleanly though off the toe of Peter Knox-Wright, the field exploded. “They went berserk,” Macey said, and added after that burst of joy, the Suns thought about the dejected Saints on the field.
“They celebrated right away, but then they went to Inverell to console them, because they knew how much they wanted it. They pretty much told us they were coming to take home the trophy,” Duane said.
It was an uneven match from the start. Moree had 14 boys on the bus to meet Inverell’s 22 players, and five times fewer supporters in the stands. The first quarter looked postitive for Moree with a score of 4.2-26 to the Saints’ 1.3-9, but the second quarter saw them chasing the Inverell’s lead 5.7-37 to 5.2-32, and Duane said the Suns came into their break with little legs left. “By half time, they were stuffed,” he said.
Third quarter saw Moree falling farther behind with the silverware looking more and more like the view at the wrong end of a telescope when the Suns stumbled after Inverell’s 10.12-72 with 6.9-45, until the fourth began, and the Suns found their stride.
“They dug deep. They were really wanted the ball. They were really hungry for the win,” Duane said.
In a short space of time, the Suns recovered an incredible 28 points to come even with the Saints, and at the last whisper, got the kick and became the 2016 TAFL junior premiers.