Kangas seize key moments on way to flag record

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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2018 GSFL league premiers North Albany.
Camera Icon2018 GSFL league premiers North Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson

North Albany created history by winning their fifth straight Great Southern Football League premiership and are now eyeing a record equalling sixth success after coming from behind to beat Railways in Sunday’s low-scoring grand final at Tigerland.

Played in front of more than 1500 spectators in windy conditions, the Kangas came from two points down at half-time to overrun the home side to win by 17 points at the final siren as their club secured five successive flags to better their run of four grand final victories from 2005-08.

Royals were the side that ended that previous run of Kangas flags and now the most dominant side of the past decade have their sights on equalling the Lions GSFL record of six straight premierships from 1999-04 after their momentous triumph on Sunday.

2018 GSFL league premiers North Albany, co-captains Graham Ross and Luke Cameron with coach Craig Dew and sponsor Paul Williams.
Camera Icon2018 GSFL league premiers North Albany, co-captains Graham Ross and Luke Cameron with coach Craig Dew and sponsor Paul Williams. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Kangas trailed at quarter time and narrowly at half-time, but a decisive three goal to one third term handed the visitors a nine-point lead heading into the final term as the Tigers kicked towards the end favoured by the wind.

But the game had shown goals at the city end were more than possible and the Kangas showed that as they produced a superb final quarter to clinch more premiership glory.

Early in the last quarter the Tigers trimmed the margin to three points after Kenton Gibbs was awarded a free kick and he jailed his second from on the 50m arc.

Misses from Scott Fielding and Tom Wolfe left just a single point in the game, but the Kangas again lifted, desperate to create a piece of history, as they scored four behinds before the decisive moment which would decide the match.

Railways' Jack Hastie gets his handball clear.
Camera IconRailways' Jack Hastie gets his handball clear. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Looking to move the ball quickly from a kick-out, an errant kick from Tigers defender Jack Hastie could only find Alec Haskins who calmly slotted the set shot to extended his sides advantage to 11 points.

Moments later the Kangas went forward again and after a deep contest, Jacob Hobbs pounced on the spilled ball and sealed a fifth consecutive flag for both he and his team.

The Kangas were far too strong in the second half as they finished winners, 9.7 (61) to 6.8 (44), in jubilant scenes.

The Kangas kicked five of the last six goals in the decider and coach Craig Dew described the victory as his greatest on grand final day.

North Albany's Brock Ramsay looks to get clear of Railways' Shane Braimbridge.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Brock Ramsay looks to get clear of Railways' Shane Braimbridge. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“Its very special, this is the best one,” Dew said. “Because its unexpected, not many people picked us to win and internally we were worried (by Railways).

“Clearly this is the best one (grand final) I’ve coached and the future is really bright for this club, so yeah why can’t we think about six.

“This group, they are senior players that know how to win.”

Michael Trevenen was superb in the midfield, duly named the Alan Barnett medallist for his performance that included two vital goals.

Railways' Kenton Gibbs marks strongly against North Albany's Marcus Trevenen.
Camera IconRailways' Kenton Gibbs marks strongly against North Albany's Marcus Trevenen. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Defender Regan Lloyd was terrific along with grunt ball winner Ray Padfield, youngster Alex Pearce and Jacob Hobbs, while Marcus Trevenen helped quell Kenton Gibbs.

The Tigers, who won the minor premiership and beat the Kangas by 14 points in the second semifinal a fortnight ago, struggled to have many winners across the board.

Dylan Schorer was outstanding in a losing affair and he kicked an early goal that helped his side start promisingly.

Player-coach Craig Frost was again terrific at half back along with Mitch Green, captain Bodhi Stubber and the emerging Scott Fielding.

“To North’s credit they have been a tight group for five or six years and know each other so well,” Frost said.

“Their more experienced players really stood up and they had a few more winners.

Railways celebrate an Ethan Knee goal.
Camera IconRailways celebrate an Ethan Knee goal. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“Our back line stood up pretty well, but we had guys who were down, the mids got hurt on the spread and then late we just panicked and played into their hands.

“I thought when we got within three points we were a real chance.

“To not finish it off is disappointing, we’ve come from fourth and the year we’ve had you can’t say is successful but from where we have come from it was pleasing.

“Last year’s (early) finals exit hurt and this is going to hurt a lot more but we will respond.”

North Albany coach Craig Dew celebrates their fifth striaght premiership.
Camera IconNorth Albany coach Craig Dew celebrates their fifth striaght premiership. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Co-captains Luke Cameron and Graham Ross, veteran Grant Corcoran along with Adam Ditchburn and Hobbs are the five Kangas players to have played in every one of the winning run of five grand finals.

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