Three-peat complete: Kangaroos challenged, but victorious in third-straight flag
Journalist: Dan O’Bryan
The Figtree Kangaroos have won three Men’s premier Division grand finals in a row defeating the Northern Districts Tigers in the final game of the AFL South Coast grand final day.
Both teams started the game well, with neither able to dominate possession over the other. It was Figtree who struck first with a routine set shot 25 metres out to league leading goal scorer, Benjamin Yakimov. The Tigers then began to generate some quick play, with wingman Ethan White collecting plenty of disposals all over the ground but were unable to capitalise on their scoring opportunities. As the quarter progressed, Figtree defender Michael Coleman began to generate lots of quick passages of play for the Kangaroos through his intercept marking and run and carry, but they also couldn’t convert their opportunities into goals. Ryan Dunn then managed to kick the Tigers’ first goal on the run in the dying stages of the term to cut the margin to three points.
Figtree came out strong in the second term and didn’t have to wait long to extend their lead coming from a soccer in the goal square to forward Joel Bottin-Noonan. Tigers’ midfielder Caleb Higgins was beginning to find plenty of the football for the Tigers, but it was Figtree who began to gather momentum with Bottin-Noonan kicking his second of the day with a set shot from the 50-metre arc. The Tigers responded quickly with a brilliant pack mark to Heath Beaumont leading to his first right before half time to cut the margin to 14-points in favour of the Kangaroos.
The Tigers began the third term dominating possession and moving the ball well, but were still unable to turn chances into goals against Figtree’s defenders. Again, the Kangaroos kicked the first of the term with Yakimov taking an intercept mark inside the forward 50 and nailing the goal for his second of the day. The Figtree midfielders then began to show their class around the ground with Jacob Hennessey, Brandon Lagana and Jacob May all gathering plenty of possessions and wasting very few of them. this midfield dominance led to a set shot goal to Benjamin Bourke and his first of the day. Another quick goal to Bottin-Noonan saw the margin grow again before Tigers forward Harry Shannon kicked a steadier to keep Northern Districts within reach going into the last quarter; the three-quarter time score stood at 6.13 (49) to 4.2 (26) favouring Figtree.
In the final term Figtree began to show their class with consecutive goals to Rhys Andreatta and Benjamin Yakimov in the early stages. The Tigers were then able to slow the tide and create some repeat stoppages led by midfielder Jeremy Woodford leading to their first goal of the term, a set shot to Ryan Dunn. The Kangaroos then responded with two goals in quick succession including Bottin-Noonan’s fourth of the day, a running goal from outside the 50-metre arc. The final score read 10.13 (73) to 5.3 (33) favouring Figtree with Kangaroo’s defender and coach Michael Coleman named the best afield.