I know this is a very belated write up but the story needs to be told. W
We found out in the week leading up to the grand final that our opponents were going to be Rivers Baptist. Rivers had overcome our semi-final opponents, North Lakes, to earn a spot in the grand final.
Blackstone travelled to Redbank Plains on 13 September with a full squad for the grand final clash. We had beaten Rivers Baptist in our three previous meetings this season however, they were close games which were won by only one goal on each occasion. The team was pumped and very excited to play with many of our team, including the coach, in their first grand final. Blackstone kicked off and we moved the ball immediately down to the to the Rivers goal. Their keeper picked up the ball and booted it long towards the half way. Our defensive line watched the ball bounce once, then twice and a Rivers forward pounced onto the loose ball and with our centre backs off balance headed for goal. Buster came out to put pressure on the Rivers forward and despite a diving save to his right, Rivers Baptist forward had slotted home the first goal of the game in the first minute of play. The Rivers supporters went wild and Blackstone were a little shell-shocked. Blackstone regrouped for the kick-off and with plenty of encouragement from the sidelines, we started again.
Quickly we started to dominate possession and although the game was a very tight game, Blackstone started to get on top of Rivers. Jonas was the first of our forwards to have an opportunity with a nice build up through the middle at 5’ leading to a little bit of space for Jonas to have a shot on goal which was saved by their keeper. At the 7’mark, Jayden received the ball on the right wing and looked for Dan, who had pushed across from the left wing. Jayden played a lovely ball in behind the last line and Dan, with his legs pumping, steamed onto the ball. He sized up the situation quickly and slotted the ball past the keeper just inside the far post for Blackstone’s first goal. The Blackstone supporters erupted and the team were stocked. We were back on even terms and the team were starting to play the way they had all season. The next few minutes continued the same way and while possession was shared between the two teams, most of the game was in our attacking half with our fantastic defensive backline cutting off all Rivers attacking raids. At the 13’mark, the Rivers Baptist defensive line attempted to clear the ball out. Dan intercepted the clearance and saw that the keeper was out from his line. Quick as a flash, Dan struck the ball up and over the keeper from well outside the 18 yard box and into the back of the net! Blackstone were now in the lead 2-1. The Gorrie brothers then came on from the bench and had immediate impact. At the 17’mark, Jeremiah made a trademark run for goal and shot on goal that was saved by the keeper. Blackstone continued to control the game through to half time and both teams came off for a well-earned break.
Blackstone started the second half the same as we finished the first. At the 29’mark Jeremiah featured again with a shot on goal and was denied again by a good save from the keeper. At the 34’mark, Lachlan shot for goal and again the Rivers keeper made a fantastic save to keep the score at 2-1. At the 41’mark Jeremiah laid the ball back to Josh at centre mid who had time and space. Josh struck the ball but it went wide of the goal. This is where the momentum started to change. For the next nine minutes, Rivers made raid after raid at the Blackstone goal to force the game into extra time. Our defence was outstanding despite Rivers winning 4-5 corners putting pressure on Blackstone to clear the ball out. Buster made three fantastic saves, two of these from corners. The first save came from a congested box with players from both teams trying to win the ball. Rivers had a clear shot on goal but Buster plucked the ball out of the air with a quick move to his right. The next save came from one of the corners when he took a two handed take high above his head in a pack of players. The final save came again from another corner when he charged out with a two fisted punch to clear the ball out of the goal area. With Blackstone hanging grimly on, the ref blew fulltime and the Blackstone supporters went wild. We won!!!! All of the team were exhausted but very happy with the result.
At the presentation, the team collected medals for both Premiers and Champions.
As the coach, I am very proud of this group of kids. They are a fantastic bunch and a pleasure to coach. Can’t wait for next season to start!