It was predicted four quarters would separate minor premiers Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault and reigning champions Eaton Boomers in the colts grand final.
But in reality it took one — the last one.
Trailing early in the final term, the Lions roared home with a pulsating six-goal finish to win the colts premiership by 27 points, 13.14 (92) to 9.11 (65).
Lion Ethan Hughes won the Trophies West Medal for his best on ground performance.
Only inaccuracy separated the teams at three-quarter time, with the Lions holding a slender threepoint lead courtesy of wayward kicking which plagued them for much of the match.
Less than a minute into the final term Eaton’s Mitchell Goff erased and replaced that advantage when he somehow rolled, tumbled and prayed through a bouncing ball from the boundary in the pocket.
Eaton was riding a wave of momentum, but Lions’ midfielders Jakub Roney and Jack Quinn and bustling forward Simon Green almost single-handedly swung the tide on the back of some individual pieces of brilliance.
Roney’s ferocious pressure in the forward line restored HBL’s lead before he launched skyward on the wing and pulled down one of the marks of the year.
Good for the first three quarters, the diminutive Quinn took the game by the scruff of the neck in the last, winning plenty possessions and several crucial clearances.
Inspired by his mates up the field, Green then stamped his mark, booting three of the next five goals to snuff out any possibility of a late challenge.
Not that any was forthcoming.
It was a brave and valiant Eaton team which spent all its energy inthe first term establishing a lead, matching the Lions’ intensity in the second and getting back on even terms in the third.
Lit by an electric three-goal term from Karl Collard, who seemed capable of absolutely everything with ball in hand, Eaton started brightly and bounded out to a 10-point lead.
But it didn’ t take Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault’s foot soldiers long to click into gear, with best on ground Hughes, Quinn, Jarrad Watson, and Brayden Prentice making their presence felt as the Lions fought back to even ground by half-time.
After falling three goals behind late in the third quarter, Eaton mounted a gutsy fightback on the back of goals to Josh Branchi and Thompson Skipworth and dragged the margin back to three points at the final change.But a tough finals’ campaign took its toll and the Lions ran over the top of a courageous but flagging Eaton to romp to grand final glory.
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