Sharks just too good in Nepean Grand Final



Picture: Andrew Hurst

SORRENTO capped off an outstanding 2017 MPNFL Nepean Division season on Saturday when it led all afternoon to beat Frankston Bombers by 14 points.

Sorrento controlled the match on its terms for all but 15 minutes in the third quarter to win 13.5 (83) to 10.9 (69).

Had Frankston Bombers got its nose in front in the third quarter, the result could have been different. However, as they did throughout the match, the Sharks had the right answers when it mattered most.

Kicking with the aid of the wind to Frankston Park’s Kars St end, together with a parochial crowd riding them to an upset victory, Frankston really challenged in the ‘premiership quarter’ to bring the scoreboard to 56 to 49.

One of many of Sorrento’s young, local, talented stars, Marcus Gardner, then booted his first goal for the afternoon and Chris Dawes booted his second to stretch the margin back out to 19 points at the last change.

Coming home with the aid of the breeze, the Sharks kicked the first two goals of the final quarter, both by Nick Corp, to lock away the victory and yet another premiership cup.

To its credit, Frankston continued to rally and booted the final three goals of the game – by then, it was far too late.

Immediately after the match, exclusively to The News, premiership coach Troy Schwarze announced that “it was a great way to go out”.

“I’m done Toey. It’s been a great season and today was a great day, but I’m shot and there’s no better way to retire,” Schwarze said.

“It’s always tough to go into a grand final with the weight of expectation that you’re just going to win but the boys were just superb today.

“We kept at our task, played the way we wanted, didn’t get unsettled and won the match,” Schwarze said.

The coach was spot on. The difference between the two sides was skill execution.

Frankston Bombers continually looked rushed when in possession of the footy and turned the footy over countless times with poor execution by foot.

Only Sam Fox and Ryan Marks-Logan consistently used the footy well by foot, although skipper Mitch Bosward worked tirelessly. Adam Pasquill was also outstanding in the ruck, replacing the injured Ryan Kitchen. He certainly broke even with Ryan Williams, who has been fantastic for the Sharks this season.

Sorrento’s use of the footy was first class.

Skipper James Hallahan was close to best on ground given his ability to win his own footy, break away from stoppages and hit up targets with deadly accuracy.

On the receiving end of that more times than not was best on ground Leigh Poholke, who finished with six goals.

In the middle, Luke Tapscott was a bull while young stars in Zac Byrns, Shannon Gladman, Chad Harris, Jay Blair and Dan Hickey showed tremendous maturity and skill through the middle and around the ground.

Leigh Treeby’s forward pressure, along with the agility and versatility of Jayden Tompkins and the leadership of Chris Dawes ensured that Sorrento converted a score from the majority of its forward entries.

There has been a question mark on Sorrento’s defence all season, which is something that has always fascinated me.

Daniel Grant is arguably the most skilful player by foot in the comp, Tyrren Head never loses a contest, Danny Stephenson uses the footy masterfully, Aaron Paxton is one of the most dour defenders in the competition, James Brigden is a team of the year full back and Ryan Potter and Nick Marsten can play tall or small – as a collective they were outstanding on Saturday.

It was a great day for the Sorrento Football Club, given it won the Reserves Premiership against Rosebud 8.3 (51) to 5.12 (42).

The Sharks led by six goals at half time but Rosebud booted four goals to one in the second half.

In the Under 19s, Red Hill won its first ever Under 19s premiership, winning in extra time to beat Somerville 9.6 (60) to 7.6 (48).

First published in the Mornington News – 19 September 2017


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