What a week it has been for the Hastings Football Club.
After beating the Frankston Bombers in a memorable Nepean League Grand Final 11.15 (81) to 6.18 (54), as you would expect, the celebrations continued through the ensuring week and were felt by the whole community.
The Hastings community has always embraced the Hastings Football Club and the township celebrated as one following their first flag since 1995.
Premiership coach Brendan Dunne said the “premiership feeling” started to sink in on Monday.
“It wasn’t until we got together on Monday and watched the replay of the match that it really sank in,” Dunne said.
“To be truthful, I don’t remember much of the game, so to see it again and then take a walk up High Street Hastings and see tears of joy in supporter’s eyes, it was such a humbling feeling.
Dunne said on reflection that he was always confident that his side would win the flag.
“The type of footy we were playing, we didn’t think any team could beat us,” he said.
“Red Hill has been our bogy side and when we beat them in the Elimination Final, we gained a lot of self-belief from that.
“Leading into the finals, our form was great and the Frankston game in the final round was a dead rubber as far as we were concerned. We rested a few and tried a few things, which is what we achieved.
“That’s when we tried Luke Clark in the middle and sent Jay Austerberry back – both moves that had a significant impact in the finals.
“We also put it on a few blokes who had been out of form that needed to lift – they all did.
“Local youngsters like Jake Hewitt and Steven Robb really stood up and gained great self belief.
“Jamie Barnes, our fitness guy, had us going from November last year, all in preparation for making the 2016 Grand Final – the timing was perfect.”
And how was the feeling of winning a premiership?
“You hear players talk about winning a flag and I always thought they added a bit of mayo to the story and feeling. I can tell you it’s the best feeling you will ever have in sport – beating the best when it matters with your mates – it’s a feeling I’ll cherish forever,” Dunne said.
Dunne believes his side can improve again in 2017, which is a frightening proposition for other clubs.