FINALLY, for Sunbury, redemption.
The Ballarat Football League’s bridesmaid of recent years held aloft the 2012 premiership cup, after winning Saturday’s grand final at Eastern Oval in emphatic style.
The eastern Lions stunned Redan with a nine-goal opening term on the way to a 23.17 (155) to 15.8 (98) victory. In the process they more than made amends for their two point loss at the same venue last year.
“To lose last year by two points in my first year at Sunbury, and then to win by about 10 goals, it shows how much the group has improved,” Sunbury coach Rick Horwood said.
“The word around at the start of the year was that we would slide after last year. We had our doubters so it is pleasing for the playing group.”
The eastern Lions kicked the first four goals of the match in the opening 10 minutes of play: two came directly from the boot of key forward Simon Clarke while the fourth he gave off to Xavier Linton.
Redan did not get onto the scoreboard until the 12th minute (Damien Horbury converted a free kick) but the men in blue continued to play the better football, particularly Clarke, Jamie Lobb and ruckman Pat Cariss.
Dean Chester provided some spark for Redan in the second quarter but Sunbury still outscored the western Lions by seven goals to four in the second term. Clarke kicked a further two while Jay Cheep illustrated the ease with which the eastern Lions scored when he stepped around a Redan defender for the easiest of goals midway through the term.
By half time Sunbury enjoyed a 62-point lead after dominating play. The margin was 71 points at the final change.
Redan showed some character in the final quarter, kicking five goals to three, although the western Lions were never in a position to threaten.
Sunbury midfielder Jay Cheep was awarded the VCFL Medal for the best player on the ground, however the medal could have gone to any number of Sunbury players.
Simon Clarke was dominant in the forward line with seven goals, Ross Sleight came out better than even in his battle with Redan champion Jarrod Edwards, while Jame Lobb was outstanding, both as a playmaker in the middle and an effective small forward.
Ruckman Pat Cariss was also outstanding, winning his duel against Brett Dickinson and Nick Bye, while defender Brett Chambers played an almost faultless game at full back.
For Redan Dean Chester kicked four goals, while Tom Lamb and Blair Whelan offered something for the beaten Lions. It was Sunbury’s first premiership since 2004.
Sunbury: 23.17 (155) Redan 15.8 (98)