MORE than any other player at Sunbury, Pat Cariss is a barometer.
So it was fitting Saturday’s BFL grand final begin with a clear and decisive hit out from the big ruckman.
Cariss has experienced as much disappointment in grand finals as any player at the eastern Lions so was as jubilant (and relieved) as anyone when the final siren sounded at Eastern Oval.
“Finally!” he said. And then repeated it. “Finally!”
It is fair to say that Cariss found Redan’s Nick Bye an extremely difficult opponent last year.
This time Cariss was the clear victor, giving his midfielders first use and depriving Redan champions like Jarrod Edwards easy possession.
“Playing against ‘Sticks” (Bye) it is a wrestle,” Cariss said.
“This time I studied tapes of how he played and did things a bit differently. It seemed to work.
“Our plan for the day was to keep the ball away from ‘Jezza’ (Edwards).
“You know he’s always going to have at least 20 touches but you have to stop him from getting 30 or 40.”
Some Sunbury players looked to be celebrating well before the end of the game. Not Paddy though.
“I know we were out on our feet in that last quarter. I only started to enjoy it when the siren went,” he said.
Yesterday there were further honours for Cariss.
He won Sunbury’s best and fairest with 42 votes, ahead of Jay Cheep 41 and Jamie Lobb on 38.
Michael Coleman and Brett Chambers tied 37 for equal fourth, followed by Ross Sleight on 35.