Coach Travis Hodgson has no doubt the 2016 Ballarat Football League premiership can be the launching pad for a golden era for Bacchus Marsh.
With 16 of the team having graduated from the Cobras’ junior program, Hodgson says there is no question the bulk of this group is on board for the long-term – especially now that they have the taste for winning a flag.
“This is the start of something big.
“These boys have stuck with the club for their whole football life, going through some tough times. They’re not going to leave now,” he said.
While Hodgson was at the helm, putting on the polish to secure Bacchus Marsh’s first BFL flag, he also heaped praise on his predecessor and star premiership player Cam Richardson for laying the foundation over the previous few seasons and then staying as a pivotal on-field contributor.
Richardson was among the Cobras’ best – taking the mark of the day, kicking one of the goals of the day from the boundary line and then after some shaky shots on goal booting two timely majors either side of the three quarter time break.
Hodgson said one of the most rewarding aspects of the season had been the way the players had responded to a new game style.
“It took a while to learn, but they did everything they were asked.”
He said this development meant they were playing their best football when counted most at the end of the season.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys.
“All you can do as coach is prepare them as well as you can. It’s up to the 22 to deliver on the day.”
Hodgson said there were signs of early nerves on Saturday, but by the end of the day the Cobras had delivered their third comprehensive win of the finals.
“You can’t ask for any more than that from any team, especially such a young inexperienced team when it comes to finals.”
Hodgson said as well as a reward for the players, it was also satisfying to see what it meant to everyone else around the club – officials, volunteers, family members, supporters and the community as a whole.
He struggled for words to describe the post-match euphoric scenes on and off the field.
Hodgson said the raw emotion shown was beyond words.
Club president Adam Sutherland, who played in the Cobras’ last grand final when it lost to Sunbury in 1999, provided one of the most exhilarating moments in a packed changeroom when he forced his way into the middle of the player group, grabbed the premiership cup and held it aloft.
With the noise already at fever pitch, the decibels went up another notch as Sutherland demonstrated what it meant to those longstanding club people who worked hard over many years to put the Cobras in the premiership window.
And now that they are there, his actions reinforced Bacchus Marsh unquestionably wants to stay at the top and taste the success again.