BFL: Darley skipper achieves desire to gop one up on the Cobras

CLOSE CALL: Young Bacchus Marsh forward Blake Graham has a near miss with Darley namesake Brian Graham.
CLOSE CALL: Young Bacchus Marsh forward Blake Graham has a near miss with Darley namesake Brian Graham.

Darley captain Shane Page says watching Bacchus Marsh secure last year’s Ballarat Football League premiership had spurred him to again achieve the ultimate this season.

“It hurt seeing Bacchus Marsh win.”

OFF AND RUNNING: Darley's Jacob Zeestraten keeps his feet and charges away, while all grounded Liam Noonan can do is watch on. Pictures: Dylan Burns.

OFF AND RUNNING: Darley's Jacob Zeestraten keeps his feet and charges away, while all grounded Liam Noonan can do is watch on. Pictures: Dylan Burns.

Page has been at Darley for five years and in that time become well and truly embroiled in the arch-rivalry between the crosstown clubs.

So to go one-up on Bacchus Marsh is big for the highly competitive Page.

COVERED: Darley key defender Darren Leonard mans up on Rhys McNay in what was close to a faultless display by the Devils two-time premiership player.

COVERED: Darley key defender Darren Leonard mans up on Rhys McNay in what was close to a faultless display by the Devils two-time premiership player.

Darley won its first BFL in 2015 and Bacchus Marsh broke its drought last year.

Page said he knew Darley faced a test after losing the toss, allowing Bacchus Marsh to kick with a wind which had had a decisive impact on the reserves and under-18.5 outcomes.

Shane Page

Shane Page

“We knew we’d be up for a fight in the first quarter.”

He said shutting down Bacchus Marsh with stoppage after stoppage had been crucial and a key to keeping the Cobras goalless for the term.

ALL IN TOGETHER: Brian Graham takes a glance towards the camera during the singing of the national anthem pre-match.

ALL IN TOGETHER: Brian Graham takes a glance towards the camera during the singing of the national anthem pre-match.

“The more restarts the better.”

Despite a quiet opening half in which Bacchus Marsh managed just one goal, Page said Darley was always expecting Bacchus Marsh to come out hard in the third term.

And it did.

Page said importantly Darley was able to respond quickly.

Bacchus Marsh managed just 1.5 in a resurgence before Darley was able to steady things down and again put the Cobras at an arm’s length.

Page said he believed that if the Devils maintained the heat Bacchus Marsh would crack.

This is effectively what happened.

While Bacchus Marsh did manage to match Darley on the scoreboard in the last quarter, it did little more than add respectability to the scoreboard.

Page said another premiership was massive for the club.

He said it felt even better than the first flag.

Page is best known as a defender – a role in which he has represented the BFL.

He again spent time in the backline, but used the wide open spaces of Mars Stadium to push forward at every opportunity.

Coach Heath Scotland was big in his praise for Darley’s defence and the work of the likes of Page.

He said there was no doubt the backline’s ability to shut down Bacchus Marsh had been the foundations of the grand final.

It was a similar story in the Devils’ 2015 premiership win.

On that occasion they conceded just 3.5 to North Ballarat City.

Over the the two grand finals Darley has kept the opposition goalless for three quarters.

Darley kicked 11.18 (84) against North Ballarat City at the Eastern Oval.