It took a while, but Springbank finally muscled its way to grand final glory late in Saturday’s third quarter.
Buninyong, in search of its first senior premiership since 2002, controlled the match at stages in the first half before the Tigers wore down the resistance to take a 23-point lead into the final change.
It was Tyler George’s sprint, gather and sensational goal from the pocket that lifted the yellow and black army on the stroke of three quarter time.
That major – in front of the large gathering of Bombers fans – was the last of four-straight conversions from the Tigers that broke the back of their rivals in that third quarter.
Joint-coach Jake Bridges called for a fightback from the Buninyong players in the last quarter. He told them it would be a quarter of football they would remember forever if they could mount a comeback to snatch the flag.
But it was not to be.
Emerging star forward Joel Ottavi closed the gap to 17 points with a clever snap in the opening minutes of the term, but again the Tigers had the answers.
George responded with his second goal before a crucial eight-minute period ticked by without another Buninyong major.
Keelan Fejo then nailed a long set shot to close the lead to 16 points, before the Tigers ran away with the game.
They kicked the next three goals before Glen Phelps’ second of the day after the full time siren trimmed the end margin to 29 points.
Paul McMahon was a worthy winner of the best afield medallion for his starring role in attack for the Tigers.
He presented brilliantly all day and finished with six goals, one of which stemmed from a free kick and 50m penalty after a crunching contest on the wing.
McMahon’s mate Billy Driscoll also had a telling influence on the result through the middle and in attack. In a lively performance, Driscoll finished with three goals.
Joel Maher was named second best by the club for his contested ball efforts in the engine room, while Tim Malone, particularly in the first half, controlled things down back. Jaaron Mahar, Justin Simpson and Simon Quinlan were others to find their place among the best players, with George another that could easily have been added to that list for his display around the ground.
For Buninyong, the co-captains shone bright. Ned Gilbert was colossal, especially in the opening two terms, while Sam Turner booted two goals in a quality display.
Ottavi showed more signs of just how good he will be in the future with four goals, including a memorable piece of evasive work and long bomb in the second quarter.
Beau Guest also had an influence on the game, while young backman Jack Robertson was named second best by the club for his job on McMahon.
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