BFL: Firing Tickner changes up game

Lake Wendouree held onto a six-point lead in the final term to snatch the Ballarat Football Netball League under 16.5 seniors premiership from top of the table North Ballarat City at Mars Stadium on Sunday.

In an arm wrestle between the competition’s two best sides, North appeared to have the Lakers’ measure until midway through the third quarter when Will Tickner turned the game on its head by converting two unanswered goals for the Lakers in six minutes. 

Less than two minutes later, Jordy Clarke added to the Lakers’ tally to push their lead out to eight points. 

Picture: Dylan Burns

Picture: Dylan Burns

While North Ballarat fought hard to regain control of the match, it could not capitalise on opportunities late in the final term to kick an equalising goal. 

The result was a disappointing end to a dominant season for North Ballarat, which only lost three games for the year by a combined total of 13 points. 

The Lakers’ game-changer Will Tickner received the Nathan Prince Award, while team mate Ned Nash was named best on ground.  

Following the comeback feat, Lakers coach Greg Spratling said North Ballarat had been the benchmark team all season and “far too good” for his group in their two previous outings this year.

He praised the opposition for its strength as a football club and the respect it commanded from the rest of the competition. 

But Spratling said, after being a losing grand final coach for the past two years, the Lakers had been able to make some changes ahead of the grand final that had worked in their favour.

Spratling said the forty-four “terrific young kids” from the two clubs demonstrated how the junior competition was thriving and the strength of the future for Ballarat football. 

Meanwhile, in the under 16.5 reserves grand final Bacchus Marsh defeated Lake Wendouree by nine points.  

Mount Clear claimed the premiership after a convincing 33-point victory over East Point in the under 14 seniors grand final.

North Ballarat defeated Sebastopol in the under 14 reserves grand final after taking the lead in a thrilling final five minutes.

Mount Clear took out the under 12 seniors premiership and North Ballarat had success in the under 12 reserves grand final.