Redan became the first Ballarat senior team to lift the AFL Goldfields women’s premiership trophy after a five-point victory over East Point in Sunday’s grand final.
The Lions were quick to make an impact in the twilight spectacle at Mars Stadium with Lauren Harvey converting soon after the first bounce to create some early scoreboard pressure.
Redan's Tylah Bruhn kicked the second major, but missed opportunities in front of goal led to six behinds.
Still, the Lions managed to keep East Point scoreless in the first term for an 18-point buffer at the first break.
From there the Dragons worked their way into the game, limiting Redan’s scoring to just eight more points.
Zoe Wathen snapped a goal for East Point within minutes of the fourth term as darkness swept over the stadium and conditions became wet and slippery.
Despite chipping away at the margin while keeping Redan scoreless, the Dragons still trailed by five points with a goal as the siren sounded.
Redan coach Peter Forbes told The Courier his players had spoken about winning the flag since the start of the season after a tough loss in last year’s grand final.
“We worked really hard for it and I just can’t speak highly enough of them,” he said.
“The amount of effort they put in, it was the only result that would have been acceptable to them. They deserved every bit of it.”
Forbes said the intention had always been to take the game on early and build a defendable lead before the poor weather set in.
“Just their grit, they were first to the ball in that first quarter when the game was there to be won and it was hot. There was no way they were going to be denied the footy… it was an awesome performance,” he said.
“To East’s credit, once the weather came and it suited their game a bit more to bunch it up, they came back hard.”
With the occasion already a big enough adjustment, Forbes said replicating the grand final environment in training, including the stadium dimensions and ball colour, had helped keep his team unfazed on game day.
The Dragons have proved Redan’s biggest challenger all season and the only team to defeat the ladder leader. The three games East Point has dropped this year have all been to the premiers.
East Point coach Michael Colville heaped praise on his players after the game.
“You went out here, you never gave up and that’s all anyone could ever ask for, that you give 100 per cent and you did today, so be very proud of yourself,” he said.
“Hopefully we will come back bigger and better next year, come back here and have another chance.”
Redan 3.8 (26) defeated East Point 3.3 (21), with Redan’s Lilly Kerr awarded best on ground for her efforts.