Parrots’ surprise triumph

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Parrots’ surprise triumph

Winning team: the Leongatha Parrots Under 18s.

By Isaac McCallum
LEONGATHA’S Under 18 team has taken out this year’s 2010 Gippsland League premiership with a 37 point win over the previously undefeated Traralgon side on Saturday.
The boys travelled to Morwell full of high spirits, despite the fact that their opposition had not dropped a game since the season before, and had beaten them just two weeks earlier.
But the Parrots controlled the game from quarter time onwards, to take the club to football success.
With key senior players returning, it almost seemed as if Leongatha were leaving the job to too few in the opening term, and Traralgon were taking advantage.
The well drilled Maroons side was working hard together, and they were able to blitz through tackles and find loose team mates whenever they went forward.
They made the Parrots look slow, and were catching them on the hop at every chance they got.
That was until three key moments swung the match back in favour of the underdogs.
The first was from Leongatha’s Mitchell Elliott, who misread a swirling high ball that went over his head and started bouncing towards the goals.
Two Traralgon players charged past as he turned around, and it seemed as though another goal was going the way of the Maroons.
But Elliott launched himself and clung onto the gathering Traralgon forward and did not let go, earning a free kick for holding the ball.
Just minutes later the eventual best on ground Sam Sperling, found himself against three Traralgon players and needing to lay a tackle.
Instead the livewire forward avoided a would-be shepherd and dove full length to affect a smother, the spilling ball falling to a running team-mate.
Tim Burgess provided the third inspiring moment, chasing down a player who looked certain to be starting another Traralgon drive from the Leongatha half forward line.
Burgess earnt a free kick and used the ball well, setting up Nick Nagel, who sent the Parrots on their way.
At half time they had wrestled back the momentum, and the lead, as they stormed 25 points clear.
The Parrots again pushed ahead in the third term, kicking four goals to one and stamping their authority firmly on the game.
Traralgon have for so long been the big kid in the Under 18s playground, pushing around all their opponents and doing things easily, and when the Parrots made things hard for them, they simply did not have an answer.
At three quarter time Glenn Sullivan congratulated the guys for their effort so far, but also warned that the job was not done.
They did ease off in the last quarter, but they still did not allow the opposition too much room to move and their only goal of the quarter proved the sealer.
The celebrations were emphatic once the siren sounded; with the whole team piling in together to celebrate what has been a very long and tough year.
As the players had finished their hugs and high-fives, coach Glenn Sullivan got the attention of the group and congratulated them on their performance.
Again, in the room, he talked to them one last time.
“I’m so proud of you guys, we had a plan and you stuck to it. You’re going to remember this for the rest of your lives,” he said.
“The next step for you guys is a senior premiership, and I know it’s not too far away.”
The coach then thanked the players, helpers, parents and other members of the Leongatha fraternity for their efforts before turning his attention to the hard luck stories.
“In any grand final there’s always disappointment, and there’s four guys here today that deserve a special mention,” he said.
The four players were Sean Westaway, who broke his collar bone in the last game of the senior year, Dan Gordon, who came up from the Under 16s to fill in all year, Lochie Sperling who did the same and Justin Pellicano who dislocated his shoulder mid way through the year.
The players then celebrated together with their families and friends, remembering what will always be a great memory in their lives.

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Posted by SiteAdmin on Sep 21 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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