HEYFIELD scored a shock victory against raging flag favourite Rosedale in Saturday’s North Gippsland football grand final.
Nic Dinsdale, one of the Kangaroos’ youngest players at 16 years of age, led from the front as he worked hard all day, throwing his body on the line and emerging from the bottom of packs lighting up the forward line and midfield in a best-on-ground performance.
Dinsdale was not alone in a true team effort as the Kangaroos won the game when it was in the balance during the final term.
After trailing by 16 points at half-time, the Kangaroos kicked three unanswered goals in the third quarter to lead by one point at the final change.
The Blues fought hard to regain a 13-point lead early in the final term, but it wasn’t enough as the Kangaroos kicked consecutive majors on their way to claiming their first win in four encounters against the Blues, 14.9 (93) to 10.15 (75).
The Kangaroos registered the first major through coach Adrian Cox which was quickly followed by another before Rosedale responded through Ross McDermott.
Heyfield got the quick reply before McDermott was at it again, this time setting-up teammate Brad Caldwell.
A centring kick by Heyfield’s Jesse Bedggood set-up veteran Brett Szabo, however a 50 metre penalty for an indiscretion off the ball saw Bedggood slot through the Kangaroos’ fourth straight goal.
The Dowse brothers, Mitch and Nic, made an early impact of proceedings. Mitch directed traffic as he amassed possessions, setting-up many passages of play.
Two goals from Andrew Flanagan gave the Blues a 10-point buffer at the first break.
Dale Fleming broke through five minutes into the second term with the first major to the Blues.
The Kangaroos were hitting their opponents and the ball hard as they worked hard to contain the Blues’ run.
The Blues’ lead drew out to 22 points as the Kangaroos struggled to find the goals. The side’s only goal for the term came through Jesse Jackway as the Rosedale defence, led by Dom Keating and Jed Hickey, kept the Heyfield forwards in close check.
While it didn’t have the impact it would have liked on the scoreboard, Heyfield had began to win a number of crucial contests around the ground. Playing man-on-man, the Kangaroos held the ball tight and shut down Rosedale’s run.
That continued in the third term with the match appearing to turn in the Kangaroos’ favour, while Rosedale failed to score a major for the term, registering five behinds.
Mitch Dowse drew the deficit back to 11 points following his first major.
Cox began to make his mark as the Kangaroos found themselves a man up following the yellow carding of Rosedale’s Jeremy Reid for a punch to an opponent’s head. Dinsdale only added to the Blues’ headaches with his major bringing the margin back to four points.
Kanagroos defender Jordon McMillan worked hard to keep McDermott in check as he threatened to cause more damage in front of goal, but McMillian, Daniel Brown and Jesse Leeds worked tirelessly to set-up Kangaroos attacks.
There was no questioning the desperation. Dinsdale’s tackle in the goal square stopped a guaranteed Rosedale major, while the Blues’ Craig Bourne took a courageous mark moving back with the flight of the ball to halt the Kangaroos’ run forward.
But it was the Blues’ missed opportunities in front of goal which left the door ajar for the Kangaroos, who were not content in lying down.
Cox lifted his intensity, coming up with the ball time and time again, while the Dowse brothers and Nic Dinsdale were ball magnets. Brenton Dinsdale also stood-out as Heyfield began to dominate the play.
Chris King’s captain’s goal ended a run of six consecutive behinds for the Blues to begin the final quarter before a Fleming major after a free kick took the margin out to the 15 points.
Nic Dinsdale wore down different players in a desperate passage of play, which led to Cox swooping on the ball and finding Mitch Dowse who added another goal for the Kanagroos. Jack Woodland levelled scores with this major before Matt Bedggood put the underdogs in front.
Rosedale responded as Flanagan out-muscled his opponent Brown to again level scores.
Jesse Bedgood kicked two goals and Jesse Jackway one during a five-minute purple patch for the Kangaroos which left the Blues flat-footed.
Heyfield’s youngsters were instrumental in the side’s victory. Its rotating engine room of the Dowse brothers, Dinsdale, Josh Neille, Dave Kelly and Shaun Humphries presented all day, with Bedggood the barometer of the side’s charge on the scoreboard in the final term.
The Kangaroos defence, led by Jesse Leeds, had reassurance when under stress – whether it was Brown’s timely spoils, Brenton Dinsdale dropping back into marking contests or McMillan on the overlap for a relieving hand pass.
Rosedale challenged with its characteristic midfield control, fast breaks and, at times, adventurous ball-sharing by the forwards, particularly Fleming, McDermott and Flanagan as the side looked to remain in the contest in the dying stages of the match.
SALE City scored a 20-point win over minor premier Heyfield in the reserves grand final.
SALE City’s thirds team completed a near-perfect season to defeat Traralgon-Tyers United in the grand final.
For more read Tuesday’s Gippsland Times.
To see more images from grand final day, head to www.gippslandtimes.com.au/multimedia