Devils kick its way to a stunning final-quarter comeback to win the Division 3 grand final

Leadernews 16 Sept, 2014

HOW do you make sense of the nonsensical?

Wantirna South was sleeping soundly beneath six feet of East Burwood Reserve turf at three-quarter time in the Division 3 grand final on Sunday.

The Devils line-up had been ­outplayed by a disciplined ­Templestowe outfit all afternoon.

The Dockers shut down the Devils’ run, harassed them into mistakes and looked for all the world like a premiership team.

The score at the final break, Templestowe’s 7.6 (48) to Wantirna South’s 2.10 (22), told the story of the Dockers’ suffocating pressure to that point.

The Devils had missed chance after chance, most of them gettable.

They were low on confidence and in need of a spark.

A single Templestowe goal would have snuffed out their chances.

But, instead, something spectacular happened.

Instead, there was something to rouse the Wantirna South faithful.

Instead, the ball finally bounced the Devils’ way, right into the path of Scott Edgcumbe who scrubbed home a goal in the opening minute of the final term.

It was a fire starter for Wantirna South.

Two minutes later, Brad Hutchinson had a set shot from deep in the pocket and he was celebrating as soon as he struck it.

In a flash, the Devils were within 14 points, and they had what they’d been missing all day: momentum.

Andrew Goland was up next, snagging a beauty from the pocket and, when Brent Walker drilled a set shot from 40m, the Devils were within a kick and the final term was just 10 minutes old.

The game was in the balance and for 10 minutes the two sides battled back and forth, half chances and tough tackles on either side.

Big full-forward Daniel Beddome earned a free kick and put it away and the ­Devils had a lead they were never going to relinquish.

Anthony Papa’s launch from the 50m arc a minute later made sure of it, giving them a nine-point lead the Dockers couldn’t reel in.

The Devils party starts Picture: Janine Eastgate

Having kicked 2.10 in the first three quarters, the Devils kicked six goals straight in the final term to decide the match.

The final siren sounded and the Devils had achieved what seemed beyond them, claiming the Division 3 premiership, 8.10 (58) to 7.8 (50).

Wantirna South’s Brad Hutchinson was awarded the best on ground medal.

CLARK SAYS IT WAS ‘SOMETHING SPECIAL’

Wantirna South coach Matt Clark said it took a special effort for his side to come back and win.

“I was as concerned as anyone out there,” he said.

“We just didn’t play the game on our terms. To Templestowe’s credit, and they deserve full credit, they won the footy.

“They used it well. They denied us opportunities.

“We responded when we needed to, and good sides do that, but you don’t want to do it too many times. It’s a small window of opportunity.”

Clark said his side needed a good deal of luck to do it.

“When you miss that many, you start to doubt yourself. The guys were pulling the trigger from too far away,” he said.

“We had to work through the corridor a lot more. We got the ball in the corridor and we were able to make it a man-on-man contest.

“We got it on our terms.”

He praised the Devils’ defensive efforts in the final quarter to match their six-goal burst.

“I thought some of the desperate efforts down back were massive,” Clark said.

“It’s hard work getting in front, but you can lose it straight away.

“Some of the one-percenters, the smothers, the tackles. Just putting them under pressure.

“They weren’t under scoreboard pressure all day. It comes in a wave. It happened to us last year.

“I’m proud of the guys.”