Lion kings unbeaten

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
SWFL president Barry Tate congratulates Lions trio David Newman, John Baggetta and Jonathon Fenwick.
Camera IconSWFL president Barry Tate congratulates Lions trio David Newman, John Baggetta and Jonathon Fenwick.

Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault completed an undefeated season in the SWFL after cruising to a 9.11 (65) to 4.12 (36) grand final win over a threadbare Eaton Boomers at Hands Oval on Sunday.

The Boomers, who are renowned for their potent forward line, had an afternoon to forget against the Lions.

Booting 10 consecutive behinds up until the three-quarter-time break, they did not register a goal until the second minute mark of the final term, when Graham Jetta converted from 20m out directly in front.

By then, the Lions had well and truly knocked them on the canvas, with their uncompromising tackling and tenacious running denying them any opportunity to get back into the contest.

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Despite Tim Yarran’s unfortunate absence due to a nagging ankle injury, the league leaders barely skipped a beat from the opening bounce.

It was a nightmare start for the Boomers, who went forward only twice in the opening 19 minutes of the game.

Such was the ferocity of the Lions at ground level, the league leaders were able to hit the scoreboard hard early, with goals to Kristin Thornton and Ben Musitano putting them well on top.

Trailing by 23 points at quarter time, the Boomers returned to the field and enjoyed their best passage of play.

Unfortunately for them, this endeavour did not make inroads into the ballooning deficit.

With Josh Bowe and Ethan Maguire hurling themselves into each contest, the Boomers routinely entered their forward 50, however their field kicking overall was atrocious.

After soaking up 11 minutes of sustained pressure, the Lions managed to execute a quality piece of transitional football, with Thornton gobbling up a strong mark.

Thornton went back and calmly slotted a priceless goal, which really took the wind out of the Boomers’ sails.

Despite Thornton’s goal being the only major for the term, it really drove a massive psychological wedge between both sides.

The half time music might have died down once the third quarter got under way, but there was still one piper out in the middle of the ground – Lions livewire Zachariah Piper.

In a mesmerising three minute burst, Piper produced two classic grand final goals.

His first came courtesy of a Boomers turnover from Steven Jas, and after receiving a quick handball, a pacy Piper kicked truly from well beyond 50m.

But it was his second goal which had the crowd rising as one to applaud the loveable Lions ace.

After collecting the football on the wing, Piper successfully weaved his way through traffic with three bounces and slotted a clever finish from 45m out at the city end.

Riding a tidal wave of belief, the Lions heaped more misery on the Boomers for the remainder of the term, with their efforts often resulting in success, while the Boomers ended the term stuck on 0.10 (10).

Graham Jetta finally broke the goal drought for the Boomers at the second-minute mark of the final term, with Jarrod Humphries booting another one moments later.

However Piper had the final say, with his fifth goal at the 13-minute mark putting the icing on top of a satisfying premiership cake for the unbeaten league leaders.

Lions big man Jack Fletcher was awarded the Pike Medal for his solid performance against Boomers ruckman Brendan Page.

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