The inaugural season of the Victorian Blind Football League saw the Grand Final played at Action Indoor Sports – Tullamarine on October 12th, 2019.
The day started with an Exhibition Match to celebrate the season that was, followed by the Grand Final itself. The day saw over 150 spectators, players and staff participate in the festivities with many families and friends cheering on participants throughout the day.
Exhibition Match: St Kilda Saints Vs Bombers
The first match of the day saw the St Kilda Saints and Bombers go head-to-head in a fun-filled Exhibition Match. For the Saints, it was a tough pill to swallow as the Saints were looking in the box seat to join the Bulldogs in the Grand Final only three weeks prior. None the less, the game was high scoring, full of fun, care and love and most of all, was played in great spirits by all.
Much talk throughout the week suggested some guest appearances would suit up for each respective team. This turned out to be the case, as the Saints called upon Will Hipkin, a former Bombers player. The Bombers managed to lure Coach Anthony McDonald into the goggles for a brief stint in the last quarter!
The game provided over thirty goals with both sides hitting the scoreboard at regular intervals. For the Saints, Shannon Jones was everywhere up forward and was provided some great delivery inside the forward arc from Travis Zimmer and Ingrid Mckenna.
The Bombers side who have improved massively in recent times, saw the return of utility Scott Peucker, who dominated in the middle of the ground. In attack Adrian Smith converted in front of goal multiple times as a B1 scorer. Running small Peter Hyczka was also at his best for the Bombers.
Although the scoreboard was recorded, the purpose of the game was to play within the spirit of the game and to celebrate all personal and team achievements. Well done to all and we look forward to seeing you in 2020 for the second season of the VBFL!
Grand Final: Bulldogs Vs Hawthorn Hawks
Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were undefeated against the Hawks with an average winning margin of 74 points from three encounters. The Bulldogs came in with an undefeated record and a squad full of confidence. For the Hawks, they were slowly building from the 150-point loss in round one, as they gained momentum at the most crucial part of the year.
The first quarter provided a fast paced and intense contest as the Bulldogs managed to convert the first two goals of the game. The Hawks, who had majority of the fan base on the sidelines, managed to convert a goal against the run of play, resulting in a change in momentum. With this, the Hawks got their running game going through Ned Brewer-Maiga and John Boland finding plenty of the football. Resulting in the Hawks taking an eight-point lead into the first interval.
The second quarter proved to be a goal for goal affair with both sides taking the lead throughout the quarter. The Bulldogs managed to get on top with Jasper Steeds and Shaun Keath gathering plenty of the football. Jasper Steeds was able to convert on the scoreboard and provide the Bulldogs with a small margin going into the final moments of the quarter. Yet the Hawks faithful got behind the team and it showed as the Hawks players lifted a gear to convert two quick goals in the last minute of the quarter. Giving the Hawks a three-point lead at the main interchange.
The third quarter provided many tough contests as both sides defensive pressure was exceptional. However, the Bulldogs were able to take charge in the quarter as they used Jasper Steeds and Steph Holmes through the midfield. Many onlookers started to think the Hawks had run out of energy as David Gauci and his troops took the lead. Yet the Hawks managed to find some strength and respond with multiple goals to give them a five-point lead at the final break.
With the first three quarters providing a great spectacle for all, the last quarter was no exception. The Hawks, who were not only trialing and under pressure at the final break, they were also a man down with Chris Gould suffering an injury earlier in the game. Despite this, the Hawks were able to set Ned Brewer-Maiga up behind the football as a defensive midfielder, leaving John Boland to attack from the midfield. This worked wonders as the Hawks managed to kick the first three goals of the final term and take a comfortable margin into the second half of the final quarter. Bulldogs Jasper Steeds and Shaun Keath did everything they could to respond, yet the Hawks defense was not letting this one slip as time got the better of the Bulldogs. Resulting in the Hawthorn Hawks taking out the inaugural Victorian Blind Football League 2019 Premiership.
John Boland was awarded with the Best on Ground Medal as he converted eight goals from the midfield to set up the Hawks win. Notable mentions must go to Shaun Keath and Jasper Steeds from the Bulldogs who worked hard all day.
Bulldogs 3.1 6.3 10.3 12.7 (79)
Hawthorn Hawks 4.3 6.6 10.8 13.8 (86)
BUL Goals 5 Steeds, 3 Gauci, 2 Holmes, Keath
HAW Goals 8 Boland, 4 Brewer-Maiga, 1 Gould
Channel Nine Facebook video snapshot: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=585973511938897
Hawthorn Football Club article and video:
AFL Victoria would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners in the inaugural season of the 2019 Victorian Blind Football League. Many thanks to Action Indoor Sports – Tullamarine, Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, Hawthorn Football Club and St Kilda Football Club.