Fitting finish in the grand final sees Hectorville win the big dance by 2-points in a classical match against St Pauls Old Scholars
By Lachy Jones
Hectorville v St Pauls at Simonds Park It was a fitting finish to a 2020 season that was like no other. In the grand final for division 6, it was the team who was on top all year – the Hectorville Hounds – who took the honours for division 6 premiers, but it did not come without a fight from the runners up St Pauls, who followed up their scintillating back-end of the season with another strong performance on Saturday. It was wet and windy, perfect conditions for hard, contested footy, and what a contest it was. The Hounds appeared better suited and more ready for the occasion early, kicking the first four goals of the game while holding St Pauls goal-less in a dominant first term. But the challengers were not to be denied, fighting back with two goals of their own in the second quarter while keeping the Hounds goal-less. This meant the Hounds held a slight two-goal advantage heading into the main break, with the premiership quarter just around the corner. Everything they had worked hard for all year, from Hectorville’s almost-unbeaten year (St Pauls beat them in the closing round of the normal season by one point to give them their only loss) to St Pauls up and down year, came down to the final half of play. Both sides split two goals each in the third term, with the lead just eleven at the final change, setting up an epic final quarter with everything left on the line. St Pauls, with their backs against the wall and season on the line, had to put together a remarkable last quarter in order to upset Hectorville to take home the premiership. In poor conditions, it seemed almost impossible, yet St Pauls gave it their all. A four goal last quarter, almost doubling their score in the last quarter, was the fight back they needed, however it just fell short, as Hectorville kicked two goals themselves to edge out the third placed St Pauls by two points in a thrilling finish at the neutral Simonds Park. 8.9 (57) to 8.7 (55) was the final score, reminiscent of their close encounter in the final round, except with the Hounds winning instead of St Pauls. Angus Bressington was voted best afield in the grand final for Hectorville, an achievement worthy of recognition. Stewart Fincher, Dylan Kahl, Zane Donaldson and Jake Mazzone were also among the best for the Hounds, while Mazzone, Luke Broadbent and Zach Stephenson led the way in front of goals with two each for the winning side. Jordan Liseno, Anthony Alesiani and Matthew Liebelt were prominent for St Pauls in the valiant loss, while Riley Hendricks was the only player to reach multiple goals with two. The result sees Hectorville, deservedly, take home the premiership, in a season that was theirs to lose, losing just the one game all year. After a great 2019 that ended in finals heartbreak, they bounced back in fine fashion this year, even with COVID-19 restricting play for numerous months. St Pauls, on the other hand, enjoyed a great first year in div 6 after not competing in the division last year, and although they narrowly lost in the finale, there will be a lot of confidence and momentum for them to take into next year, in the hopes of winning the 2021 premiership.