What is it about the Punt Rd Oval that produces fairytales?
First Richmond and on Saturday the Goulburn Valley under-18s.
Behind at three-quarter-time of the interleague clash with Ballarat, up stepped key forward Liam Tenace, with three straight goals to swing the contest the GV’s way.
Ballarat hit back and was within a kick with just minutes left, but Mooroopna’s Kai Madgwick kicked a sealing goal to lock up glory for the GV, running out 10-point winners.
Coach Jason Wells said his side had impressed across the ground all day, but capitalising inside 50 was always going to determine its fate.
‘‘Early on the conditions were a bit slippery, but I think the standard was really good, even though we probably overdid the handball a bit,’’ Wells said.
‘‘We were able to get forward, but didn’t make the most of our opportunities.
‘‘At half-time we changed a few things so we weren’t bombing away entering the forward 50, we tried to give our forwards the opportunity to lead. We were plus 15 in inside 50s, but we just couldn’t convert.’’
Echuca’s Tenace was the clear match-winner, with his four second-half goals announcing himself as a massive factor going forward.
‘‘At three-quarter-time, we knew we had the leg speed to run out the game, we just needed to use the ball better inside 50,’’ Wells said.
‘‘And we were lucky enough that Liam could clunk about four marks inside 50, the key forward doesn’t get any smaller as the game goes on and he was able to kick three goals.
‘‘He had a fantastic day, he was manhandled a fair bit and probably could have had a few more and he’s looking like a very good senior footballer.’’
Zac Alderton was also among the GV’s standouts, slicing and dicing through the middle of the park playing an unfamiliar half-back role.
Kyabram duo Daniel Lawson and Harry Browning-Briese shone in defence in a worrying sign for the rest of the competition, while Robert Paradzayi and Tyreece Collison also impressed.
Wells said the entire experience had been special for the promising youngsters.
‘‘We went down Friday night and had dinner together and had breakfast in the morning and then wandered down to Punt Rd,’’ he said.
‘‘The bus trip down was really quiet, it was probably the most reserved group I’ve seen and I was a little bit worried.’’