18’s Electrifying Premiership caps off a Powerful 2012

27th September, 2012

Well, what a season it was. Perhaps one of the most successful seasons the club has seen. We are in the midst of our club’s most successful period in our proud history with 3 Premierships in 3 seasons – with perhaps our most important coming this year with our under 18s finally taking out a Premiership after years of heartache, pressing claims for a Premier Division birth.

In a season in which the 18s dominated, it must not be forgotten how hard they worked for this success. The lasting image of the Southern Power pre-season program, was looking over to the under 18s as a senior player thinking, “geez, I’ve got it easy”. I don’t think I saw them kick a ball for the first 6 weeks, witnessing countless beep tests, tug-of-wars and shuttle runs. But nothing builds character and mateship like going through hell together. I can guarantee every single member of the successful under 18’s player would say it was well worth it, to drink from the Premiership Cup, and bring some sort of satisfaction for all the players who had come so close, only to fall at the last hurdle.

After going through the regular season with only one loss to their name, the Power boys were raging hot favourites to win their maiden Under 18s title. But a lack of game time in the weeks leading up to their first final showed, with a shock loss to Manly. Something like this could really rock a lot of clubs and see them crack under pressure and fail to recover, but their strength of character showed the following weak, beating Balmain in an arm-wrestle of an affair to book a place in the club’s 3rd Under 18s Grand Final.

But the 3rd times a charm isn’t it boys? After some early wayward kicking and conceding the first two goals, the Power boys pulled themselves together, refusing to give up to our arch rivals and hit back to be within a kick at quarter time. They got better as the match progressed with their key players getting their hands on the footy, and their tough pre-season was paying dividends at the business end of the season. First year player Liam Pollard and the experienced Fullback Matt Walsh were commanding down back, controlling the play and keeping the Wolves off the scoreboard. The classy pairing of Sharpe and Hamling proved damaging as the two racked up disposals, putting their team mates into space and clinching the momentum. Key forward and future star of the club Timmy Cashman had the final quarter kids dream of playing in a grand final, kicking a bag and sealing the game and going on to win the BOG medal.

But I think it was the lesser known players who stepped up and took the bull by the horns at pivotal times that got them over the line. Jackson put his body on the line and worked hard all day, coming up with big plays at pivotal times, first year player Aaron Jansson coming up with a great smother leading to a goal in the final quarter, Blewyleading up the ground and coming up with second efforts, and

Toby Hooker scoring just his second goal for the season in the biggest match of the year. These are just a few examples, but ultimately these plays were the difference in the end. Every player contributing and playing their role, to run over the top of our arch rivals in the final quarter. There’s no better feeling, it was well deserved so enjoy the moment.

It is a monumental win for the club in that under the current Sydney AFL by-laws, the Under 18’s side has now earned the right to play in the Premier Division Under 18’s competition against the cream of the Sydney AFL!

On the other hand, it was the Division One team that felt the heartache of falling one game short, for the second year running. With not many outside the club giving us any hope of knocking off the team who had gone all year undefeated, the camp was quietly confident they could come up with the upset of the year – and didn’t we come close!

A number of players were given big roles to shut down opposition players or inject themselves into the game in a big way, and in the most part they all delivered. It was a tough and physical game right to the final siren with both sides desperate to get their hands on the footy. The Power boys were right in it at half time, down by only 3 points, putting all the pressure on Manly. Unfortunately, the Power boys struggled to convert momentum into scoreboard pressure, giving up some quick goals with the wind to lead at 3-quarter time by 3 goals.

The final quarter was goal for goal, as the Power’s first grade continued to fight until the final siren showing great pride in the jumper. It was a long, tough season, with a large pool of players representing the Southern Power first grade side, and no one let the team or club down on the final day of the season. It’s a great achievement to have made two-straight grand finals since moving up a division, and the loss will keep us hungry over the off-season to go one better next year.

But if it wasn’t for everyone helping out off the field, and supporting all of our grades during the season, none of this success would have been possible. They are the glue of the club, and without them none of us would be able to whack on the boots and play with our mates each week. They’re the unsung heroes of the club – I won’t name names because I know I’ll leave someone out, but you all know who you are and they deserve all of the thanks in the world. Because of you, we get to do what we love every week, with the people we love.

3 teams playing finals, two grand final appearances, and one Premiership and second in the Club Championship – a great season all-round. Power in Unity!!

It’s been a Pleasure reporting for the Power this season, and I look forward to penning the weekend wrap-up come season 2013… Enjoy the off-season!

Adam Cook.

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