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GDFL GRAND FINAL – BELL POST HILL vs. INVERLEIGH

Bell Post Hill (3rd) vs. Inverleigh (1st) 

The Gordon Oval – St Albans Reserve

Saturday, September 16, 2:15pm

Jayden Ettridge celebrates one of his six goals in Bell Post Hill’s grand final win over Inverleigh. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

BELL Post Hill has become the first team in more than 60 years to win four consecutive GDFL premierships after beating Inverleigh by 39 points in this afternoon’s grand final at The Gordon Oval, 17.2 (104) to 9.11 (65)

The Panthers success was their seventh in eight seasons, drawing comparisons with the great North Geelong team that dominated the top-flight Evelyn Hurst section with seven consecutive premierships between 1949-55.

Despite kicking into the breeze in the opening term, and losing to Luke Turner to a broken nose in the opening few minutes, Bell Post Hill jumped to a 22-point lead early in time-on thanks goals from grand final debutant Liam Meyrich, Jake Barlow after a 50m penalty, and star forward duo Nick Costello and Jayden Ettridge, who kicked six goals and claimed the AFL Victoria Medal as best-on-ground.

A one-handed mark from Mick Grozdanovski was followed by a successful shot on goal, but the Hawks found themselves facing a 17-point deficit at quarter time.

The second quarter started on the right note for Inverleigh when Casey Meehan kicked a classy banana goal, however Ettridge turned the game on its head with three goals in eight minutes to push the margin to 33 points.

A snap out of the pack by Panther Matt Lentini was quickly cancelled out by Whitley medallist Jak Kennedy Hunt’s first of the affternoon, but the Hawks were facing a mammoth task at half-time with the margin out to 31 points.

The two teams traded goals in the opening 15 minutes of the third term before a goal from Inverleigh’s Will Hamer was followed by Kennedy Hunt’s second and a set-shot by Ryan Soldic that sliced the margin to 19 points.

However, any momentum the Hawks hoped to take into the final term was halted by Ettridge’s sixth goals and the margin was 25 points at the final change.

After an arm-wrestle to open the final term, Robbie Logue dribbled through a goal for Inverleigh to make the margin 19 points, and when Caleb Bacely was reported and yellow carded less than a minute later, momentum appeared to be with the minor premier.

However, Costello found a steadier for Bell Post Hill with his second to again make the margin 25.

The wind was quite literally taken out of Inverleigh’s sails when Kennedy Hunt was forced from the ground after being sandwiched in marking contest halfway through the final term.

He was taken to hospital where he has a suspected punctured lung.

Goals that followed from Joel Page and two from Jake Barlow sealed the deal for the Panthers.

Twitter: @tom_king79

BELL POST HILL      4.2, 9.2, 12.2, 17.2 (104)

INVERLEIGH      1.3, 3.7, 7.7, 9.9 (63)

GOALS ; Bell Post Hill : J. Ettridge 6, J. Barlow 3, J. Page 2, N. Costello 2, L. Meyrich, M. Lentini, A. Sulics, M. Gavin

Inverleigh : J. Kennedy Hunt 3, M. Grozdanovski, C. Meehan, W. Hamer, R. Soldic, R. Logue, D. Grundell

BEST ; Bell Post Hill  : J. Ettridge, J. Barlow, T. Rabbas, C. Bacely, A. Fantella, R. Lovitt

Inverleigh : D. Grundell, B. Hutchinson, M. Best, J. Fiolet, N. Walsh, B. Cations

At The Gordon Oval – St Albans Reserve