Relentless and uncompromising all season, the Riverton-Saddleworth-Marrabel United Football Club again delivered when it counted the most, producing an emphatic 64-point trouncing of Mintaro-Manoora at Brinkworth Oval, in the NEFL season decider last Saturday.
With the season on the line, the Hawks toughest around the contest in the opening term set up a club-record third successive flag.
While the scoreboard displayed a different result, the official final score was RSMU 10.25 (85) defeated Mintaro-Manoora 3.3 (21)
The Hawks defence kept the Eagles scoreless in the opening term, and once the continuous rain came from half time, the result was beyond doubt, even though the margin at the long interval was 22 points.
The Eagles won the second term, kicked their total score for the game, 3.3 to a highly inaccurate 1.9 by the premiers.
In the first half Damian Hynes controlled the aerial duels up forward, while Hawks captain Brad Koster’s work ethic and skills in the wet earned him best on ground honours.
Ben Plueckhahn’s ultra-consistent season continued with another fine performance, while evergreen veteran James Vandeleur’s athleticism, balance and composure was pivotal across half back.
Coach Zack Hier had the luxury of using Patrick Clark as he required, while former Hamley Bridge and North Adelaide footballer Justin Schaninger was the top big man on the ground.
Jack Connell as a lead up forward finished with a game high three goals, while Martin Rohde kicked a pair of majors.
Twice Central District SANFL league premiership player a decade ago, Mintaro-Manoora utility Brad Currie, in his last game, was the Eagles’ best.
In his third losing Grand Final since 2010, Aaron Bevis displayed composure against the onslaught from the RSMU players.
Billy Sandow is still one of the most skillful footballers in this competition, continuing to display his touch and control in the wet weather.
While not in the 10 best players on the ground the efforts of Ashley Winders and Tyler Friebel were of note.
Birthday boy Ben Kerslake tried hard against the odds.
The Eagles three individual goal kickers were Chris McLean, who kicking the Eagle opening goal to the Blyth end of the ground from 50 metres in the second term, followed by Denis Redden and Billy Sandow.
What did we learn
RSMU are the complete package, they have an abundance of talent and can perform in any conditions.
What does this mean
As long as RSMU keep the nucleus of their squad together, expect them to be in the next couple of NEFL A Grade grand finals.
This streak has a few years left, if their form over the current season is any indication.
The Eagles have a number of mature players on their list and need to regenerate their squad.
Eagles coach Shawn Gibson:
“They had the score on the board – our bench was shot by half time – and the game was done once the rain came.
“They are pretty supreme.
“The first half was pretty good conditions, but we could wrestle any control through the middle.
“The delivery from the RSMU midfielder was in quick and first class, which made Hynes a dominant factor.
“They had a number of goal kicking options.
“The Hawks are certainly the yardstick of this competition. It is a credit to Zack and they are humble winners as well.”
Hawks coach Zack Hier:
“It was one of our best performances for the year, except for our goal kicking.
“We won’t play too many better games than that especially in those conditions.
“To have 35 scoring shots, you’d reasonable expect to kick at least 20 to 22 goals.
“It was very satisfying on a number of levels.
“(Ruckman Justin) Schahinger was unread as well, along with giving the midfielders plenty of service, he won heaps of the footy himself
“Our team defence was a key, and our backline was ruthless.