Hillbrook claims QIS North

Hillbrook Anglican School took out a thrilling Queensland Independent Schools final to claim its first John Downing Cup, beating St Columban’s College 9.4 (58) – 7.12 (54).

Hillbrook Anglican School took out a thrilling QIS AFL sportsready North Division final to claim its first John Downing Cup, beating St Columban’s College 9.4 (58) – 7.12 (54).

The decider went right down to the wire, with Hillbrook only taking back the lead in the last minute, courtesy of an Oscar Tooms goal.

Only minutes before, St Columban’s had broken through with a goal of their own, putting one hand on the cup.

There was only time left for one real attacking charge, and it was Hillbrook who took the clearance and Tooms who became the hero.

It was a dogfight between the two local rivals all afternoon and the win gave Hillbrook a semblance of redemption, after going down to St Columban’s in previous finals.

A strong wind had a bit of a say on proceedings, with St Columban’s kicking out to a 13-point quarter-time lead with that breeze on their back.

The Hillbrook side really took advantage of the gust in the second, kicking three goals to one to snatch the major lead.

Both sides had their fair share of turnovers, but strong defensive pressure meant those mistakes were nullified quickly.

 St Columban’s dominated the third quarter, but couldn’t convert, seemingly determine to take the win on points.

They had seven scoring shots to none to start the quarter, managing a 2.5 return and picking up a 15-point lead.

Hillbrook’s Reilly Williamson hit back in the shadows of three-quarter time, to reduce the margin to just five points at the final change.

They continued their momentum in the early stages of the fourth, kicking the first two goals, before Troy Hammond pegged one back for St Columban’s, as they clung to a two-point lead.

Tooms’ goal was the final punctuation mark on what was a nailbiting final, and hillbrook’s army of fans rejoiced as the siren blew.

St Columban’s Nick Haffenen was rewarded for his efforts all day, with the best on ground medallion.

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