Shalom snatch Townsville U18 grand final

The AFL Townsville ‘Farley Electrical’ Under 18 Grand Final was won in extraordinary circumstances last night at Tony Ireland No 2 Oval.

In a game played at breakneck speed, Shalom College caused a huge upset to come from behind and defeat a previously unbeaten Thuringowa Bulldogs by 8-points.

The Bulldogs – who looked in control for most of the game – led by 16-points with two minutess remaining, only to see Shalom slam on 3-goals in 90 seconds to take the title, 15.13 to 14.11.

The win sparked wild scenes as more than 100 Shalom students, teachers and supporters rushed onto the ground at the final siren to congratulate the players.

Clearly distraught by the loss, the Bulldogs players displayed outstanding sportsmanship after the game, forming an arm in arm circle with their opponents to congratulate them on their victory and acknowledge what was a truly amazing game.

After the Bulldogs lost their ruckman Michael Tink early in the game with a leg injury, undersized replacement James Markham took over kicking 7-goals in an outstanding display in which he was very unlucky to miss out on the Wes Knight medal.

That honour went to midfielder/forward Davin Ferreirra who’s clean hands at ground level and overhead helped set up many of Shalom’s forward entries.

Regular senior player Shaun O’Donnell and athletic half back/wingman Marley Hennessey were strong contributors for the Bulldogs, as was forward Ben Holden who kicked two of his three goals in the last quarter when the Bulldogs looked to have the game in their keeping.

For the eventual premiers, Anthony Pascoe was again outstanding in a variety of roles with his speed, agility, and precise long kicking causing headaches for his opponents.

Big forward Richard Birch was a strong marking target up forward and finished with 4 goals.

Those who witnessed the game will remember it for the speed of ball movement from both sides, with the Bulldogs desperately unlucky to lose, and a Shalom team, inspired by their many vocal supporters, never giving up.

The 2012 Grand Final proved to be a great advertisement for youth AFL football in Townsville.

Shalom College AFC   15.13.103

Goal Kickers: R. Birch 4, D. Ferreirra 2, J. Matthew 2, P. Yunupingu 2, T. Gaykamangu , B. White , C. Parry , L. Brown , R. Lee
Best Players: D. Ferreirra, A. Pascoe, R. Birch, L. Brown, M. Jentian

Thuringowa Bulldogs AFC   14.11.95

Goal Kickers: J. Markham 7, B. Holden 3, T. Keyes 2, S. O”Donnell , J. Drewitt
Best Players: J. Markham, M. Hennessey, S. O”Donnell, A. Newsham

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