By Beth Newman
They’ve felt the pain the last two years, but it was third time lucky for Palm Beach, claiming the 2013 Allied Pickfords Cup, 18.19 (127) – 12.11 (83).
The Lions’ experience showed in the decider, as they burst out of the blocks.
Big man, Bryce Perry-Bolt, snapped back into form at exactly the right time, with an incredible five first quarter goals for the Lions, finishing with seven for the day.
Despite that, Palm Beach held only a ten-point lead at the quarter break, with Springwood getting the wind in the second.
The Pumas lifted in the second term, but couldn’t quite convert.
James Pennycuick slotted two late in the term to keep them in it, but a goal to Perry-Bolt on the siren, gave the momentum back to the Lions.
It was an arm wrestle in the third, with 11 scoreless minutes, before Kristan Higgs broke the stalemate.
With a 32-point lead going into the last quarter, an injury depleted Lions side stood strong kicking three of the four final term goals, as a tough day took its toll on both teams.
Palm Beach’s casualty list grew ever longer as the game went on with, Aaron Davis taken to hospital with a knee injury, Jackson Emblem breaking his jaw Blake Schneider suffering a broken foot and captain, Angus Munro, injuring his ankle.
With the breeze at the Pumas’ back in the final quarter, Clint Kelly was switched back and Cresswell said he was feeling the nerves as the injuries mounted.
“I knew they had the wind in the last quarter, so obviously we put Clint Kelly down back, because he’s a steadying hand and experienced player and he really stood fast for us.” he said.
Cresswell said the win was just desserts for the Lions, who have focused on keeping cool heads this season.
“They can sometimes cop a lot of unwarranted criticism and we’ve really worked hard on our discipline,” he said.
“We’ve been challenged a few times this year and to the boys’ credit, they really stood fast,” he said.
“I’m just proud of what they’ve been able to do.”
It was those cool heads that stood up for the Lions in the match, with players like Carroll and Kelly setting the example.
Palm Beach’s half-back line was once again ruthless, with Angus Munro and David Manning providing plenty of speed and counter attack.
They butchered their opportunities as they have all year, but the Pumas couldn’t capitalise on theirs either.
Palm Beach’s Dean Shegog clearly won the ruck battle, shouldering the load as he has all year, giving his midfielders silver service all afternoon.
Jesse Derrick was sensational on the half-forward flank, before moving to defence, in a best on ground performance.
Derrick has been one of the most consistent Lions this season, and capped off that season with his first premiership for the club, continuing a strong family association with Palm Beach.
Cresswell, in his first premiership win since 1991, said he was proud of the mettle his side showed, after making the final the hard way.
“Because we’ve got so many new players in the club, the more games we played together was better for us,” he said.
“We have a huge amount of respect for Tony King and Springwood I love the way they play their footy.”
As composed as Palm Beach looked, the Pumas seemed overawed by the occasion, which proved a major learning curve for the minor premiers.
They had injury worries of their own, highlighted by a courageous effort by Albert Proud, who played out the game without pain relief after a collarbone injury in the first.
While the Pumas were devastated they couldn’t raise the cup at Giffin Park today, coach, Tony King, said he was looking at the bigger picture after the result.
“I’m not here gutted,” he said.
“They’re gutted but I can see what gains they’re going to get out of today.
“We’ve got to step up next year.”