Wimmera 21.15 (141) d North Central 11.11 (71)
WIMMERA Football League has tasted senior interleague success for the first time since 2009 following an emphatic 64-point win over North Central Football League at St Arnaud's Lord Nelson Park on Saturday.
The Louie Dalziel-coached Big W was relentless with its pressure and attack on the footy throughout the match, with a seven-goal-to-none second term the catalyst for the side's breakthrough 21.15 (141) to 11.11 (77) triumph.
Dalziel's men led on-field by skipper Nick Pekin and fellow midfielder Pat Knott fought off two potential comebacks from the hosts to seal a memorable victory.
The Big W coach said the result was well overdue for the league.
"We set ourselves for this six weeks ago, and the way we played you couldn't be any happier," Dalziel said.
"It's been two years in the making - I thought we deserved to win last year, and we definitely deserved it this time around.
"Not often in a game of footy do you have the full contingent give a contribution, but they gave that and more and we couldn't be happier."
North Central coach James Coatsworth said it was a disappointing result as the side chased its third consecutive interleague win.
"Obviously we're very disappointed. We've won the past two years and we want to make our league look as good as possible," he said.
"I heard that they had plenty of leg speed and I think that's what the difference was."
Both sides scored goals early in the first term, with North Central skipper Sam Barnes capitalising on some superb midfield delivery on three occasions and Wimmera forward Beau Cosson kicking three goals of his own.
But in the second quarter the Big W dominated, with ruckmen Kieran Delahunty and Justin Chilver feeding first use to the likes of Pekin, Knott and Dan Mendes.
Cosson added his fourth goal not long after the first interval, before Pekin set up Delahunty, scored a goal and dug out a handball for Tom Eckel to convert.
Delahunty added another two goals before the major break as the Big W took a 52-point lead into half-time.
Dalziel said the roles Delahunty and Chilver played were pivotal in the win.
"They effectively played as ruck-rovers, one rolled forward and one was loose out the back," he said.
"It was only really thought of on the way over and the guys scratched their heads a little bit at first but it worked really effectively."
The hosts fought back in the third term and early in the final quarter, but Coatsworth said his charges were unable to make the most of their opportunities.
"We made sure at the start of the third quarter that we wanted to be first to the footy, slow things down and be more accountable," he said.
"We had a bit of momentum there for a while but couldn't put the pressure on the scoreboard."
Half-back Rohan McHugh was North Central's best, while Barnes finished with four majors.
Mark Lloyd held his own through the midfield and Nick Coghlan was lively across half-forward.
But the day belonged to the visitors, who have now jumped to 16th in the Worksafe AFL Vic Country Championships rankings.
North Central star Brady Herdman was held to two goals by midfielder-turned-defender John Delahunty, while Cosson finished with five majors and Kieran Delahunty four.
Lachie Exell also contributed three, while Eckel, Pekin and Jake Peters chipped in with two a piece.
Teenage defender Rhona Conboy more than held his own, while Eckel and Jake Williamson both impressed in a Big W team containing no players aged 28 or older.
"We've got a good young squad. We played guys who were fit and ready to go," Dalziel said.
"I think we're going places - we can climb higher and we can compete against some highly ranked squads.
"That's what interleague footy is all about, testing yourselves against the best opposition."
The result will see Wimmera visit the 15th-ranked Bellarine District Football League in 2015, while North Central will host Geelong District Football League in a battle of 19th and 20th.