THE Southern Mallee Giants went some way to cleansing their pallet of the taste of 2016’s grand final defeat by winning away with the game against Edenhope-Apsley on Saturday.
A five goal second quarter set the win up for the Giants as the Saints struggled to find a way to get the ball deep enough into the forward line during the middle stages of the game.
When the final siren sound the scoreboard showed that the Giants had won 12.10 (82) to 6.7 (43).
Southern Mallee coach Matthew Webb said the win was fantastic.
“Especially after last year,” he said. “Being able to get that bit of redemption after missing out was really good.”
It was the Saints who were quicker out of the blocks as the side kicked the first two goals of the game before the Giants were able to get on the board.
At quarter time it was the Saints in front by eight points.
Early momentum drastically swung the way of the Giants in the second quarter but the side struggled to make it count on the scoreboard. Jack Landrigan missed good opportunities early, and while the Giants looked on top they continued to miss out on opportunities until 15 minutes into the quarter as Andrew Phelan kicked truly after a 50-metre penalty.
It seemed to be the goal that broke the dam wall as Landrigan gave the Giants the lead for the first time shortly after.
Another three goals for the Giants saw the side take all the momentum into half-time as they led 6.5 (41) to 2.4 (16).
A four goal to one third quarter stretched the lead out to 46-points with a quarter to play and the game looked done and dusted.
Quick goals in succession at the start of the final quarter may have given Saints’ fans slim hope as the margin closed to within five goals with more than half the quarter remaiing.
A sealing goal at the 10-minute mark calmed any nerves before the Giants finished as 39-point winners.
Webb credited the younger players as playing a big part in the win. “The under-17s stepped up every week when we were short and we had quite a few of them play 13 games for the season after playing 17s,” he said. “They give us a lot more run and that speeds the older blokes up as well.”
He said everyone stepped up in the grand final. “It was a really well-rounded performance,” he said. “Picking the awards is certainly going to be a tough one.”
Michael Saunders played a key role for the Giants and was awarded the best on ground medal.