LAHARUM were far too good for Kalkee, defeating them by 48 points in the Horsham District league grand final as they won the Forty Winks Cup on Saturday.
A huge crowd turned on a warm, sunny afternoon at Horsham City Oval for the match but it was mostly one-way traffic as the Mountain Men dominated play from start to finish.
The final score saw Laharum kick 14.14 (98) to Kalkee’s 7.8 (50).
The Kees competed well at the contest but were unable to run with the quicker Mountain Men around the ground.
Robbie Miller was everywhere, gaining possessions and pushing forward constantly to finish with three goals from the match.
He also caught the eyes of the umpires and was voted best on ground for his performance.
Likewise Cameron Bruce and Jack Shields seemed to be be unstoppable..
After Shannon Argall marked on the goal line and scored, Bruce and Shields both added goals to give their side an early three-goal lead.
Mark Dorward put on their fourth before Steve Schultz kicked the Kees’ first and took them into the first break with a three-goal deficit.
Until that point the Kees had matched Laharum for run and been able to apply enough pressure to their ball carriers to keep them from scoring.
This changed after half-time when the Mountain Men’s runners began to find time and space.
Up forward Joe Harrison and Jason Przibilla were moving well and creating scoring opportunities, they would finish with two goal each.
Neither had a big day on the scoreboard, but their impact was felt as the Mountain Men’s midfielders found plenty of space to kick goals.
In the backline and repelling every attack by the Kees, were Gerard Matthews and Brett Ervin.
Ervin did an outstanding job on the Kees’ full forward Josh Beddison, restricting his scoring opportunities for most of the afternoon.
He was also prepared to run off him and break the lines when the Mountain Men were counter attacking.
This was the theme all afternoon, with the Kees unable to keep up with their mostly younger and quicker opponents.
Across the ground the Mountain Men were able to cover their opponents with ease and had too much freedom to run where they liked.
For the Kees, Steve Schultz was one of their more dominant players and their best for the afternoon.
The veteran finished with four goals, including two in the third term when his side mounted a mini-comeback.
On the wing Louis Papst worked hard while Adam Atwood found plenty of ball across half forward, but never enough space to make use of it.
The Kees didn’t drop their heads though and despite being down by 55 points at the final break, they fought hard for some last quarter goals.
It meant the Mountain Men didn’t score until very late in the term.
By the time the final siren went they had a 48-point lead and a the premiership cup was theirs in a convincing win.
Coach Shannon Argall said after the presentation that a huge weight had been lifted from the side’s shoulders.
“It is a massive relief, we have been the yardstick all year and with that come a lot of responsibility,” he said.
“People put a lot of pressure on you and after what we have been through last year, putting the performance on the board today was a great relief and it was a great achievement for the club.”
Despite the handy half-time and three-quarter time leads Argall said his side never tuly felt comfortable until the final siren.
Kalkee did mount a charge in both quarters by the Mountain Men held and restricted their scoring.
“Kalkee as we saw against Taylors Lake, piled on eight goals to two in the final quarter,” he said.
“They are a quality outfit and we respect them so we made sure we shut them down for four quarters.
“We always knew they were going to come at us and we wanted to make sure we minimized the damage.”
He also said he was proud with the effort of his midfielders who did the bulk of the scoreboard damage early in the game when the Kalkee backs kept their direct opponents quiet in the forward line.
“We probably have had a dominant forward line all year but today the midfield stepped up and kicked goals,” he said
“We weren’t as efficient with our ball use going forward so to have the midfielders step and get goals was fantastic
“It certainly helps get the score early on the board when we have midfield goals going in and it puts pressure on the other team.
“I have asked a lot of the boys all year and credit to them, last year they could have walked away and been scarred by what happened.
“But we are still developing and we have the guys like Joe and Ollie Harrison coming through as juniors and now they are seniors tasting success.”
Laharum achieved a measure of redemption with the win after their unexpected loss to Swifts in the 2014 decider.