WELL before the Horsham Saints became a Wimmera Football League force, the side knocked about in the Horsham District league as St Michael’s.
In 1988, with John ‘Jack’ Magee at the helm, the club won the fourth of its five senior flags in the league five years before making the move.
Magee said wet weather played into his side’s hands in the 11.8 (74) to 3.10 (74) win against Homers.
“We were a young and quick side and Homers were a very tall side,” he said.
“On dry days throughout the season they were almost unbeatable if they could keep the ball moving in the air but once it was on the ground in the grand final we were a much better chance.”
The Saints finished the season third behind Rupanyup and Homers but an outstanding finals series saw the side bypass the preliminary final.
A comfortable nine-goal victory against Homers in the wet first up was followed by another six-goal upset win against Rupanyup to earn place in the grand final.
“We expected that we’d come up against Rupanyup in the grand final because they hadn’t really lost much that season,” Magee said.
“We thought we might have played our good game against them too early but Homers won through instead.”
Chris Buwalda has been the star of the side during a Dellar-medal winning season but Magee said it was a young brigade of players that stood up on grand final day.
“Half of our side was under the age of 22, but 13 of the 20 had come through playing under-13 and under-16s at the Saints,” he said.
“They could have been overwhelmed and it would have worked against us, but instead we had young legs running all day.”
Two days of rain ensured scoring was tough and the conditions helped the Saints hold Homers goalless for three quarters.
The side had built a 32-point lead by quarter time then extended it to 46 by half-time.
Both sides went goalless in the third quarter before they each managed three in the final term before the siren signalled a 46-point win.
It was the third of five premierships that Magee won as a player but the only one to his names as a coach.
“They are all special but I suppose fewer people get to coach a premiership then play in one,” he said.
“On a personal note it was great for me because I was able to play alongside my younger brother Oscar and our dad (Jack snr) was the team trainer.”
The Saints had a chance to go back-to-back the following year but were defeated by Kalkee in a replay after an initial drawn grand final.
In 1991 the side won its final Horsham District premiership against Quantong.