IN HIS first year as senior coach of Harrow-Balmoral, Nick Pekin said he was overwhelmed by claiming the Horsham District league's senior premiership.
“I am absolutely in shock and it will hit me later on,” he said.
“From mid-November we were training. We lost 13 senior guys from last season, so super proud is an understatement of how I feel.”
Pekin said there were exciting times ahead for the young group.
“We have a couple of older heads but we are so young and they have such an exciting career ahead of them,” he said.
“If we can keep these guys together, we can really form a powerhouse side moving forward.”
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Harrow-Balmoral found a way to score within a couple of minutes during the second, third and fourth quarters, gaining early momentum in each quarter.
“It was pivotal, especially going into that wind,” he said.
“We needed to defend that lead and it goes a long way to winning a game. The character and belief we showed all season was great, and the grind in the last quarter is a credit to the guys.”
While Anthony Close, Peter Staude and Pekin himself were arguably standouts on the day, Pekin said there were plenty of contributors.
“I have an award for best team person and it will go to Bowes Kelly – he did a fantastic job on nullifying Simon Hobbs,” he said.
“It’s great to see Anthony rewarded too. We have two of the best ruckmen in the league with him and Todd Lawrence and they helped set it up for us today.”
Southern Roos assistant coach Simon Close said it felt great to win a flag in his first season back. He won the flag alongside his brother Anthony, while their other brother Michael was a runner.
“It was a great win – this is home to me now,” he said.
“We also had dad doing the training too. The whole club is just a great community and it’s great to be a part of.”
Harrow-Balmoral captain Michael Phelan has led the side for the past few years and said it was a relief to finally win a premiership.
“We came in at three-quarter-time and Nick fired us up and going against that breeze we managed to do it,” he said.
“We held up for a bit but then they came hard in the second quarter. In previous years we might have stood down.
“I’ve been skipper for about five years. It’s been a process since the late great Brent Forsyth was at the club and Paul Cleaver recently and now Nick coming on board, it’s been a continuous journey.
“The culture of the club goes right through the juniors and the netball and it’s a really strong club.”