By Tyler Lewis
For the Doveton Eagles, Saturday afternoon was almost too good to be true.
Not only did the Eagles win the premiership from fourth on the ladder in the Southern Football League’s Division 2, facing a cut throat final each week – they have jumped from third division to the first in two seasons, with two premierships in three years.
A grand final fast start is always crucial and the Eagles jumped Springvale Districts from the opening bounce to continue the September dream – leading by four goals at the first interval and, more importantly, keeping the Demons without a major.
The Demons got within three kicks before the main break, but neither side could take their chances in the premiership term.
A final huddle rev up from Eagles coach Clint Wilson was all they needed to storm home with an emphatic victory.
With eight majors to the final break, the Eagles slammed on 8.2 in the final term to run out clear winners, 16.14 (110) to 5.13 (43).
Adam Read booted three but it was an overall team performance from the Eagles with 12 individual goal kickers for the day.
Cam Carmody was named best afield in an outstanding display for the Eagles as they ran riot over the Demons in the end.
Ex-Melbourne forward Russell Robertson finished his career with a flag in the Eagles’ colours – officially hanging up his high flying boots at the age of 40 after a stellar career, both locally and in the AFL.
Ryan ‘Spanna’ Hendy – one of the most popular football figures anywhere in the south east – was another to retire on the highest of highs. He started his senior career with the Doves in 1999 as a 16-year-old, and added over 350 games to that tally before retiring as a Doveton Eagles premiership hero.
The town of Doveton could also add another piece of silverware when the club sharing the suburb – the Doveton Doves – takes on Pakenham in the Outer East Division 1 grand final on Sunday.
In the Eastern Football League’s Premier division, ex-Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast senior coach Rodney Eade was unable to guide Balwyn into the big dance when his side went down to Blackburn, 16.13 (109) to 10.14 (74).
Balwyn and Blackburn faced off in the qualifying final only two weeks ago where Eade’s side came away comfortable five goal winners, but remarkably the Panthers turned it around following a win against reigning grand finalist South Croydon in a do-or-die semi-final.
The Panthers will now face the highly-touted Vermont side in the grand final. The reigning premier isn’t shy of the big stage and will look to add another premiership to the cabinet.