WIMMERA FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Horsham wins 11th flag in 12 years
HORSHAM has continued its run as one of the most successful football sides in the country with its 11th Wimmera Football League premiership in 12 years.
The Demons denied cross-town rival Horsham Saints a maiden Wimmera flag, triumphing by six points at Central Park, Stawell, on Saturday.
The Demons finished the home and away season as the minor premier, but a semi-final loss to the Saints and a string of injuries meant the Saints went in as favourites.
The minor premiers trailed by 11 points at the final change but ran down the Saints to claim the premiership with a 12.10 (82) to 11.10 (76) victory.
Horsham president Laurie Taylor described it as the game the Demons were not meant to win.
“I was a realist, I wanted them to be competitive,” he said.
“To hang in there and hang in there and come out on top, I’m so proud of them and I’m so proud of the whole club.
“Five of them had injuries that some blokes wouldn’t play with.
“It’s three ankles, snapped tendons in fingers, they just gutsed it out against all the odds.”
The first three goals belonged to Horsham, as did the lead by seven points at quarter-time and 14 at half-time.
A six-goal-to-two third term saw the Saints take the lead for the first time in the match nine minutes after half-time.
The Saints had an 11-point lead at the final change. But a pair of goals to Joel Geue and another to co-coach Jordyn Burke saw the Demons home.
Burke and fellow coach Brad Hartigan – who spent most of the match on the bench injured – were full of praise for the team.
“Coming into that last quarter a couple of goals down, the way the boys fought and really controlled the last quarter, it’s a credit to them,” Hartigan said.
“Their backs were against the wall and they stood up.”
Burke said the Demons had been ravaged by injury.
“We were carrying Brad, Billy Lloyd and Harry Young, Jordy Schmidt had tonsillitis all week and Nick Pekin had a knee and ankle,” he said.
“Then Jeremy Hartigan did his hamstring in the first 25 minutes.
"We’ve had six games go down by under 10 points and we’ve only lost one of them. The belief was there and I think that showed.”
Young players such as Ben Lakin, Lloyd and Jack Mentha rose to the occasion.
“It was exceptional – we had faith in these boys,” Burke said.
“They’re young boys but they did men’s work today and it’s just amazing.”
The win was the perfect way for the Demons to send off Burke.
“At this stage I’m moving on, but it’s just about right now,” he said.
“It’s about the moment and it’s about enjoying it with the boys.