Cobram Roar’s under-18 side has turned a minor premiership into a grand final flag at the completion of the Albury-Wodonga Football Association 2017 season.
Despite being a bottom-age division three side, the team banded together and with an incredible workrate managed to exceed expectations to be the current league premiers.
The development shown from each player during the season was on full display in the grand final match against Albury United on Sunday, September 17.
Coach Chris Gash described it as a hard-fought game, deserved of a grand final showdown.
‘‘The boys have played fantastically throughout the season and to finish with the win was amazing,’’ Gash said.
‘‘Most of them had played in the losing grand final the year before and were determined to get the result this year.’’
Gash said nerves were high leading into the clash with added pressure to achieve a flag after the club created history in having three senior teams into the grand final.
Albury United did its best to stifle the game-style of Cobram, but in the end the thirds were able to get the job done for the club.
‘‘It’s not often three senior teams make it to the grand final, and to have a side win one was great,’’ Gash said.
‘‘A lot of older heads of the soccer community came down to congratulate and wish teams luck ahead of the game.
‘‘The reaction from winning was brilliant.
‘‘All the players and families were ecstatic about the result, which could have gone a different way had Albury been able to sneak in a goal.’’
Stand-in goal keeper Samuel Vardy made a couple of clearances to look after the team and Max Cabading was the hero of the match, being the only goal scorer in the tight 1-0 victory.
The premiers finally broke through midway through the first half with a great run by Nathan Stoate into the box and crossing to the head of Cabading who gave his side the long-awaited lead.
Many of the side then went on to play in the reserves grand final, with a number of division three players having stepped-up to play in the senior grades during the year.
‘‘They’ve all worked hard to develop their games and get call-ups into the senior teams,’’ Gash said.
‘‘It was impressive by those guys (in the grand final) who played the game after and could focus on the next job at hand.
‘‘Hopefully a lot of them will be sticking around to play division three next year and we can get a couple of players from the age below to step-up as well.’’