Brigades win seventh flag in hard-fought Great Northern Football League final against Railways

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Brigades players celebrate as the siren goes. Left to right Brendan Cockman no. 6, Jayden Schofield no. 13, captain Mick Quick being hoisted into the air, Kim Schofield no. 3, Drew McGregor no. 10, Graham Sandy no. 1.
Camera IconBrigades players celebrate as the siren goes. Left to right Brendan Cockman no. 6, Jayden Schofield no. 13, captain Mick Quick being hoisted into the air, Kim Schofield no. 3, Drew McGregor no. 10, Graham Sandy no. 1. Credit: Justine Rowe/SnapAction

Brigades are the 2021 Great Northern Football League premiers, winning a hard-fought grand final battle against Railways on Sunday to take the flag.

The Hawks kicked 9.8 (62) to the Blues’ 5.13 (43) to claim their seventh premiership.

Hawks coach Cory Foot said his side had showed character to earn the win in a hard slog, with both sides struggling to get a solid purchase on the game, and goals at a premium.

“All the hard work paid off,” he said.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, but we slogged it out.

“We showed true character and grit, and the end result took care of itself.

“It wasn’t pretty (but) nothing’s ever easy in a grand final.”

He praised the club for “sticking together through thick and thin” in a year marked by challenges.

President Craig Harrington, the league’s volunteer of the year, gave out the winners’ medals after the game wearing a shirt honouring the club’s former president, Jason O’Brien, who died recently of cancer.

Veteran forward Dale Williamson also dedicated his medal to O’Brien. Brigades’ Ethan Paholski was named the East Fremantle best on ground.

The Geraldton Guardian medal went to Brigades’ David Little in a narrow race.

There was an even spread of talent and discipline among the Hawks’ side, and the award could have gone to any of a number of players.

Little drew cheers from the crowd with some high-flying marks and showed courageous play throughout to be named as his club’s best afield, ahead of Paholski, Hayden Johnson, Joel Pattrick and Jamie Ryder.

Ryder was top scorer on the day with three goals.

Williamson kicked two and looked menacing throughout, making his presence felt.

Jayden Schofield, who won the league’s J.J. Clune best and fairest award in a four-way tie and also took the football writers’ award, had a solid game.

Kim Schofield drew cheers with a late goal.

Kaiden Dann took some high-flying marks and showed his class on the ball while scoring a goal.

Drew Tunbridge and joint Clune winner Mitchell Boyle were Railways’ best, ahead of Matthew Kimberley, James Huggins and ruckman Tom Clough.

Railways won the reserves grand final against Northampton, 12.11 (83) to 4.9 (33).

Towns won the colts grand final, beating Railways 5.12 (42) to 2.6 (18).

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