GNFL eye A-grade riches

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Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
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The Great Galby. Goalkicker Leon Galby shows the spirit which defined the GNFL all carnival, as he stops a Mortlock big man.
Camera IconThe Great Galby. Goalkicker Leon Galby shows the spirit which defined the GNFL all carnival, as he stops a Mortlock big man. Credit: SnapAction

Kingsley Smith and Karl Pirrottina — captain and coach of the B-section title-winning Great Northern Football League — have set their sights on catching a bigger fish in 2020.

The pair are eyeing the A-grade championship of country week.

The GNFL was relegated a grade following a poor showing in Perth in 2018. But the Northampton captain and the Railways coach are bent on the league making its mark in the top division next year.

“We’re back where we belong,” Northampton warhorse Smith said after the league thrashed Mortlock 14. 6 (90) to 2.5 (17) in the grand final at Claremont Oval on Sunday.

Mortlock had accounted for the the GNFL, who had already qualified for the grand final, by 35 points a day earlier.

Pirrottina played in that game, pulling the boots on for the first time in many years.

The 33-gamer with East Fremantle came in for star forward Shannon Cox, who went to the funeral of Percy George in Mount Magnet. However, Cox drove back to Perth to play in the grand final.

“Put myself in, and sacked myself. A disappointing effort,” Pirrottina said.

He agreed with Smith’s thoughts on the GNFL, adding he wanted to keep the “same crop of blokes” in 2020.

“We got the rewards today . . . and if they stick together, they will be better next year,” Pirrottina said last Sunday night.

Pirrottina said “last year hurt us” and “we have made amends”.

“We had a good talk overnight and I was extremely proud of the way the boys played today,” he said.

“We have a good bunch of blokes and I believe the desire is there to play in country week for Geraldton.”

Smith said captaining the triumphant team was one of the highlights of his decorated career.

“We played well on Friday (opening day when GNFL won both games) but were very flat on Saturday and were sore,” Smith said.

“But as soon as we woke on Sunday, it was up and at it. Everybody just gelled, simple as that. Each line, defence, mids and forwards, did what they had to.

“I’m sure it would have been good to watch.”

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