Great Northern Colts go down by one point in thrilling country week final

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Coach Jason Graham was proud of his side despite another tough grand final loss
Camera IconCoach Jason Graham was proud of his side despite another tough grand final loss Credit: Justin Fris

The young stars of the GNFL did all they could but were ultimately pipped at the post as they lost their Colts Country Week final by just one point on Friday afternoon.

At the start of day two of the competition, there were some nervous moments when they lost to Kimberley Spirit by eight points, meaning the GNFL, Kimberley and Regional Districts all finished on two wins.

However, the Great Northern side were still comfortably through to a second straight grand final thanks to the percentage gained from their dominant day one victories.

They faced an all-powerful South West football league side who had dominated the pool A group, including taking down last year’s champions Peel by 35 points to win all three of their matches and conceding just two goals.

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It was greasy conditions again, but the rain stayed away from the final itself as South West got on the board first, forcing a rushed behind from the GNFL defence.

They also got the first major as Seann Arrowsmith won the free kick after a good tackle as GNFL were kept on the back foot early.

However, they were given a lifeline by South West’s poor conversion but Tom Harris was left wide open to score their second to put the margin out to 16 points.

The GNFL needed to stabilise before halt time and they practically willed the ball forward through multiple contests before a lucky bounce saw Jaxon Graham get on the end of one score from close range.

He then got his second as he come from deep to take a strong contested mark and made no mistake as the GNFL trailed by four points at the main break.

Clay Azevedo had the opportunity put them in front early in the second half but saw his kick just fade out to the right.

South West missed another opportunity making it 2.6 for the day but the GNFL had their own woes as captain Llewyn Valli’s effort fell just short to be touched on the line.

Azevedo then had his effort from 50m also fall short before James Simmons hit the woodwork before rushed behinds took them to within one point.

Gregg Galby then tied the game after running around the mark but hanging his shot out to the right with four minutes remaining.

Peter Woods then took a huge grab just outside the goal square for South West in what was basically their first foray forward in more than 10 minutes but missed his shot from 15m to give the GNFL a minute to get the ball down the other end.

They went straight up the middle and got the ball towards the forward fifty but could not find a mark as South West held on in a classic.

Azevedo was awarded the player of the match in a losing cause for his desperation and work around the contest.

“I was just keen to get the ball forward but just couldn’t get it in the end,” he said.

Coach of the side Jason Graham said it was a tough loss going down by one point but he was proud of the team’s work across the carnival.

“The whole carnival was very strong, congratulations to South West you gave us something to think about and the footy you played was very impressive,” he said.

“We knew we had a tough task today, we asked for a big effort and the boys delivered, a bit stiff to go down but we’ll cop that on the chin and we’ll come back and go one better.”

Three players from the Great Northern side were named in the all-star squad with Draydon Wingo, Finn Dethlefsen and James Simmons all given the nod.

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