Mirboo North has fought-off Yinnar to win its third senior flag in five years with a 42-40 win in the 2017 Mid Gippsland League grand final.
Clean possessions were hard to come by in the opening term thanks to the wet and slippery conditions at Morwell Recreation Reserve with congestion the theme at every contest.
The weight of the game was clear early on with both sides retreating to highly defensive play.
The scorers weren’t troubled until the eight-minute mark when Luke Palmer snapped a behind for Mirboo North.
More minor scores ensued but it wasn’t until the 19-minute mark that Brayden Wilson broke through with the first major of the day for Mirboo North to put the Tigers nine points ahead at the first break.
Jack Robertson was afforded the first shot on goal for Mirboo North in the second term and bagged the Tigers’ second after three minutes of play.
The tide seemed to turn for Yinnar and the Magpie mids led the way with a barrage of entries inside 50 resulting in a goal to league best-and-fairest Michael Geary.
A free kick and goal to Liam Maynard spurred the Magpies in to action. Liam Visser stood up shortly thereafter with his first for the day and Geary followed with his second to give Yinnar a 20-point lead.
A defensive fumble by the Magpies afforded Tigers playing-coach Clancey Bennett a goal to edge the deficit back to seven points.
The Tiger tempo lifted after half-time and Tim Traill scored the only two goals of the third term to give Mirboo North a five-point lead at the final break.
Damian Yates drew first blood of the final term for Yinnar to give the Magpies a one-point lead.
As the final siren drew near both sides retreated to defensive mode and a Darryl Mayman behind for Mirboo North levelled scores at 40 points apiece.
With just minutes remaining the Tigers broke the stalemate through two late behinds to clinch the 2017 flag in a low-scoring thriller.
Mirboo North’s Jacob Blair was awarded best-on-ground honours.
Yinnar president Peter Linton said the side was “shattered” to have fallen at the final hurdle.
“As club president I couldn’t be more proud of them. They tried their hardest and did the town proud. Mirboo North were just too good for us on the day.”
Tigers club president Paul Pratt said he was elated with the big win and praised coach Clancy Bennett for his commitment to the side.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the result and pleased for the guys who have worked very hard towards the end of the season,” Pratt said.
“Clancy’s message all season has been to tackle hard and work together as a team and throughout this final series we’ve kept the pressure on the opposition and we’ve perhaps not let the opposition play the game they have wanted to play.”
He also credited Yinnar for its valiant showing.
“All credit to Yinnar today, they kept the pressure on us too with nothing between the two sides, the tackling was ferocious and we just kept chipping away and came away with the result.”