Traralgon Olympians proved too strong for Falcons in Sunday’s grand final, clinching their first premiership in 15 years with a 2-0 win.
Olympians kicked with the advantage of gale-force winds in the first half and pressured Falcons relentlessly.
It was tough going for Falcons against the breeze as the Olympian defence of Tony Pardo and Chris Panayiotou held strong under pressure.
Olympian’s Kuku Mahmoud was giving plenty of drive through pace, but the first break was hard to come by.
The break did come, 11 minutes in when Henri Scott drilled it past Adam Brooker to put Olympians 1-0 up.
Play turned physical shortly thereafter and referee Stephen Reiss had to issue a couple of yellow cards to keep the peace.
Olympian’s keeper Aiden Reilly came into play when Tom D’Alia’s free kick was parried to the side.
Olympians forced three corners to Falcons but strong defence kept the Birds from scoring.
The windy conditions made it difficult to accurately pin-point passes and a number of turnovers resulted.
Henri Scott could have made it 2-0 but the resultant shot shaved the woodwork and Olympians went into half-time 1-0 up.
Falcons restructured in the second half and used the wind to give Olympians keeper Aiden Reilly a torrid time, forcing him to dive twice to punch away a swinging ball.
Against the wind Olympians were able to create good forward moves with Kuku Mahmoud and Bryson Tanti on the alert for the loose ball.
Olympians’ sealer came with 15 minutes to play after Dragan Milesivic was hacked down in the box and Bryson Tanti stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake.
Being 2-0 up gave Olympians breathing space and they went defensive, blocking out any moves Falcons made.
Time was running out for the Birds as they were reduced to 10 players after a second yellow to Tom D’Alia.
Olympians came close to 3-0 when Peter Labros lost a one-on-one with the keeper.
Time ran out for the Falcons as Olympians ran out to win the flag, 2-0.
Tony Pardo, Dragan Milesivic and Henri Scott were best-on for Olympians while Kevin Carcella, Nick Stevens and Conner Clarke were serviceable for Falcons.
Reserves: After scores were level at 0-0 between Falcons and Monash at half time the Birds got the bulk of play in the second-half.
Two goals to veteran Rob Guarascio were the difference as Falcons came from fourth position to grab the title, 2-0.
Women: Traralgon City took out the double, finishing league champions and premiers after beating out Fortuna to win 1-0 in a thriller.
Second division: Pegasus defied the odds to win the premiership cup with a 1-0 victory over Fortuna.
The Battle of Britain Cup
The finals of the Cup matches will take place Friday, 28 September at Latrobe City Sports Stadium.
The Battle of Britain Cup will be contested by Traralgon City and Newborough/Yallourn.
During their last 10 matches Newborough/Yallourn have had the better of the Roosters with five wins and four draws. The match commences at 7.15pm.
The Shopwell Trophy (reserves)
The Shopwell Trophy will be played between Traralgon City and Traralgon Olympians.
Traralgon City won the League Championship and are keen to wrap-up the season with the League and Cup double. Start time is 5pm.
The Browne/Huizer Cup (women)
Fortuna and Trafalgar will feature in the Browne/Huizer Cup, with some of the best women players in the competition on show including sharpshooter Stephanie Pridgeon of Fortuna. Game commences at 2.30pm.
Nan Bosma Cup (second division)
Fortuna and Traralgon City will battle it out for the Nan Bosman Cup.
Fortuna will look to claim the league grand final and NB Cup double.
Kick-off is at 12.30pm.