In one of the best senior INDEPENDENT GRAND FINALS on record Paringa fought back from ten points down at the last change to defeat defending champion Blanchetown Swan Reach 19-13 (127) to 19-10 (124) in a thrilling finish at East Murray on Saturday.
It was a courageous performance by the Swans as at the end of the minor round they had lost to BSR by 29 points and then the following weekend in the Second Semi Final by 74 points .
In the Grand Final the opening quarter was a tight affair with both teams exerting pressure on opponents all over the ground but from that point open the flood gates were at least ajar for much of the time and the ball was conveyed from end to end in something of an entertaining shoot out.
Paringa led 4-4 to 3-6 at quarter time and12-7 to10-7 at the half before BSR hit the front by three quarter time, 16-8 to 14-10.
The final term can only be described as a titanic struggle and it completed a contest that was a great advertisement for this real “country football” that was enjoyed by a big crowd.
In the end it took a goal from a snap by Dean Hill from a pack in the dying moments of the game to give Paringa the flag.
In a game like this there had to be multiple contributors but there was non better than Swan`s veteran Nathan Rover who took out the Best On Ground trophy.
Others prominent in the Paringa triumph were consistent Tristam Jackson, last quarter hero Chris Gardner, Isaac Frahn and Blair Dillon while Hill finished with four important goals.
Gardner booted three quick goals at the start of the last term to drag his team back into the contest and finished the afternoon with five.
For the Redbacks, so close to back to back pennants, Jed Martinson was magnificent with seven goals, Jamie Tanner and Dale Payne were superb as usual, Andrew Bajszi kicked three goals in a good display and Max Martinson booted four.
In the MALLEE LEAGUE GRAND FINAL lighting did not strike twice in the some place although Lameroo gave the huge challenge its best shot but in the end could not match the dominance of the outstanding Border Down Tintinara combination.
How good is BDT and how would it match up with the premiership teams in other associations?
On Saturday the Crows led by 18 points at quarter time and by 32 at the long interval before Lameroo injected real life into the battle by fighting back to within 19 points at the turn for home.
Hawk supporters would have been looking for another of their team`s regular last term ‘miracles’ but on this occasion it was not to be, it was the Crows` turn to really soar to another flag bringing up their century just before stumps to win 14-16 (100) to 8-5 (53).
BDT`s best list was long and again reflected the depth in the squad with names like Butler, Gregory, Clint Richardson and Vandeleur (4 goals) put forward while for Lameroo Ben Grieger, Matt Ridgway, Steer and Fischer were outstanding.
Meanwhile in the RIVERLAND A GRADE PRELIMINARY FINAL at Berri Loxton North gained another shot at Barmera Monash in the race for the flag with a 14-11 (95) to 8-10 (58) win against Loxton.
The Tigers started promisingly to lead 3-2 to 1-2 and 5-4 to 3-4 at the first two breaks but North had edged to the lead 8-7 to 6-9 at three quarter time before going right on with the job in the concluding stages to win comfortably.
Michael Arnold was to top form for the Panthers while Andrew Baker, Nathan Brown, Ben Miller, Blake Hentschke and Andrew Tullett also stood out.
Looking towards this weeks Grand Final at Loxton key Panther goal kicker Barry Kaesler ran himself into some form with four majors.
For a Loxton side that may have ran out of gas after being drained by the effort in the First Semi Final the previous Sunday and also appeared to have some key personnel below their best Jackson Fielke played his best game for 2013 and Bronte Manuel, Mitch Fazekas, Thomas Butler, Brok Schubert and Leigh Kruger also stood out.