AFL North West
As Inverell coach Justin Pay put it after the full-time siren sounded at a muddy Varley Oval on Saturday: “It’s been a long time coming.”
The Saints had just secured their first senior men’s AFL North West premiership since 2010.
The win was well earned by the minor premiers who survived a final quarter comeback by the Gunnedah Bulldogs to claim an 11.12 (78) to 10.2 (62) victory.
Northern Inland Premier League
For someone who had just coached a team to a grand final, Greg Bartlett was frustrated.
Tamworth FC had delivered a near-faultless display in beating East Armidale 5-1, to make their first grand final since 2013 and stay unbeaten for the season, and Bartlett wanted the football community to give his side more respect.
At Carter Street, the final whistle in Saturday’s minor semi-final couldn’t come quick enough for Demon Knights coach Evan Quaife, or the fourth official for that matter.
His side clinging to a 2-1 lead over Oxley Vale Attunga, Quaife was like a kid asking “are we there yet?” in what was a tense final few minutes.
“I asked the fourth official every minute for the last 10 minutes I think how long to go,” he said, joking that it was lucky there was some medical attendants on the sideline for him.
The Mushies had a couple of shots in the last couple of minutes but DK held on to advance to a preliminary final showdown with East Armidale.
Walcha have secured their spot in the 2018 grand final with a thrilling victory over Moree Bulls on Saturday.
The loss of Walcha’s highest point scorer Simon Newton in the first half due to injury wasn’t enough to stop the visitors from from charging home to a 34-26 victory against the Bulls, and setting up a rematch with premiers Pirates for the silverware.
Earlier Pirates were victorious 46-5 over Narrabri in the under-19s before the Blue Boars turned the tables, thrashing Pirates 46-14 in second grade.
Gunnedah then continued their fairytale run with a 20-14 win over minor premiers Pirates in the women’s 7s.
It means next week’s grand finals will be:
First Grade - Pirates v Walcha
2nd Grade - Moree v Narrabri
Under 19's - Farrer v Pirates
Women's 7's - Inverell v Gunnedah