PLENTY of action across two massive Division 1 matches saw Men’s Division 1’s Northern Titans go back to back and Mixed Division 1’s Fitzroy Phoenix win an elusive first premiership after coming close on multiple occasions. Both matches started close before leads extended, making for two massive grand finals to finish the 2019 season on the ultimate high.
Men’s Division 1
Northern Titans Men’s (44) defeated DDNA Teal (38)
Despite a strong first quarter effort DDNA were unable to hold on for victory, with Northern Titans proving why they were at the top of the ladder with a dominant defensive effort through the second and third and ultimately holding onto victory despite DDNA’s late fight back. It was a slow start to both sides with only one goal scored apiece at the three minute mark of the match, a testament to the defensive effort and intensity from every player on court doing their bit to create turnover ball. DDNA kept it consistent across the court for the full four quarters, with each combination working hard to ensure the ball was shared around well. Thomas Fisher and Brent Pace put in the hard yards in the goal circle sharing the load but it was the defensive effort from Titans’ grand final MVP, Ben Bruitzman rotating through goal defence and centre that really drew attention, winning valuable ball back and forcing turnovers again and again. Titans’ Andrew Baker in goal shooter found plenty of the ball, nailing 31 goals and providing a solid option in the circle while Matthew Le Gassick was a handy option on circle edge able to find targets in the goals. The feisty match was vocal with both teams putting their voices to the test, propelling their side on and directing play across the court. While DDNA ended the match with a goal on the siren it was not enough, with Titans just too strong in the second half for their second grand final victory in two seasons.
GF MVP: Ben Bruitzman (Northern Titans)
Season MVP: Ben Bruitzman (12 votes)
Runner up: Ronan Pring (11 votes)
Equal third: Trent Morrison, David Capron (10 votes)
Equal fifth: James Sutton, Cameron Hughes (9 votes)
Mixed Division 1
Fitzroy Phoenix (44) defeated Ariels Mixed (33)
A massive first quarter effort from the Ariels saw the Fitzroy Phoenix have flashbacks of their 2018 grand final choke, seeing the ladder leaders lift their game from then on and running away with an 11 goal victory in what was a fairly close affair early. Both sides had some unsteady moments speeding down the court, making uncharacteristic errors and creating turnovers with the ball moving down the court quicker than necessary in the heat of the pressure. Grand final MVP, Andrew Lewis was the key cog in goal shooter, putting up a whopping 40 goals thanks to the immense feeds from fellow goaler, Shae Gee and rotating midcourters, Kate Patterson, Colin Croft and Joss Roche who found circle edge again and again despite the best efforts of the Ariels, with James Hertan in goal keeper having the tough job of denying easy entry into Lewis. While the Ariels shared the load better to post it was to no avail, though Kurt Thompson provided a solid target to finish with 27 goals to his name. Through the midcourt, Lorna Clark worked well to drive across the court with speed and game smarts to boot, sharing the centre-court effort with Anthony Williams who was equally as valuable, while Renae Pickering was consistent through wing defence with solid hands over pressure on circle edge and Kirsty Clark gave every inch back when near the ball. While Ariels were impressive early it was ultimately the Phoenix who wanted it more, prevailing and finally getting their hands on the gold.
GF MVP: Andrew Lewis (Fitzroy Phoenix)
Season MVP: Andrew Lewis (17 votes)
Female season MVP: Kate Patterson (10 votes)
Runner up: James Sutton (16 votes)
Third: Zac Nathan (14 votes)
Equal fourth: Teah Edelmaer, Kate Patterson, John Tran (10 votes)