The Maryborough Castlemaine District Football League’s season came to an end with a massive upset on Saturday, as Carisbrook defeated Navarre to become the 2017 premiers.
The Grasshoppers were looking for a record breaking fifth consecutive premiership at the weekend, but were upset by the Redbacks to go down 11.7 (73) to 7.11 (53).
Navarre went into the game as hot favourites, having dropped just one match throughout 2017 and defeating the Redbacks in the last three grand finals.
This favouritism was bolstered by the fact Carisbrook would be missing coach, ruckman and newly crowned Berry Powell Medal winner Jackson Bowen as well as important midfielder Jonathon Gray.
The Redbacks started the game with a strong breeze behind them, making the most of the advantage to boot four goals and take a 13-point lead into the first break.
Navarre hit back in the second period, but the Redbacks did enough to ensure they held on to a slender six-point lead going into the main break.
Carisbrook extended the lead to 18 points by three-quarter-time, with the Redbacks midfield beginning to get on top of Navarre’s.
Cody Driscoll booted his third goal of the game to kick off the final quarter, with the reigning premiers moving to within 11 points.
That was the only joy of the final term for the Grasshoppers however, as they struggled to wrestle to game back in their favour.
They booted four behinds while the Redbacks kicked two crucial goals into the wind to go ahead by 20 points and hold on to become premiers.
Navarre assistant coach Matt Newton said it was disappointing his team was not able to replicate its form from the home and away season and the first two finals.
“We just didn’t play our football which was what stood out for me,” he said.
“We had our patches and I would say we matched and potentially bettered them for a lot of the game.”
The loss ended Navarre’s hopes of a fifth-consecutive premiership, handing Carisbrook its first senior premiership since 2012.
Newton said the opposition were very impressive.
“It is a credit to Carisbrook,” he said.
“They were missing some key players but still played hard football.
“We were happy to get to the grand final but are obviously a little disappointed we could not get the job done in the end.”
Liam Cunningham kicked five goals for Carisbrook while the AFL Vic Country medal for best player was awarded to Jason Hill.
Josh Fowkes, Louis Hannett and Cody Driscoll were among Navarre’s best.