Pines is the 2018 Chisholm MPNFL Division One premiers after a pulsating one-point kick-after-the-siren victory over a gallant Sorrento at Frankston Park on Sunday.
The Pythons trailed by a straight kick at the 27-minute mark of the final term, before a long bomb from Nick Boswell brought scores level.
A record crowd of over 8,000 people then witnessed an amazing finish to an incredible afternoon of community football, with Aaron Ludewig marking, the siren sounding, and Ludewig kicking a point from 40 metres out to give Pines its first premiership win since 1994.
The final score, Pines 14.12.96 to Sorrento 14.11.95, only paints part of the picture of one of the greatest days in the 110-year history of Peninsula football.
The build-up was intense.
Pines skipper and ruckman Beau Hendry was suspended for two weeks for an incident involving Sorrento playing-coach Luke Tapscott in the second semi-final at Mornington.
Pines won that game, but subsequent tribunal and appeals hearings saw Hendry cleared to play less than 48 hours prior to the season decider.
Tensions rose between the clubs and supporters throughout the process, leading to an edgy vibe as patrons crammed into the Kars Street Oval.
The game lived up to all the hype and billing, but never once threatened to spill over.
It all boiled down to a classic contest between two hugely committed football teams.
Sorrento had the advantage of a stiff breeze in the opening term, with skipper James Hallahan kicking his side’s first after copping a huge bump in the highly-anticipated opening exchanges.
The Sharks would dominate the first quarter and take a 28-point lead to quarter time.
Leigh Poholke would then kick the second of his four goals, in the opening minute of the second term, to kick the Sharks out to a game-high 34-point lead
The Pythons needed a response, and it came from Aaron Edwards, Perry Lewis-Smith and Tim Bongetti. Edwards kicked three for the quarter, Perry-Lewis two, while a Bongetti six-pointer at the 26-minute mark gave the Pythons an unlikely five-point lead at the major interval.
The second half – well it was quite simply a classic.
Sorrento hit the ground running after half time, with Jayden Tomkins kicking two goals in the first four minutes of play, followed by two more to Nick Corp to take a 20-point lead at the 10-minute mark of the premiership quarter.
Pines responded with five of the next six goals for the quarter, with Nick Wilcox leading the way.
Wilcox gathered and calmly slotted one home off his left foot to drag the Pythons back into the contest.
Bongetti then took a screamer in the goal-square, before Tom McDermott produced the most influential six minutes of any player on the park. McDermott kicked three goals at the end of third, including a set shot after the siren, to give the Pythons a five-point lead heading into the final term.
With an already large roar of the crowd building, and patrons clinging to vantage points to capture a glimpse of the action, both teams – and a streaker – produced a vintage last quarter of football.
No-nonsense forward Brendan Barfoot put the Pythons ahead by 12 points at the four minute mark, before Poholke and Marcus Gardner gave the Sharks back the lead.
Shaun White then kicked truly to give the Pythons the advantage before a key moment in the match eventuated.
Gun Pines’ defender Guy Hendry appeared to take a mark at centre-half back, with the Pythons back six taking off to provide some running options. But the mark wasn’t paid, leaving Poholke in the goal-square unattended, kicking his fourth to give the Sharks a one-point margin after 19 minutes of play.
Scores were levelled up at the 21-minute mark of the term, before Gardner dribbled one through from the left forward pocket to give the Sharks back the lead.
The desperation from both teams had to be seen to be believed, as the huge crowd became totally engrossed in the contest. It took that great kick from Boswell – under extreme pressure – and that Barry Breen type moment from Ludewig, to break a deadlock and send the Pythons supporters into raptures.
Considering the build up heading in, the players, supporters and everyone involved from both clubs should be congratulated on making this a day to remember – and for all the right reasons!
Congratulations to Pines and its coach Paddy Swayn – the 2018 Chisholm MPNFL Division One champions.
HOW THE GAME UNFOLDED
8min Sorrento 1 James Hallahan 1-9
15min Sorrento 2 Daniel Grant 1-16
20min Sorrento 3 Nick Corp 2-23
23min Sorrento 4 Leigh Poholke 2-29
Quarter time: Sorrento 4.6.30 to Pines 0.2.2
1min Sorrento 1 Leigh Poholke 2-36
5min Pines 1 Aaron Edwards 9-36
9min Pines 2 Aaron Edwards 16-36
12min Pines 3 Perry Lewis-Smith 22-36
17min Pines 4 Aaron Edwards 28-36
19min Pines 5 Perry Lewis-Smith 34-36
22min Scores level
26min Pines 6 Tim Bongetti 42-37
Half time: Pines 6.6.42 to Sorrento 5.7.37
2min Sorrento 1 Jayden Tomkins 42-43
4min Sorrento 2 Jayden Tomkins 42-49
5min Sorrento 3 Nick Corp 42-55
10min Sorrento 4 Nick Corp 42-62
15min Pines 1 Nick Wilcox 49-63
17min Sorrento 5 James Hallahan 49-69
21min Pines 2 Tim Bongetti 57-69
23min Pines 3 Tom McDermott 63-69
26min Pines 4 Tom McDermott 69-70
29min Pines 5 Tom McDermott 75-70
Three-quarter time: Pines 11.9.75 to 10.10.70
4min Pines 1 Brendan Barfoot 82-70
11min Sorrento 1 Leigh Poholke 82-77
14min Sorrento 2 Marcus Gardner 82-83
15min Pines 2 Shaun White 88-83
19min Sorrento 3 Leigh Poholke 88-89
21min Scores level 89-89
25min Sorrento 4 Marcus Gardner 89-95
27min Pines 3 Nick Boswell 95-95
34min Aaron Ludewig kicks a point after the siren.
2018 CHISHOLM MPNFL DIVISION ONE GRAND FINAL
Pines 0.2 6.6 11.9 14.12.96
Sorrento 4.6 5.7 10.10 14.11.95
Pines Goals: Aaron Edwards 3, Tom McDermott 3, Perry Lewis-Smith 2, Tim Bongetti 2, Nick Wilcox 1, Brendan Barfoot, Shaun White, Nick Boswell.
Best: Perry Lewis-Smith (Medal), Luke Potts, Guy Hendry, Paul Scanlon, Tom McDermott, Aaron Ludewig.
Sorrento Goals: L. Poholke 4, N. Corp 3, M. Gardner 2, J. Tomkins 2, J. Hallahan 2, D. Grant.
Best: James Hallahan, Daniel Grant, Leigh Poholke, Jake Di Pasquale, Nick Corp, Chad Harris.