Noble Park has won the 2018 SEJ Under-12 Blue premiership after a stirring last-quarter battle against Pakenham at Barry Simon Reserve.
Pakenham, the favourites heading in, led at the last change before the Bulls produced their best football of the match to run out narrow winners.
Noble Park’s Zain Sleiman was adjudged best on ground by the umpires, while Pakenham’s Mason Hall played a standout game for the Lions.
Noble Park coach Sam Lengyel said the game lived up to expectations after a great battle between the sides throughout the season.
“It’s been a great contest between the two sides this year, we defeated them twice throughout the season and they gave us a football lesson in the first final,” Lengyel said.
“We always thought we were a chance but if Pakenham played the way they did in the first final it was going to be a tough ask to win. They’re a great side Pakenham and I’m sure they’ll be back here again.”
Lengyel, who coached a flag six years ago in the under 16s, was coaxed back into coaching by Collingwood star Adam Treloar, a close friend of the family.
“He’s good friends with my son and I coached him under 12s, so we’ve been close and he’s like a family member to us,” Lengyel said.
“He wanted to coach junior football and needed a hand, so I was happy to help out given all his commitments to playing football with Collingwood. The kids look up to him and respect every word and listen to everything he says.
“He’s a Noble Park junior himself so the players can relate to him and he’s as excited as anyone today. He played a big part in the success of this side and deserves a lot of credit for the way he has approached things with the kids.”
Lengyel wanted to thank his support staff for their huge involvement this year, and said he was proud of his side for showing the determination to come back in the final term.”
“Absolutely, I’m so proud of the boys, and girl. They’ve worked so hard for this and deserve everything that has come their way. I look forward to being a part of it all again next year.”