By David Nagel
Joyous celebrations greeted the final siren at Frankston Park on Saturday as Red Hill secured its first senior premiership since 1990 with a 38-point victory over Karingal in the Chisholm MPNFL Division Two Grand Final.
The Hillmen – led by a classy midfield display from best-on-ground medallist Jake Mitchell – rubber-stamped a magnificent season with a five-goal to one last quarter to win 9.11.65 to 4.3.27 in blustery conditions at the home of Peninsula football.
The win earns the Hillmen promotion to the division one competition in 2020 and was extra special for players, coaches, support staff and fans – after an eight-point loss to Dromana last year.
Coach Jamie Mollo put some extraordinary faith in the only teenager in his team with recently turned 19-year-old Daniel Frampton entrusted with the huge job of stopping Karingal goal-kicking machine Marc Holt.
The full-forward was stifled by some sloppy ball-movement from the Bulls, but Frampton – a Team of the Year member – did well to spoil the best hands in the business when they did go near the ball.
The Hillmen seemed to have control in the first quarter, defying a stiff breeze to trail by just four points at the first break. But an expected second-quarter onslaught didn’t eventuate – with the desperate Bulls clinging on by their fingertips to trail by just 12 points at half time.
Goals to Holt and Matt Robinson gave the Bulls a sniff in the third, but crucial answers from Mitchell and Josh Mold gave the contest an air of inevitability at the final change of ends.
Red Hill – with fresh legs after a week off – then ran rampant in the final term with Jono Ross, Chris Irving, Jonah Siversen and Danny Allsop all kicking goals to put the final nails in the coffin.
Irving finished with three, and Mitchell was outstanding for the Hillmen while the defensive work of Frampton and Lachie Chandler held their side in good stead throughout the course of the afternoon.
Karingal had a fantastic season and can hold its head high after challenging the polished Red Hill outfit for most of the season.
Coach Brendan Dunne presented well at centre half-forward while Cal Dixon and Dylan Gregson did well to stop the scoreboard from blowing out even further.
It was a great day for Red Hill senior premiership player Matt Hyden after his under-19s secured a 16-point victory over Karingal.
The Hillmen controlled the contest from the outset but did have to contend with a strong Bulls fightback in the final term.
Skipper Liam Reilly was named best on ground for a great game across half-back, while Josh Johnson and Harry McIntyre kicked two goals each to have a major influence on the victory.
And Langwarrin is the MPNFL Division Two reserves champion after a comprehensive 75-point victory over Karingal – 16.12.108 to 4.9.33.
Dale Donkin provided a fantastic focal point for the Kangaroos booting eight goals, while Andy Johnson also had a say in proceedings with four majors of his own.
But Kangaroos ruckman Michael Hatch usurped the both of them – claiming the best-on-ground medal with a great game through the midfield.
Best on ground medal winners from left; Jake Mitchell (Seniors), Michael Hatch (Reserves) and Liam Reilly (Red Hill). Photos: Gary Bradshaw/Frankie Photography
DIVISION TWO FOOTBALL – GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Red Hill 0.3 2.7 4.9 9.11.65
Karingal 1.1 1.1 3.2 4.3.27
Red Hill Goals: C. Irving 3, J. Ross 2, J. Mold, J. Siversen, J. Mitchell, D. Allsop. Best: J. Mitchell (Medal), L. Chandler, D. Frampton, C. Irving, H. Wynn-Pope, J. Siversen.
Karingal Goals: L. VanRaay, M. Holt, A. Mathers, M. Robinson. Best: C. Dixon, M. Burke, D. Gregson, A. Mathers, J. Farrelly, R. Davey.
Langwarrin 5.4 6.7 14.9 16.12.108
Karingal 0.1 1.5 2.6 4.9.33
Langwarrin Goals: D. Donkin 8, A. Johnson 4, M. Mathie 2, C. Green, R. Grose. Best: M. Hatch (Medal), D. Donkin, J. Bateman, J. Grose, T. Branch, M. Kennedy.
Karingal Goals: S. McInnes, R. Mathers, S. Mihevc, T. Farrelly. Best: R. Elmi, S. McInnes, L. Farrelly, L. Hinde, S. Mihevc, T. Farrelly.
Red Hill 2.1 3.1 6.3 7.4.46
Karingal 0.1 0.3 2.3 4.6.30
Red Hill Goals: H. McIntyre 2, J. Johnson 2, S. Allsop, J. Paton, L. Sandford. Best: L. Reilly (Medal), B. Eardley, J. Johnson, H. Garde, C. Eardley, B. Squire.
Karingal Goals: J. Keher 2, H. Earle, A. Beale. Best: A. Beale, J. Triep, A. Cadd, S. Kelly, Z. Holton, Z. Saunders.