Hard-earned wins taste sweet

Reserves Premiers Kooweerup, included: Steven Greaves, Ryan Wilby, Shannon Marsh, Liam Hetherington, Jack Carson, Brett Hobson, Bailey Retzlaff, Xavier Quigley, Lachlan Walden, Daniel Mullen, Matt Cameron, Jesse Cammarano, Sean Alexander, Brannon Harrison, Matthew Drommel, Neil Watson, Jamie Commerford, Josh Winter, Ben Cherry, Cody Miller, Dillon Allen, Josh Nicholson, and Brett Hobson (player-coach). 185272 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

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While it clearly wasn’t Kooweerup’s day in the seniors on Saturday at Garfield, the club’s fourths (under-16s) and reserves had a day to remember for all the right reasons.

Matt ‘Yogi’ Cameron is a favourite son of the red and blue and Saturday marked his second straight reserves premiership – and second straight best on ground performance in a decider, for that matter.

For years, he played senior football for the club hoping to capture that elusive senior flag – which has escaped the Demons since 1981.

He played in the 2014 EDFL senior decider – a game in which the Cobras taught the Demons a real footballing lesson.

In a lot of ways, he must have surely thought his chance for premiership success would never come.

But last year changed all that, and Saturday against Inverloch Kongwak was icing on the cake.

Of the Kooweerup players who played in the losing senior EDFL grand final to Cora Lynn in 2014, Steven Greaves, Ryan Wilby, Jack Carson, Daniel Mullen Josh Winter, and Cameron were part of the twos premiership on Saturday.

Luke Walker, Tim Miller, Craig Dyker, and Ben Miller – meanwhile – played in the senior side that had its colours lowered to Phillip Island.

Cameron admitted it was “a funny feeling” winning another reserves premiership, but watching the seniors struggle afterwards.

But he added that this year’s reserves side was better than the team that also got the job done on the big stage last season.

“We take the piss out of everyone, but we all know where we lie and all play for the jumper,” Cameron said.

“We lost Benson (Ben Miller) and we lost Yappy (Brodie Yapp) from the side we played two weeks ago and beat them by eight goals.

“I always said we were a six goal better side even without Benny and Yappy, and that’s what we won by.

“We know our gameplan, and Hobbo (player-coach Brett Hobson) keeps it plain and simple.”

Cameron has played 27 years of footy and until last year hadn’t played in a premiership.

He knows just what Saturday’s result meant for those who weren’t a part of last year’s side.

But he’s not going to hang the boots up any time soon but the sound of things.

“I’ll still go until the body tells me to stop,” he said.

While Kooweerup got the job done with a six goal win over Inverloch Kongwak in the reserves – 8.3 (51) to 2.1 (13) – the fourths also emerged victorious with a 10-point win over Phillip Island, 4.3 (27) to 2.5 (17).

Coach Justin Whitta spoke to the Gazette after their win.

“We actually tried to copy their style of play,” he said, paying tribute to the Bulldogs.

“The way they get their numbers behind the ball, they’re really impressive.

“We had a plan to go about it – we hoped it was raining, because I think we backed ourselves better.”

Whitta spoke about the stellar performances of best-on-ground medallist Nick Prowd and Matthew Voss in particular, adding: “Who knows where they’re going with their football, (but) I think they’ll go a fair way.

“When I look at the side, hopefully half of them go on and play senior football – that’d be pretty rare.”

Finally, Whitta downplayed his role in the group’s premiership, modestly saying: “I always say we, as coaches, are overrated. We try and complicate the game, but at the end of the day they’ve got to believe in what we’re doing.”

Interestingly, Whitta’s father-in-law Gary O’Hehir played in Kooweerup’s last senior premiership in 1981.

In the week’s other grand final, the Island defeated Cora Lynn by 14 points in the thirds (under-18s) – 3.8 (26) to 1.6 (12).

Phillip Island’s Connor Thompson won the best on ground medal.

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