The rise of the Redbacks

Hampton Park celebrated a memorable senior premiership on the weekend. Picture: COURTESY OF CHRIS THOMAS

By Tyler Lewis

AROUND THE GROUNDS

SOUTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

DIVISION 3 – GRAND FINAL

The Hampton Park Football Club is undoubtedly one of the feel good stories of season 2019.

The Redbacks were easily the best side for the year and were rewarded with the ultimate prize with grand final victory over Clayton on the weekend, 9.11 (65) to 1.5 (11).

Hampton Park president Tim Ziegler said he couldn’t believe the final result and was so pleased for the reward on effort over the past few seasons, which has seen the club go through a tough trot.

“It’s a little bit of disbelief,” he said.

“(After) all the hard work that has gone in over the last couple of years, to finally achieve it (premiership glory), it is well worth it.”

Hampton Park was the clear favourite on the weekend against Clayton, but often sides that lead the competition for an extensive period of the home and away season are knocked off in the finals. However, for the Redbacks, their hunger was overwhelming – something Ziegler said has come from years of bad times.

“You never know until it is done,” he said.

“For the first time in a long time we have been the hunted, which was nice.

“We didn’t win a game for a few years before that which was tough.

“To achieve the success this year, after the hard work everyone has put in, is well deserved by the core group of those boys who have pushed through the tough times.

“I obviously couldn’t be any prouder.”

Hampton Park was a club that struggled with knowing where to play within the divisional structures of the MPNFL and South East, and Ziegler believes finding its home in Southern has paid dividends for the small community club that looks to have a sustainable future ahead.

“You always hope it will be the final result,” he said.

“South became the best option with divisional structures of South East and the Mornington Peninsula.

“We decided we needed to make the change and come across to Southern.

“We have and we have been able to reach success on the back of that on the back of that move.

“I think we should be able to hang on to our core that we have built over the past two years.

“The second division is where we wanted Southern to put us at the start of everything.

“Moving up into second, we aren’t worried, we think we can be competitive – I suppose you never know until you get there but we feel we should be okay.”

The Redbacks are set to make their move into the second division of the Southern Football League in 2020 after achieving grand final glory in 2019.

SOUTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

DIVISION 2 – PRELIMINARY FINAL

The Doveton Eagles have carried their stirring finals form into the preliminary final against Murrumbeena, winning 12.14 (86) to 10.10 (70).

After kicking only six behinds in the second, the Eagles bounced back to kick 12.8 from then on.

Russell Robertson booted another four majors while Nick Battle was best afield yet again for the Eagles.

For Murrumbeena, Matthew Lello backed up his performance last game with another best afield effort.

The Eagles will now face off with Springvale Districts in the grand final with a full head of momentum.

SOUTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

DIVISION 4 – GRAND FINAL

South Yarra caused an almighty boilover in the big dance to secure the premiership, defeating Lyndhurst 7.6 (48) to 5.6 (36).

It isn’t often a side wins a grand final after losing the last half of a match, but for South Yarra it will be a treasured statistic to be buried into the Lions’ club history.

The Lions jumped the Lightning early and maintained the flow in the second term, although the Lightning pushed for a late surge, South Yarra held on for the 2019 silverware.

MORNINGTON PENINSULA NEPEAN

DIVISION 2 – GRAND FINAL

What could have been one of the more remarkable days for the Karingal Football Club turned into one of the more forgettable with the Bulls going down in all three grand finals they competed in.

Ex-Cranbourne superstar Marc Holt was unable to break the game open once again in a low scoring affair, booting just the one major as his side could only snare four for the day.

Trailing by only 13 points at the final break, the Bulls were still in the hunt but the Hillmen stormed home to secure its second premiership for the day with a 9.11 (65) to 4.3 (27) victory.

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