The Yass Magpies have won the 2018 Youth League Premiership, and in fitting fashion too.
Up against Harden Boorowa on Saturday, the Magpies were aware that their grand final opponents were by far the biggest threat to their chances of taking home a championship.
And, as they did in their semi-final, the Magpies managed to turn a half-time deficit into a resounding victory.
The match did not start in Yass’s favour. They were untidy early on, and conceded a number of penalties which undermined the defence around which they had built their success.
One of these penalties was turned into a goal by Harden Boorowa, which gave them a lead of 2-0 which they carried into the break.
“I think we’d played up the middle a lot during the year, and I daresay Harden [Boorowa] had done a little bit of homework there and defended really well there,” Yass coach Dave McPherson said of the first half.
“It was definitely something we spoke about at half time, we spoke about going to the edges a little bit.”
Like magic, the changes worked almost immediately. Although the Magpies had the momentum for most of the first half, the second half saw them convert what previously might have been near misses into two tries.
It was not easy, but the Magpies held on to that 2-10 lead until the final buzzer rang, at which point pandemonium broke loose on Crookwell Memorial Oval.
“[I’m] really good, just over the moon for the boys really, and everyone that was involved,” McPherson said of his emotions following the victory.
“It was a long year, a long, stop-start year. We’d have three weeks off and play a couple, then two weeks off and play a couple.
“The boys worked hard for it all year.”
Yass fullback Bailey Maher was named Man of the Match for his sterling work in organising his side’s defensive effort and the invaluable metres he gained with sparkling footwork.
Meanwhile, Magpies captain Jake Poidevin was full of praise for his side.
“Thanks to Harden, for the good strong game, and thanks to the Yass boys for coming together really well,” Poidevin said. “The last couple of weeks has just been awesome at training, the intensity’s been there the whole time.”