A TACTICAL master stroke five weeks ago paid dividends for the Corangamite Lions on Sunday, with the side winning back-to-back South West Victorian Football Association premierships.
The Lions defeated Warrnambool Wolves 4-2 in the decider at Harris Street Reserve, overcoming their top-ranked opponent for the first time this year.
Coach Jamie Norton revealed post-game a change to his side’s game plan helped them defeat the Wolves.
He praised his side for “buying” into the change, adding it was a great achievement to win a second successive premiership.
“To change our game plan five weeks ago and completely change the way we play and for all the boys to buy into it the way they did was huge,” Norton said.
“The only reason we changed it was to beat the Wolves and that was what our game plan revolved around.”
The Wolves made a strong start early in the contest, scoring the first goal in what was a frenetic 20 minute opening period.
“Wolves scored an absolute blinder of a goal two minutes in so we knew we were in for a big day when that happened,” Norton said.
“We scored one back about two minutes later and that put a bit of faith back into the boys but they scored a penalty early as well so it was 2-1.
“All the scoring happened in the first 20 minutes, it was really just a scramble early, neither side was really setting up their structures and was just trying to win.”
With scores deadlocked at 2-2 at half-time, the Lions had the perfect opening to the second half, with Norton converting a free kick to put his side ahead.
The Wolves attacked the Lions’ defence hard for the next 15 minutes, eventually breaking through to level scores.
But a touch of luck helped the Lions, with Warrnambool’s goal disallowed due to offside, with Corangamite continuing to defend hard as the 90th minute drew closer.
Guy Faber then swooped on a loose ball in the 87th minute and converted a left foot strike send the trophy back to Scotts Creek for the second year running.
Norton was stoked with the Lions’ performance in the grand final and said the players were thrilled to go back-to-back.
He said his side’s composure was good when under pressure and their ability to stick to what they knew that helped them triumph.
“It was just we defended well and attacked well when we had to which won us the game in the end,” he said.
“It’s huge for the club and for the boys that played in last year’s grand final (to go back-to-back).
“Some of the older blokes weren’t going to play next year, but they’ve already committed and said they are going to play on so it’s a good result for the club.”
Lions defender Lachlan Rosolin was named man of the match in the victory.
“He was a big part of that change in our game plan, he played at left back and ran up the wing a lot,” Norton said.
“He and Josh Bassett, they played absolute blinders, it was out of them two for me but Roso was a well deserved best on ground.”