The Glen Innes Highlanders missed out on premiership glory after going down in the Armidale District Football Association’s first grade grand final against the Armidale School.
The Highlanders were full of confidence heading into the decider, after they were the only side who got close to toppling the unbeaten schoolboys’ side all year with a draw in round seven.
In a tough battle, the first half saw plenty of chances for both sides as the ball travelled from end to end at Armidale’s Doody Park.
Neither were able to capitalize on those opportunities and the score was nil-all at the halftime break.
Early stages of the second stanza saw a similar style played before Jim Orr broke the game open and landed a goal for TAS.
Shortly after, Bailey Bourke landed the side’s second.
The Highlanders threw everything they had at the home side but strong defence held them out.
While it didn’t go the way of the Highlanders, the future looks bright for the club with a host of young players making an impact in the grand final.
“The juniors coming up through our ranks are really helping,” club president Rob Ferris said.
“We have a team of mostly over 40 year olds so to have those young blokes come through and stepping up and playing well is really helping us out.
“For the next couple of seasons, if we keep these young blokes and keep competing and keep making grand finals, we will win one sooner or later.”
Ferris was proud of his side’s successful season and said TAS were too good on the day.
“We came from pretty sloppy in the first half to making the grand final and getting beaten by a very good team two-nil so we are very happy,” he said.
TAS’ captain Alex Boulus said it was a tough game of football and was proud his side managed to hold on for the victory.
“We had a pretty simple win [early on] but then halfway through the season they came back with a different team and we drew with them 1-1 and that really gave us something to think about into this game and know that we couldn’t come into it complacent.
“We had to win so we had to play our best football and couldn’t leave anything out on the park.”
Boulus highlighted the performance of his young players as being the difference between the two sides.
“Jarrod Bourke stood up in the mid-field and really pulled everything together when the adults went off and we held strong with our schoolboy team,” he said.
“Angus Lloyd in the backline, held together our defence.
“Everyone really pulled together a massive effort to give us the win.
“I am extremely proud of the boys, I can’t really fault them.”