Lake Mulwala is full of tales about ‘the one that got away’, the Yarrawonga Second 18 now have their own story about ‘the one that got away’.
With 2 minutes to go, Yarrawonga were holding onto an eight point lead.
Albury were surging and managed to sneak through a goal to put them 2 points behind.
At the ensuring centre bounce, the ball was pushed to the far boundary where the game had been played for the majority of the game.
Albury got a bit of luck from the throw in and again surged forward. The Yarrawonga defenders fought valiantly again to force a stoppage.
From the stoppage, Albury were able to get the ball into a kicking position behind the pack and slotted through a goal in very difficult conditions.
With only seconds to go, the ball went back to the centre where it stayed as the siren sounded shortly after the ball-up to signal Albury’s qualification for the reserves grand final.
Before the entertaining ending to the game, there had been three hard fought quarters of desperate football.
Both teams signalled their intentions from the opening bounce. Neither team were giving space to their opponents and there was very little clean possession.
Albury managed to open up a lead with the game played predominantly in their half of the ground.
It seemed that the Albury team were on top in the midfield even though Alex Byrne and Joe Gorman were holding their own against last year’s league best and fairest, Oliver McEwan.
At the quarter time break, Albury had opened up an eleven-point lead and were looking the stronger of the two teams.
The fighting spirit and proud nature of the Yarrawonga Pigeons wasn’t going to see this team wilt.
In the second quarter they came out strong and signalled their intentions with hard attack on the ball.
With Chris Wilson, Kayden Sharp, David Jones and Jordan Urquhart all doing excellent jobs on their respective opponents in the back half, Matthew Tregenza and Marcus Hargreaves started to give the team some drive.
Timmy Lawrence was starting to get space in the forward half and creating problems for the Albury defenders while Brad O’Connor and Marcus McMillan were proving difficult matchups for Albury. Yarrawonga kicked three goals in the quarter and went into the break five points behind.
The mood in the rooms at halftime was very buoyant and the team knew that they had to defend strongly given that Albury had the scoring end in the third quarter.
The team started strongly but were unable to take advantage by hitting the score board while they had the momentum.
Two mistakes late in the quarter proved costly and the Albury team were able to capitalise.
This allowed the team to jump to a 19-point lead with the rain starting to fall.
Alex Byrne played an inspired last quarter and continually pushed the ball out of the centre square stoppage.
By putting the ball long and deep, Yarrawonga were able to take the lead for the first time in the game.
The ending is known and the game turned into ‘the one that got away’ with Albury qualifying to play in the grand final and Yarrawonga having to take on the inform Wangaratta Magpies.
However, although it might be ‘the one that got away’ for Yarrawonga, they live to fight another day.
Although some critics were heard to say that Yarrawonga are “too old and too slow”, with the spirit that burns in this team/club it might be a mistake to write them off this early in the final’s series.