Panthers end 138-year drought

Brendan Lines

ANGASTON created history in the Barossa, Light & Gawler Football Association on Saturday, defeating Tanunda by 17 points to win its first-ever reserves premiership.

The Panthers buried the ghosts of 10 previous grand final losses to reign supreme in the decider, and secure their first B-grade flag in the club’s 138-year history.

Angaston coach Mathew Booth was touted as having the toughest gig in BL&G football yet, in his third year at the helm, steered his side to the top prize.

The scrappy game was a war of attrition, as Michael Young’s first major opened up the Panthers’ account.

However, the Pies bristled at every contest – Daniel Bergen (three goals) was the main antagonist and levelled the score at the 12-minute mark of the first term.

But Matthew Williams put the Panthers up at the quarter-time break with his only goal.

In the second term, Angaston won the midfield contest through Michael Pech and Nick Feist, and the inside 50s nine to six.

The scrap continued, and a 25-metre penalty saw Panther Jayden Antonie convert a set shot to put his team up by 11 points at half-time.

At the break, Tanunda coach Leigh Underwood ordered his side use its pace and ability to drop the ball in long, and a goal in the opening minutes to Brett Dowse got it started.

Magpie-turned-Panther Brayden Dalby then rose to the occasion, after throwing off a recent bout of food poisoning, to boot three goals in the second-half, with his first extending Angaston’s lead to 13 points.

Antonie was playing the game of his life, and channelled Lance Franklin to slot his second major, from the boundary, to close the third term.
Underwood demanded his side raise the stakes.

“At every opportunity you’ve got to get it and go,” he said.

“You’ve got to put the screws in at every effort, we are rolling the dice at every contest.”

However, Angaston found an extra gear, with Dalby kicking his third and Antonie adding to his 16 possessions, which earned him the Leske Medal for best on ground.

Angaston assistant coach Warren Hughes was consumed by emotion after the game.

“We knew Tanunda were going to be absolutely fantastic…it was always going to be a game of inches,” he said.

“We’re lucky it went our way, they’ve had the wood over us all year, so it’s a credit to them.