The anticipation prior to the 2013 BAS Girls 1stXVIII Grand Final grew as each day past. The game had the makings of a classic. The 2012 Grand Final saw BCC triumph over BGS by 6 points in a titanic struggle in horrendous conditions. The only home- and- away encounter between the two sides in 2013 saw College win by four points, holding off a fast- finishing Grammar side. All involved knew that this was going to be a monumental contest.
The day did not disappointment. The weather gods were shining on the Ballarat Clarendon College Main Oval as a beaming sun greeted all comers to the ground. The playing field had held up well given the recent rain and heavy traffic. Both sides were quietly confident, but they were also aware that this would not be an easy premiership to win.
College took the ascendancy early, taking advantage of supply from the mid- field and an open forward line. BGS began to gain some composure and at the first break BCC led one goal two behinds to BGS’s one behind.
The visitors were by far the superior side in the second term. They were running with the ball, kicking long, and moving the ball efficiently. For most of the quarter, College looked dishevelled and disorganised. There was a lack of thinking as to what was required to win the game. Positively, a late rally saw BCC score twice. It would lead by one point at the main break, two goals three behinds to two goals two behinds, at the long break.
Half- time allowed the College players to reassess where they were at. At that time, and in the half to follow, the assistant coaches, Andrew Stewart and Rosie Busuttil, would make significant changes to BCC’s on- field line- up which would have great ramifications.
College began to win sufficient ball in the third quarter, and defensively, the tackling pressure was very pleasing. Despite controlling much of the ball, BCC could only manage one behind for the period. BGS scored an excellent goal on an angle and from long range against the flow of play to take a four point lead into the final term.
Grammar began the last quarter strongly. They gained an early entry into their forward 50 metre zone, looking dangerous and scoring one behind. College was able to rebound, ultimately getting the ball into its forward half. In this area it would stay, as the Clarendon girls tried desperately to overcome the five point deficit. Four behinds were kicked and with 90 seconds to go, BGS was able to clear the ball from defence. However, College won the ball back, and in one last desperate surge, a snap from forward pocket Bronte Armstrong landed in the arms of ruck Elizabeth Steel. A behind would see the scores tied; a goal would see BCC take a five point lead. From ten metres out, on a slight angle, Steel converted. 25 seconds remained on the clock.
This was an exceptional effort and a lesson in desire, commitment, and perseverance. Fourteen of the twenty- five selected players were in their first year. Of the eleven experienced players, only a handful were classified as established members of the team in seasons’ prior. It has been some years since such an inexperienced team took to the field for the College, yet these young women were not to be denied. The legacy of this wonderful outfit lives on.
- Ballarat Clarendon College 3- 8- 26
- Ballarat Grammar School 3- 3- 21