OVENS AND MURRAY | Yarrawonga Pigeons defeat Wangaratta Magpies to win first thirds premiership

YARRAWONGA claimed its first thirds premiership with a commanding 7.10 (52) to 2.7 (19) win in the wet on Sunday morning.

Constant rain throughout the day meant it was wet weather football all the way through.

The bigger bodies of the Pigeons were suited to the sloppy conditions, often out-muscling their slightly smaller Magpies opponents. 

Neither side could muster a goal in the third quarter as the rain continued to soak the ground. But the Pigeons found a way in the final term, booting two goals to none and sealing the game.

Will Robinson was awarded the Brett Kirk medal for best-on-ground, while Ronan Pritchard booted a game-high two goals.

I hope these boys realise grand finals are hard to get into and hard to win. - Marcus Cummins

After the game, coach Marcus Cummins said it might take some time for the weight of his team's achievement to truly sink in.

“It's a reward for a lot of hard work,” he said.

“From not just this year, but a number of years – it all starts in the under 10s, so it's really good to see some rewards.

“Ross Mulquiney has done a fantastic job developing some of these boys in the under 16s, it's a lot of work for a lot of people.”

With a number of players, including the likes of Ryan Bruce, Jayden Gallagher and Jordan Urquhart, playing senior football at various stages this season, Cummins said the future was bright for the Pigeons.

“It's always hard, particularly in places like Yarrawonga and Corowa, where kids can get opportunities elsewhere, whereas you have to do your time here in the Ovens and Murray league,” he said.

“We'll be encouraging our kids to stay and play here.

“You don't just go straight into seniors, you have to do your apprenticeship, and hopefully this win really steels them together as a group and they stay at Yarrawonga.”

With their names now cemented in club history, Cummins said it was a fair result for a hard season's work.

“I hope these boys realise grand finals are hard to get in to, and just as hard to win,” he said.

The Pigeons also played in third grade finals in 1998 and 2008.

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