NORTH Albury ensured it would carry plenty of momentum into next season when it stunned an in-form Myrtleford by 41 points in the hills on Saturday.
In an upset of sorts, the Hoppers scored a surprise final round victory at McNamara Reserve against an Alpine Saints’ team shooting for three wins on the trot for the first time since 2006.
But North Albury coach Jason Akermanis and his troops dealt a timely reminder it was the Hoppers who were best of the rest.
North Albury won four of its final five games to fall short of the finals by just one win.
“We’ve shown huge signs the past few weeks,” Akermanis said.
“We were in first, we ran hard and executed our skills.
“We were playing the type of footy we want to play. Everything we wanted to happen, happened.
“I think these past few games really showed the guys that ‘hey, look what we can do’ when we get things right.”
Jarrah Maksymow, who won the Hoppers’ best and fairest on Saturday night, was sublime.
He booted seven goals to finish with 59 for the season.
“‘Jars’ was just a human highlight reel,” Akermanis said.
“Some of the stuff he was doing would have won Almost Football Legends it was that good.”
Kris and Nick Holman were again terrific through the middle of the ground, with talented youngsters Shaun Mannagh and Josh Minogue also under notice.
Captain Daniel Leslie was given the unusual task of curtailing Myrtleford co-coach Brad Murray and followed him everywhere.
Murray was in the Alpine Saints’ best, but the Hoppers were happy with Leslie’s job on the 2005 Morris medallist.
Myrtleford was unable to salute in Leigh Corcoran’s 200th and most likely final game, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
The club announced it had re-signed a raft of key players — including Morris Medal fancy Kristan Height — for next season.
Matt Dussin, Riley O’Shea, Nathan Cossignani, Christian Burgess and Mitch Dalbosco have also put pen to paper.