Mooroopna's St Mary's Primary School football team overcome a slow start in the grand final to fight back and win the Westpac Cup.GEORGINA CAHILL August 26, 2014 3:15am
Even Cinderella would be proud of the St Mary’s Primary School Year 5 and 6 football team.
On Thursday the group was only the second country school in Victoria to get its hands on the Westpac Cup.
The Mooroopna team travelled to Heidelberg, Melbourne, to compete in the semi-final and then advance to the grand final of School Sport Victoria’s primary school competition.
St Mary’s principal Anthony Butts coached the team alongside Paul Brown and Bill Dowling.
Butts said is was a huge achievement for his school of about 350 students.
‘‘For a country school to win is a huge achievement and considering we played against schools that were two or three times bigger than St Mary’s it was an outstanding victory,’’ Butts said.
‘‘The teams we were playing didn’t even know where Mooroopna was.’’
In the first semi-final of the day St Joseph’s, Warrnambool, claimed a nail-biting two-point win against St Peter’s, East Bentleigh, to secure its grand final date.
St Mary’s then claimed a 46-point win against Glen Katherine Primary School, Eltham, to advance to the grand final.
Centre half-back Dustin Blake was best-on-ground in the semi-final, while Tom McCarty rucked all day and worked tirelessly to give his side first use of the ball.
St Joseph’s had an extra hour between its semi-final and the grand final and Butts said it showed.
‘‘We were outscored 20 points to two in the first half,’’ Butts said.
‘‘It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that we scored our first goal, but then we scored three consecutive goals at the end of the third quarter.’’
James Nethersole booted a goal right on the three-quarter time siren to put his side right in contention.
Jai Carn was the hero of the day when he kicked the winning goal in the final quarter.
Isaac Dowling was named best-on-ground in the grand final, while Darcy Russell won the Sheila Griffin Medal for most courageous player.
Butts said the group did a lap of honour at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve prior to Mooroopna’s and Shepparton Swans’ Goulburn Valley Football League clash on Sunday and its success was a real credit to the club.
‘‘All our players bar one play for the Cats. The support they give the young footballers in the town is outstanding.’’ Butts said.
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