The Hawthorn Spartans will have to make do with a minor premiership this year after it failed to get past the Old Xaverians in the grand final on Sunday.
It was a debilitating loss for the Spartans, who struggled to catch up to the Xaverians who never missed a beat.
In what was at times a very ugly match, the Old Xaverians got most of their goals through turnovers, stealing possession expertly and marking the ball on
target almost every time.
The small but healthy crowd of Spartan supporters, which even included former AFL chief Andrew Demetriou, were hopeful the Spartans could earn the lead back like they had done in so many games before, but hopefulness turned to doubtfulness after the second quarter.
After a very frustrated and harsh huddle at the end of the first quarter that had coach Anthony Demetriou pleading the team to stay focused and to keep in formation, the Spartans never seemed to gel on the pitch.
As the rain set in – almost like an omen- the players’ energy started to fade.
The defence looked like it was running scared thanks to the size of the Old Xaverians, never really going for a tackle.
Fans were visibly annoyed, with one overheard saying “it’s frustrating to watch, we can’t hit a target”.
It was agonising to see the forward line fumble with the ball so close to the goalposts, losing the ball on a number of occasions.
A highlight of the match was seeing Ari Mitropoulos score four of the seven goals on the day. Ari rightfully holds the award for top goalscorer of the season.
The final score was 115 to the Spartans 47.
The whole team gathered at their home turf, Rathmines Reserve, to lick their wounds after the match and end the season on a high on their own terms.
Despite the lacklustre performance in the grand final, the Spartans were undefeated for 14 matches, and were rightfully crowned minor premiers a few weeks ago.
The team will be coming together once again to congratulate the best and fairest at a function at Kinisi on September 26.
For more information visit www.hawthornspartans.com.au