In the lead up to the Northern Inland Premier League grand final, North Companions captain Ben Todd said 2017 felt a lot like 2007 and it turns out his sixth sense was bang on the money.
In 2007, Companions won both reserve and first grade crowns in the Northern Inland Premier League and today – Saturday, September 23, 2017 – they repeated the feat.
Both sides won 2-0 in their matches – reserve grade over Demon Knights and first grade against Oxley Vale Attunga – to hand Companions the double on a hot, windy day at Scully Park.
“It’s an effort from everyone,” Todd said following the first grade victory.
“We train as a squad so we're all a part of it. Reserve grade’s out here with us now and the committee’s behind us.
“We’ve got a great president and juniors are going well. It’s just a complete team effort and it’s been rewarded with a grand final win in two grades.”
The first grade match didn’t finish without controversy, though.
With 23 minutes of regular time left in the match, North Companions led 1-0 after Brodie King had scored in the third minute of the game.
However, Mushies had just been given a penalty after Luke Purcell was brought down in the penalty box.
Brendon Fergie took the penalty but Michael Gray made the save which then went out.
As teammates rushed around Gray, a retake was awarded after Gray had moved off his line.
Fergie stepped up for the second time and again Gray made the save.
But OVA had another chance with a corner kick.
Fergie also took the corner and his curling kick managed to beat everyone in the box to find the back of the net, triggering celebrations from OVA.
The celebrations quickly turned to confusion when it was found the ball used to score the goal was not an official match ball.
This resulted in the goal being reversed and the corner retaken.
The retake didn’t have the same result and the game continued at 1-0 to Companions.
The last 20 minutes were frantic as OVA searched for a goal. Mushies hit the crossbar at one point but were unable to find the equaliser.
Companions sealed the win three minutes from time when Jake Thompson scored.
Mushies were then reduced to 10 men just before full time when Jake McGoldrick was red carded but it would have no effect on the match.
North Companions coach Dave Palmer tasted success as a player in 2007 with the reserve grade side and said this win was just as sweet.
“I was the first reserve grade captain to win a premiership in the club. It is different but I’ll tell you now, it’s absolutely awesome. I’ve got no words,” Palmer said.
After full-time, many people mentioned OVA’s incredible run of 10 straight grand final berths.
A fourth straight premiership was the goal but it wasn’t to be and OVA coach Tim Coates said the wind played a part on the day.
“I think the wind was the difference in the first half, [they scored] a scrappy goal but they deserved their lead at half time,” Coates said.
“I thought we were probably worth a goal or two in the second half but they won 2-0 and full credit to them.”