Merimbula Grasshoppers leap to grand final win

Mo bros: Plenty of the Merimbula Grasshoppers were sporting the 'Movember' look during their 2-1 grand final win over Wolumla.
Mo bros: Plenty of the Merimbula Grasshoppers were sporting the 'Movember' look during their 2-1 grand final win over Wolumla.

The Merimbula Grasshoppers have bounded to the Far South Coast Football Association’s reserve grade premiership. 

Despite their grand final opponents – Wolumla Tigers – having taken out the minor premiership, the Grasshoppers won the grand final 2-1 after being a building force late into the season. 

Their late-season form ultimately saw the Grasshoppers claim a 3-0 win in the major semi-final and secure a week off. 

“It's good to know you're in,” club president Steven Judd said. “You just get to relax and you can look forward to going into the grand final.”

Mr Judd said the Tigers were a formidable team and Merimbula coach Peter Rees had done an exceptional job at preparing his back line to weather the storm on Sunday.

“We knew 100 per cent that they would be hard at it – our focus was on starting well to withstand their pressure and I think we did that pretty well,” he said. 

“Peter focuses on playing the ball out of the back and all the way down the field, so it’s crucial to have that good backline.”

Merimbula had struck first through captain Blake Thomson out of the number four jumper and the morale boost flowed into some brilliant ground passing by the Hoppers. 

“Wolumla have a lot of height in the middle – they win it in the air and pass the ball well, so we had to try and play it on the ground and our speed paid dividends,” Mr Judd said. 

It was through the middle that Riley van Hoesel added a lot of value to the Merimbula attack and was rewarded with the second goal of the day. 

As time ticked away the Tigers mounted increasing pressure on the Merimbula defence and Wolumla’s solitary goal came through a forced own-goal off a Merimbula header as black and yellow jumpers flooded the box off a corner kick. 

The Tigers came painfully close to levelling late in the piece when a hard strike narrowly went wide to bound off the right bar.

Merimbula’s defence stood firm in the final minutes until the final whistle, giving them the premiership 2-1 to a thunderous applause from the home crowd. 

Mr Judd said the club enjoyed social celebrations on Sunday night and commended the team on their efforts. 

In light of some negative comments during first grade, Mr Judd also praised the many fans who were supportive of their teams and just turned out to enjoy the grand final. 

“Thank you to everyone who came along on Sunday from all the clubs and their supporters.”

The future looks bright for the Merimbula club with most players sticking around and plenty of juniors coming through the ranks. 

“There are some great club juniors coming up and a lot of young ladies pushing through the ranks into the women’s as well,” he said.