25 July, 2021
Longreach/ Ilfracombe win in first season
Longreach and Ilfracombe's first season together proved fruitful.
THE merging of Longreach and Ilfracombe has proven to be fruitful with the side taking home the trophy in its inaugural season.
Both teams would have struggled to form a team this season without the merging, but together they have proven to be champions.
The two towns are only a 20-minute drive from each other, and the massive crowd on Saturday night proved just how passionate locals in both towns are about their footy.
Assistant coach Gavin Groves said the turning point for the team was after the loss to Barcaldine in round two.
“We really went away from what we wanted to achieve, it was fairly ugly football,” he said.
“It wasn’t what we wanted to achieve.”
Mr Groves said he was proud that the next week the team backed up to get a big win over Winton.
“That week we definitely played to 100 per cent of our ability,” he said.
“It was the kind of football we were trying to coach.
“We wanted to play an exciting brand of football.”
Another game that was pivotal to the Tigers season was the final seasonal game against the Blackall Magpies, a team that was constantly shadowing the Tigers for the minor premiership.
Mr Groves said losing that game could have made the finals for the Tigers much harder.
“If we lost that game then all of a sudden, we would have had to go back to Blackall to play them in an away final, and we would have had to play two or three really hard games in a row,” he said.
“That’s a credit to Blackall too, they played some really hard games of football late in the year.
“And then, had the grand final won right until the 79th minute.”
Mr Groves said the minor premiership helped the team a lot especially when the team was nursing injuries.
He thanked the committee and volunteers for their help all season, in particular club president Nadia Hoad.
“What we achieved on the field couldn’t have happened without the help we got off the field,” he said.
“Hopefully we keep growing as a club, and we give something for the two towns to cheer about.”
Longreach and Ilfracombe will remain a merged club going into the coming seasons.
“The two towns are so close together are so close together and there’s just not enough young blokes for one.”
Mr Groves was pleased with the results of the year and said there were plenty of new players keen to join for next year.