MACLEOD coach Garry Ramsay has described the five-goal burst late in the third quarter of the Division 1 grand final as the best football his side played all season.
Ramsay’s side claimed the Northern Football League’s Division 1 premiership on Saturday with a 13.9 (87) to 9.12 (66) victory over Greensborough at Preston City Oval.
The triumph was set-up in a 13-minute period before three-quarter time, where the Roos turned a nine-point deficit into a 23-point advantage.
“Everything worked perfectly from the centre bounces we pushed it forward. They used the right kicks, they ran through the middle. That was the best football we played all year, definitely,” Ramsay said as he reflected on Macleod’s second Division 1 premiership, and first since 1971.
Macleod controlled a low-scoring first half and led by 10 points at the main break, before Greensborough threatened to run away with its second successive premiership soon after half time.
The Boro kicked five of the opening seven goals of the third quarter to take a lead for the first time of the day.
In Ramsay’s eyes, the Roos responded with their best football to take back the momentum and run away with the match.
“I always felt we would overrun them so to be in front at half time was fantastic,” Ramsay said.
“We spoke about it that there would be a time in the match that Greensborough was going to come at us because they’re a great team. It was good to turn that around, we didn’t let it keep going.
“I think in other games against Greensborough either side hasn’t been able to stop the momentum, but we were able to stop it fairly quickly, then kick ourselves back into the game.”
Ramsay paid particular credit to captain Kane Shaw – who changed the course of the game when moved from defence into the ruck to replace the injured Chris Long in the third term.
The Roos’ coach said it was a spur of the moment decision to throw his skipper into the centre square and the moved paid immediate dividends.
“Kane Shaw – the captain was fantastic. He did exactly what he was asked. He played the role beautifully and then went to the ruck and changed the game. He was great in a stopping role but then when it was time to be proactive he was fantastic as well,” Ramsay said.
“He hasn’t played that role in the past, it was just a spur of the moment decision that wasn’t planned.
“We felt that we were starting to get beaten around the ball and needed intensity. So we moved him to the ruck and it was his intensity that lifted his teammates and I thought that was a really good sign from the captain and leader.”
Macleod’s win was made all the more special by its ability to overcome injuries to a number of key players throughout the day.
The Roos were severely limited on rotations in the second half, with ruckman Long, defender Steve Kelly and midfielder Matthew Yarwood all succumbing to injury.
Forward Nick Lynch played the game out, but under serious duress with a hand injury.
Ramsay revealed Macleod’s premiership win had capped off the three-year plan devised when he first took over as coach of the club in 2013.
“I think in my first year the plan was to avoid relegation because we’d lost a few players when I first took over,” he said.
“In my second year the plan was to play finals and in the third year it was to win the flag. In a way it went exactly the way we sort of planned it three years ago.”
He said the club would enjoy its success in the short term, but admitted focus would very soon shift to defending its title next year.
“Our goal as club is to have all three sides there next year,” he said.
“We want to maintain that high level for the seniors but also we want to build something strong in the reserves and under-19s.
“We want this to be a whole club build so we’ve got a lot of things to get better at and there are different areas we have to improve on as a club as a whole. Our real focus will be to improve the whole list.”