Back-to-back crowns for Culburra Cougars

PARTY TIME: The Culburra Cougars celebrate winning their third Shoalhaven Football premiership in five seasons. Photos: DAMIAN McGILL

PARTY TIME: The Culburra Cougars celebrate winning their third Shoalhaven Football premiership in five seasons. Photos: DAMIAN McGILL

Dale Blundell

Dale Blundell

IT took penalties to separate them for the second time in three weeks, but Culburra are yet again the Shoalhaven Football first grade premiers.

Their grand final on Saturday against this season’s minor-premiers Gerringong went to spot kicks, after Joel Lockard’s goal for the Breakers was cancelled out by Simon Watts’ effort.

But as George Kulscar said, it doesn’t matter how you win in a grand final.

“Going into the match, we knew what Gerringong like to do, having lost to them in the previous three meetings to them this season,” Kulscar.

“The Breakers like to slide across the field well and keep things nice and compact, making them difficult to breakdown.

“And while they might have had the dominance in the midfield with their passes, they never really got in behind us.

“Heading into extra-time, I knew it was going to be a grind, with a lot of tired bodies out there, but to the lads credit, they dug deep and never gave up.

“Then they held their nerve when it counted and helped us win the match that matters.”

During the shootout, Cougar’s goalkeeper Tom Matthews, in his first season back playing football, proved the difference.

“When it counted, Tom came through and produced for us, making an important save during the shoot-out,” Kulscar said.

“And what was impressive he didn’t let earlier errors affect him, and proved why he is an important member of our side.”

The Cougars have now won three of the past five Shoalhaven Football crowns, thanks to a special  core dominated by family members.

In Saturday’s squad was brothers Stephen and Doug Gray, Mitch and Dale Blundell, Kieran and Jayden Witt and Lindsey and Trent Higgins.

Throughout the season, the team also used two Merivales, Scott and Keith, and Taylors, Keenan and Rhydian, but Scott and Keenan weren’t part of the victorious squad on Saturday.

While Gerringong will have to settle with the minor-premiers trophy, coach Craig Farquhar said it’s a tough pill for swallow for his boys.

“It’s obviously a tough way to lose and the way I saw it, Culburra did what ever they could to spoil our tactics, even if it meant not playing football in the spirit of the game.” he said.

“The biggest thing though, despite the high quality football that was played on the weekend, I don’t think the officiating was up to scratch and it’s something that needs to be addressed before next year.”

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