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Southbridge Win Luisetti Seeds Combined Division 1
The mood at Lincoln Domain was as tense as it was possible to be without someone being hurt. With two minutes remaining Lincoln were pounding Southbridge’s line in the final of the Luisetti Seeds combined country competition. The red and blacks were behind 20-23 but inching their way closer to the line. A try seemed inevitable.
Southbridge captain Adam Oorschot was on the ground, getting to his feet to repel the latest Lincoln invasion before hitting the turf again. He said after the match that he felt physically sick as it appeared only a matter of time before Lincoln scored.
Then the home side did something strange: they let their backs have the ball. Hindsight is a great thing, but as soon as the pass was made the Lincoln supporters groaned: why change tactics when things were going so well? The ball was moved along the backline. The red and blacks looked as if they had an overlap.
“I knew that if I didn’t get the ball they would have scored and won the match,” Southbridge full-back William McGoon says. “I saw the pass coming and I went for it.”
It was the defining moment of this gripping final. Southbridge had led early and, playing with a slight breeze, had the better of the first half. A try by the outstanding Lincoln flanker Mike Werahiko near the break narrowed Southbridge’s lead to 16-10 by half-time.
Adam Oorschot says Southbridge knew Lincoln would come back. “They are a great side and have a very proud tradition in recent years, especially at home.”
Lincoln did come back in the second half: outstanding prop Joe Moody scored a try before being sin-binned late in the match. Down 20-16, Southbridge also came back thanks to a converted try to right wing Jed Palmer. Adam says his side showed great character to score after being behind.
Lincoln now had to play catch-up. Even with Moody in the sin-bin (he had attempted to stop Southbridge scoring under the posts) the red and blacks attacked.
Lincoln came within inches of winning another combined country title. Their forwards, magnificently drilled, ploughed forward until their change of tactics. No one was capable of catching William McGoon when he took off with a magnificent intercept.
“I just had to run,” he says. “When I scored I thought about all the people who had supported us and our coaches who had worked so hard for us.”
The hollows of joy within the Southbridge camp when William McGoon dotted down could be heard in Springston. It was deserved: not since 1985 when the club had won the Ellesmere final had Southbridge won a senior title. The try was converted, with Southbridge clinching the victory 30-20.
“We plugged away and we plugged away and we never gave up,” Adam says. “We prepared well and we wanted to do the jersey proud. Hopefully we did that.”
Adam says his side will now focus on the Coleman Shield (the Ellesmere competition). Yet he accepts their season will be defined by those tense moments in the final minutes at Lincoln when his side defended like Trojans.
Photo: Ken Baker Photography
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