After the heartbreak of back-to-back Grand Final losses, Curtin Uni Wesley have won their first A Grade premiership in ten years with a thrilling 5-point win over minor premiers Trinity Aquinas.
The Tigers pulled off a stunning comeback, clawing their way back from 33 points down to snatch a stirring 7.9 (51) to 8.8 (56) win at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Toyota A Grade Grand Final WATCH THE FULL REPLAY
In his last game of football, former Essendon Bomber Cory Dell’Olio was the match winner, booting three of Curtin’s four goals in the final term which included the sealer with just over two minutes remaining.
How Dell’Olio became the hero WATCH
Zac McCarrey opened the scoring for Curtin in the opening term, but that was about the only thing they could cheer for in the first half, as Trinity Aquinas made all the running early.
After five consecutive behinds, Haydn Busher was able to break the deadlock for Trinity Aquinas, before Zac Hayward extended the lead with a set shot from the boundary to go into the first break with a 9-point advantage.
A controversial quarter-time red card to midfielder Bill Fetherstonhaugh was the only dampener on what was a dominant start for Trinity Aquinas.
Former West Coast Eagles defender Blayne Wilson was awarded a 50-metre penalty to slot his first PFL goal to open the scoring in the second term.
Zac McCarrey celebrate a goal. (Photo: Aussies In Action)
The game was then played entirely on Trinity Aquinas’ terms, booting the next two goals through Harrison Hyde and Jack Green to go into the main break with a 16-point lead.
Adam Pickering’s side continued to create plenty of headaches for Curtin in the third term, with Haydn Busher kicking his second of the day and Matthew Rodan slotting one from the 50-metre arc just two minutes later.
The Boomers were looking premiership bound after Kendall Taylor launched a long-range goal from 55 metres to extend the lead to 33 points midway through the third term.
Trinity Aquinas celebrate Kendell Taylor's goal. (Photo: Matthew Boggs)
Curtin’s day had been marred by skill errors and ill-discipline, but Craig White and his men refused to give up.
The script flipped completely on its head as the Tigers rallied together, kicking two late goals before three quarter time through Zac McCarrey and Ky Meers, which was a precursor for what was to come.
Trailing by 20 points going into the final term, the stage was set for Cory Dell’Olio to become the hero in his final game.
With a third straight Grand Final loss in sight, Curtin players willed themselves to every ball and surged forward at every opportunity, with Cory Dell’Olio hitting the scoreboard ten minutes into the final term to well and truly revive his side’s premiership hopes.
At the following centre bounce, Co-captain Ky Meers broke free from the stoppage to set up Cooper Morrow for Curtin’s second goal of the quarter to put them within 9 points of Trinity.
Curtin Uni Wesley Co-captain Ky Meers. (Photo: Matthew Boggs)
With five minutes remaining, Cory Dell’Olio found himself on the end of a Curtin counterattack to level the scores, sending the Tiger faithful into raptures.
7.8.50 apiece in the dying moments of a Grand Final. You can only dream about these days.
Curtin’s forward fifty was occupied by only one man by the name of Cory Dell’Olio.
With just over two minutes remaining, a pinpointed pass from Tom Mackenzie through the middle of the ground found Dell’Olio 40 metres out from goal.
Dell’Olio went back in front of the Boomers faithful and kicked truly to put the Tigers in front by a single kick.
Corey Dell'Olio celebrates his match-winning goal. (Photo: Luke Baker)
A battered and bruised Trinity Aquinas were not done yet, with Kendall Taylor willing himself through a stoppage to find A Grade leading goalkicker Ryan Vermeersch.
From 50 out, to level the scores, with under a minute remaining, the kick swayed to the right.
With a boundary throw in on the grandstand wing, the siren sounded to end a ten-year premiership drought for Curtin Uni Wesley.
The Tigers faithful came from the fences and charged onto the ground to join in on the celebrations with Craig White and his team.
Curtin Uni Wesley claim Sandover Shield after back-to-back Grand Final losses. (Photo: Luke Baker)
Curtin Uni Wesley midfielder Kyle Hamersley was awarded the B.J Giles medal after being judged best afield, playing a pivotal role in securing his team their first Sandover Shield since 2013.
TRINITY AQUINAS: 2.5, 4.7, 7.7, 7.9 (51)
CURTIN UNI WESLEY: 1.2, 2.4, 4.5, 8.8 (56)
TRINITY AQUINAS: H. Busher 2, K. Taylor, M. Rodan, Z. Hayward, J. Green, H. Hyde
CURTIN UNI WESLEY: C. Dell’Olio 3, Z. McCarrey 2, B. Wilson, C. Morrow, K. Meers
B.J GILES MEDAL: Kyle Hamersley (Curtin Uni Wesley)