WARRIORS CAP OFF IMPRESSIVE SEASON
By SAM RICHARDS
The second last Saturday in September, but the last weekend of Under 18’s Division 1 football for 2019, provided a mouth-watering contest between two sides desperate to get their hands on the TIV premiership cup.
Following last week’s upset win over the Vikings – a performance led by a strong first half – Werribee Districts continued their impressive first quarter starts, adapting to high pressure stakes almost immediately, kicking three of the first four goals of the game.
Kortez Hawea-King (2 goals) was ferocious across the Tigers’ forward-50, while Luke Tarola and Cooper Bailey were frenetic early around the contest.
However, unlike Altona the previous week, Hoppers Crossing would respond in emphatic fashion, kicking four of the next five goals to miraculously race to a five-point half time lead – a lead they would never release.
Forwards Bilal Chehade (3 goals) and Ezzat Haddara (2 goals) began working themselves into the contest, while Ahmed Haddara’s pressure around the contest was instrumental in the second quarter fightback.
This relentless attack would continue in the third quarter, as Hoppers Crossing raced out to a game high 23-point lead at three quarter time, thanks to a three goal to one performance.
A passionate final huddle from the Werribee faithful would inspire an immediate fightback, as supporters began to believe the Warriors had already given their best shot and were beginning to run out of steam.
In a fiery opening 10 minutes, both sides exchanged physically blows, while a stunning showcase of pace, balance and poise from Werribee’s Brodie Wingard would cut the margin back to just 3 goals.
However, the classy Warriors would quickly respond – as they had done all season.
Despite getting their hands to the ball first, winning the early clearances, Werribee’s inability to lower the eyes and execute their forward entries began quelling any genuine hopes of a comeback, playing right into the hands of an organised Hoppers Crossing back six.
As the margin stretched back to 19 points, the final siren would sound, and jubilation would surround a Hoppers Crossing side that will be remembered for seasons to come.
The Grand Final win capped a remarkable season for the Warriors, who closed out the season winning seven consecutive games and going undefeated in the Under 18’s Division 1 finals.
Ezzat Haddara was named best on ground for the regions newest Under 18’s premiers.
A fitting end to a fantastic season of TIV Under 18’s Division 1 football.