Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The North London Lions have pulled off one of the most remarkable finals series by downing highly fancied favourites the West London Wildcats to claim the 2015 AFL London premiership. Not only have the Lions won their first flag since 2012, and their fourth overall, they have also become a timely reminder for finalists the world over that premierships can be won, even against red hot favourites, from third place.
Not only that, but the Lions showed that when a premiership is on the line it is the team with the better skills, commitment, heart, teamwork and belief that will win the day rather than talent on paper.
The Lions got away to a good start in the first quarter, taking the game up to the Wildcats and a little more. The first break saw the Lions build confidence by leading 3 4 22 to 2 2 14. Starting the second quarter eight points up would have lifted hearts.
A good first quarter requires a suitable backup in the second. In a game of defences the Lions continued to hold the Wildcats at bay. Not only did they win the quarter, but they managed to keep the Wildcats to just one more goal, leading at the main break 4 7 31 to 3 4 22. The Lions now had to brace for a second half fightback from the Wildcats.
The premiership quarter would define the match, as often happens, especially in finals matches. But the Lions were building more and more belief the further the game went. Two goals each for the quarter meant everything came down to the last stanza, but by small degrees the Lions kept winning quarters, going into the last with a 10 point lead. Three quarter time saw the Lions lead 6 9 45 to 5 5 35.
The Wildcats were coming. Anyone that knew the club understood this. A season of dominance was coming down to the final quarter. A monumental fightback was a strong possibility and the Wildcats were just the team to do it. But the Lions were ready.
In a fantastic last quarter the Wildcats kept coming but the valiant Lions just would not concede. Three goals to two in favour of the Wildcats kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. The question would be whether the Wildcats would complete a near perfect season and win with a last gasp or could the brave resilient Lions hold on.
But hold on they did. The North London Lions pulled off the upset of the season in the biggest match and on the largest stage of 2015. History was made and the Lions were triumphant.
The final margin was a solitary point, but for the Wildcats it might have been 100. For the Lions the margin, whilst frighteningly close, now reads as comfortable as any other margin…a win.
Final Scores saw the North London Lions 8 9 57 defeat the West London Wildcats 8 8 56.
And their greatest legacy might just be how their remarkable win inspires belief in every underdog contesting a finals series for the rest of this year. All clubs can now point to the North London Lions as an example of how to beat the odds and win premierships.
So, as the Lions party hard in the wake of their glorious performance, the Wildcats will lick their wounds. But after the realisation of defeat fades they know they can reset the compass and use this loss as motivation to rebuild their dynasty.
But for now it is time to applaud the Lion Kings…AFL London premiers for 2015.
World Footy News