Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The blueprint for success at any team sporting level is deceptively simple. Well drilled, disciplined, well trained, great communication, ability to execute team plans and essential skills, group goals, positive team ethos, a liberal dose of talent, a great support network off the field and a hunger that is never satisfied.
There are more, but those qualities listed are common to any team that has enjoyed long-term success – and the Manchester Mozzies are proof of that after winning their fourth consecutive AFLCNE premiership in England. To their list of skills, however, can be added two others that come with empires in football – experience in big occasions and belief.
All of that came to the fore this weekend when the Manchester Mozzies downed the Nottingham Scorpions in the AFLCNE Grand Final at Sheffield. In one of the hardest fought slogs of the year - and possibly many years in a finals sense - neither team was prepared to yield for the first three quarters.
The Scorpions got away to just the start they would have been seeking to lead the Mozzies at the first change, albeit by just two points. Still, it was the signal that they were determined to take it up to the Mozzies and avenge last year’s Grand Final loss.
The Mozzies hit back in the second quarter, rattling on three goals to one for the term. It was a small muscle flex from the dynastical Mozzies, but enough to see them go into the main break with a very handy two goal lead.
The “premiership” quarter was always going to be about messages, and the Notts crew did just that. They came hard at the Mozzies with a four goal to three effort to reduce the margin to just two points again by three-quarter time – this time in the Mozzies favour.
Then came the final quarter, and each of the attributes suggested earlier were displayed by the Mozzies. When the match was there to be taken, it was the Mozzies that unleasged a powerhouse final term with a withering seven goals to one. The final margin was a 43 point premiership victory, but that doesn’t really reflect the fight from the Nottingham Scorpions. But in time all that will matter is the name inscribed on the premiership cup. The Manchester Mozzies had won their fourth flag in a row – and remarkably their sixth flag in eight year from seven grand finals.
Nottingham will find it difficult to find solace in defeat, but to reach the big dance in consecutive years takes a special team. Of that they should be proud on the back of two excellent seasons. They could also look back to 2016 and an 83-point loss. They have bridged that gap significantly, especially when looked at from their first three quarters.
But it is now time for the Mozzies to revel in their success, which I am sure they are doing right now without any advice from me.
Quarter Time: Manchester Mozzies 3 3 21 v Nottingham Scorpions 3 5 23
Half Time: Mozzies 6 8 44 v Scorpions 4 8 32
Three-Quarter Time: Mozzies 9 9 63 v Scorpions 8 11 59
Final Score: Manchester Mozzies 16 13 109 d Nottingham Scorpions 9 12 66
In the Plate final, it was another compelling performance from the Tyne Tees Tigers after taking out the inaugural Plate Final in 2016. Up against the league’s newest team, the Merseyside Saints, the Tiger were ruthless in the first half when they set up victory keeping the Saints to a solitary goal. After that, the Saints would always struggle and did as the Tigers continued on a path of determination which mirrored their best performances in their best season to date.
Colum Donaghy was judged best on ground while Harry Telfer was adjudged third best after just a hand full of games or Australian football. A point to note is that Tiger forward, Liam Robinson, kicked three goals in the match to take his career total to 45 and become the Tiger’s all time highest goal kicker.
In other news from the AFLCNE, Wolverhampton Wolverines player, George Dibble has taken out the 2017 AFLCNE Best & Fairest award after a stellar season for the Wolverines.
Now clubs will commence their off-season plans – with and without football – and start the various rebuilds for a brand new season in 2018. The Mozzies’ blueprint for success is sure to be high on club agendas during those rebuilds.
Pictures: The victorious Manchester Mozzies (Top), and the Plate winning Tyne Tees Tigers (Bottom)
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