OUR league is as strong as ever.
It’s the message coming from the Goulburn Valley League camp after its 22-point win against Ballarat at the MCG on Saturday.
There has been some talk within footballing circles that the GVL has been dipping in recent years.
It’s not the belief within the league.
And the purple and gold went out on Saturday to prove it.
Their statement came in the final quarter.
After trailing at every change, the GV booted seven goals to two to run out winners.
Tatura star Brandyn Grenfell claimed best on ground honours for the day, finishing with six goals.
Kyabram footballer Michael Mattingly — making his first appearance for the GVL — said his side played a strong game.
‘‘It was a great result,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a really positive game of footy. Being on a big ground it allowed us to play some open and attacking football. It was the kind of game that you like to see as a spectator.’’
Mattingly said it meant a lot to the competition to make a statement about their quality.
‘‘We knew going into the game that Ballarat were going to produce high quality football,’’ he said.
‘‘We knew our own strengths going into the game, and we played to them. There’s been a bit of talk about the GVL maybe not being as strong as it once was and that the quality has been dropping.
‘‘We’ve never believed that, and it’s not what I’ve seen in my time in the competition. We think yesterday shows that this is a great league with some serious quality, and beating a really good side helps that image.’’
Mattingly held high praise for teammate Grenfell’s performance.
‘‘Brandyn was fantastic,’’ he said.
‘‘We were able to move the ball inside and drop it on his head a lot because we knew he would win the contest and take the mark. There is a reason he has the reputation that he has within this league.’’
The game provided the GV players the opportunity to play on the MCG — many for the first time — and Mattingly said while the opportunity was special, he didn’t notice so much during the match.
‘‘It’s something that is an incredibly big deal,’’ he said.
‘‘You’re really aware of it when you are running out and you look around. But once you are in the game, you could be playing anywhere because you’re dead focused on the game itself.
‘‘That said, you do have an extra look and take it in after the game is finished. Who knows if you’re ever going to play there again.’’
■ ECHUCA young gun Liam Tenace booted four goals in the GVL’s under 18 victory.
Not far from the MCG at Punt Road, the GV were in a similar position to their senior counterparts, trailing at every change in a low scoring affair.
Late in the third quarter, Tenace made his move, kicking his first goal to leave the side behind by just the single point at the final change.
Tenace then put on a dominant five minute stretch where he kicked three goals to put the GV in front.
A final goal from Mooroopna’s Kai Madgwick put the result beyond doubt, the GV claiming the honours by 10 points.
■ THE GVL have claimed their first victory of the association championships in open netball.
But they had to work incredibly hard for it.
Up against a strong Ovens and Murray side, the game was never firmly in either team’s grasps.
In the end, the women in purple were the better side, coming away with a four goal victory.
■ THE 17 and under side capped off what ended up being a day of dominance for the GV.
The GV produced the most dominant win of the day for any GVL side, with a 52-32 win over Ovens and Murray.