Cats chase premiership glory

Photo: Jasper Carn

Photo: Jasper Carn

Go Cats:  Macedon aims for its first premiership since 1976 at Romsey on Sunday.
Coach Jeff Andrews is pictured addressing his players including (from left) star utility Matt Dick, leading goalkicker and 2017 Bowen Medal winner Jason Cooke, and strong defender Clinton Burgess earlier this season.

Go Cats: Macedon aims for its first premiership since 1976 at Romsey on Sunday. Coach Jeff Andrews is pictured addressing his players including (from left) star utility Matt Dick, leading goalkicker and 2017 Bowen Medal winner Jason Cooke, and strong defender Clinton Burgess earlier this season.

Footy fever is building towards a crescendo in Macedon as the Cats expect to field their strongest possible side in this Sunday's Riddell League grand final against Rupertswood.

Macedon has not had a high profile as far as premierships are concerned, with the club's only flags coming in 1907, 1919, and 1976. But there are plenty of reasons to believe 2017 will be another glory year, as this is the best list of players Macedon has ever had at its disposal.

Cats' supporters are expected to be out in force at the club's training sessions this week, and at the grand final at Romsey on Sunday.

Last Wednesday, Macedon had plenty to celebrate at the Riddell League's annual presentation night.

Club president Terry Kernan, a driving force in Macedon's ascendancy to the top of the ladder, was proud and delighted to accept the Club of the Year award. He paid tribute to the committee and volunteers, and club secretary Lee Christiansen, for their efforts.

Then star forward Jason Cooke took out the coveted Bowen Medal for the best and fairest in the league.

The 22 year-old Cooke, in his third year with the Cats, polled 16 votes to win by one vote from Sunbury Kangaroos' dynamo Tierone Cuffe, with Romsey's Jack O'Sullivan and Ayden Tessari tied in third place on 14. The talented and quick moving O'Sullivan took out the Steve Turner Medal as the league's Rising Gun player.

Cooke, a former star junior with Sunbury Lions, has revitalised his career with Macedon and 11 goals against Rockbank in the second last round earned the three votes to clinch victory.

Now Cooke and the rest of his teammates hope to cap off the season with a premiership.

Macedon's netball coach Ciara Stewart was runner-up in the Ryan Medal (which she won last year) with 18 votes, three behind joint winners Amy Carroll (Diggers Rest) and Rebecca Morabito (Melton Centrals). Rebecca has now won the medal three times.

Experienced coach Jeff Andrews is positive about his side's prospects on Saturday, but certainly will not be underestimating Rupertswood, making its first appearance in a Riddell league grand final since crossing from the Amateurs.

Andrews and Stewart were appointed as coaches for the league's teams of the year in football and netball.

After finishing on top of the ladder, Macedon struggled against Rupertswood at Romsey in the qualifying final, kicking a miserable 1.9 in the first half before gaining momentum and overrunning the Sharks in the latter stages to win by 15 points.

The Cats then survived a tough second semi-final against Diggers Rest, winning by 12 points to reach the grand final.

Prime movers in Matthew Dick and Teaghan Harrison were sidelined through injury, but should return for the Cats for Sunday's match.

Rupertswood, with astute coach Kevin Fitzgerald at the helm, has bounced back from the loss to Macedon with fine performances against Riddell in the first semi-final, then Diggers Rest in the preliminary final on Saturday.

The Sharks have combined well in keeping both Riddell and Diggers Rest to five goals sends an ominous warning the Macedon.

After a close first half, Rupertswood gradually seized control to topple last season's premiers 10.7 to 5.12.

Fitzgerald, who operates a rose farm at Romsey, will be hoping it's a case of "everything coming up roses" for this side in the grand final.

Both sides can play pressure football, and Macedon will have learnt something from the second semi-final.

The Cats' defence has been strong all season, and dual Bowen Medal winner Tom Waters (assistant coach) has been tireless in the ruck.

Expect a large crowd at Romsey on Sunday for the finale to the 2017 season.

The Reserve's grand final will be between Wallan and Sunbury Kangaroos, and Rupertswood and Wallan do battle in the Under 18.5 encounter.

Woodend-Hesket went down by 16 points to Wallan in the preliminary final on Saturday.

The Hawks celebrated individual success at the league's presentation night.

Shane Lindsay was elated to take out the Watson Medal with 20 votes in the Under 18.5s, and Taylah Ranieri capped off a fine season with the league's 19 and under netball award.

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