Related: Wallamba vs Wingham | Photos
WALLAMBA held on to secure the club’s first Southern All Age football premiership by defeating Wingham 2-0 in the grand final played at the Zone Field at Taree Recreation Centre.
This was also Wallamba’s first premiership in any competition since 1983.
Wingham Warriors went in as slight favourites although it was always going to be a close contest.
The match was played with intensity from the start and both teams intent on playing a good brand of passing and constructive football and clearly both teams had the eye firmly focused on the ultimate prize.
No quarter was given but the game, it must be said, was played in good spirit and with passion and respect for each other.
Wallamba against the run of play scored early courtesy of a counter attack and finished brilliantly by 10 Matthew Absalom.
This seemed to unsettle the Wingham side and after a second goal to Wallamba’s Trent Lamborn just before half time the match began to appear out of Wingham’s reach.
Undaunted the Warriors came out after halftime and made numerous forays in to the Wallamba penalty area, causing the Wallamba goalkeeper to make several late saves and hold the attack at bay.
Despite throwing everything at Wallamba, Wingham were unable to bridge the gap and as the minutes ticked down continued to attack at all costs with no result.
The Wallamba players held firm and deservedly eventual winners securing their first senior title in the process.
Most valuable player on field was Corey Nash from Wallamba.
"We were all thinking that we'd already won the grand final when we came away from Old Bar with the win (in the preliminary final) the previous weekend," Nash explained.
"The Barbarians were the form team of the comp – they beat us fair and square in round five. When were won that game we felt like we were already champions."
Wallamba captain and head coach Brendan Aqualina agreed.
"It was important to get the fellas focused on playing this week, we knew Wingham would come at us hard, they did exactly that two weeks earlier, so we needed a good start. We had to forget about the Old Bar game and concentrate on the grand final," Aqualina said.
Wallamba pesident David Weller was excited about what the win means for the club.
"Our senior teams normally don't get too much attention from our junior sides, but I was walking home from work during the week and one of our under sevens told me that when he grew up he was going to play for Wallamba men and the Socceroos,’’ he said.
“That's when I knew of how big an impact this group of blokes has had on our kids. I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest.
"Our W family is steadily growing, we're probably the most casual mob out here playing, already much has been said about our Guilt Free Policy and we think it's working – look at the balloons and the kids with painted faces, club proud community proud."
Wallamba club stalwart Tim Absolom played in his first grade final with his 20-year-old son, Matt and watched proudly as Mathew scored the opening goal.
"I’m taking all the credit of course" Tim smiled.
"Matty couldn't start because he was crook as a dog, so when I subbed him on I gave him instructions based on him only being able to last 10 minutes, but they were 10 cracking minutes."