Old Scotch held off a fast-finishing Fingal side to win the 2013 NTFA division 2 premiership with an eight-point victory in a thrilling grand final played at Youngtown yesterday in front of a big crowd of about 4000 people.
The Thistles outplayed the minor premier in the first half kicking five goals and holding Fingal to just 1.4, to establish a 26-point lead at half-time.
Old Scotch booted the first two goals of the third quarter to extend its lead and with its run and spread looked likely to run away with an easy win.
But goals to Richard Howe and Heath Lowe steadied the ship for Fingal as the Country Blues began to claw their way back into the contest.
They wrestled the momentum back with some grit and determination and two late goals including a mark and 50-metre penalty to Brad Goodyer saw them within 19 points at three-quarter time.
When Luke French bobbed up and kicked two goals in two minutes at the start of the last quarter, Fingal was within seven points and pressing hard with all the momentum going its way.
Both sides were throwing everything into the contest and Fingal had plenty of chances to hit the front mid-quarter but shots by Richard Howe and French missed the mark.
With just a kick separating the two teams - a free kick and 50-metre penalty gifted a goal to Nick D'Emden which gave Scotch a 12-point lead and some badly-needed breathing space at the 20-minute mark.
Fingal had further chances to steal the game - a Jonathan Smart long bomb, a Cameron Bugg snap and an Anthony Walker set shot all recording behinds in the dying minutes.
French marked and missed again at the 26-minute mark as the Thistles defended grimly and held on for a memorable victory.
''It was always going to be a tough game but the boys stuck to the task and kept going - I'm pretty rapt with them,'' Old Scotch coach Kim Curtis said.
''Our endeavour at the ball and our fitness got over them in the end - I think the week off really helped us and the boys worked hard.
''Fingal are a good side and haven't got where they were by surprise - I knew they were going to keep coming and just hoped we could hold them.''
Sam Lyne was awarded the David O'Keefe Memorial Medal as best on ground for the Thistles.
Lachlan McFadzean was outstanding in the ruck and around the ground with Tom Allison, Sam Burrill and captain Matthew Harvey other good players.
George Walker, Sam Bond and Ricky Evans all kicked two goals each for Scotch.
French finished with three goals for Fingal with Todd Spilsbury, Goodyer, Nick Walker and Bodie Lucas among its best.