Ulverstone has claimed its ninth NWFL flag after storming home to defeat Latrobe by 24 points in Saturday’s grand final.
With scores tied at the final change, it was anyone’s game as both teams were unable to establish any significant break on the other throughout a tense and tight first three quarters.
But with fresher legs from a week off, the Robins gained the momentum when it mattered most, holding Latrobe goalless and kicking four goals themselves to run out 11.10 (76) to 7.10 (52) winners and take their first premiership in eight years.
The match looked to be going down to the wire after the first 10 minutes of the final term, with scores still level.
Bentley Johnson then goaled from long range to put the Ulverstone in front before full forward Claye Sculthorpe all but sealed the game with two majors in the space of four minutes.
His first goal somehow found space between the goalposts as he snapped the ball through on his left foot as he was heading towards the boundary.
Sculthorpe then capped off his five-goal haul with a long bomb from outside 50 to take his team out to a 18-point lead at the 17-minute mark.
The steadfast Robins defence repelled the Demons’ best efforts to mount a comeback, with centre half-forward Brandon Howard applying the icing to the cake in the final stages to start the celebrations on the sidelines and in the grandstands.
With a strong south-westerly breeze over the Latrobe Recreation Ground during the afternoon, both teams took plenty of time to settle in the opening quarter, and it was Latrobe who had the better chances but were unable to convert until a late goal from Josh Newson.
Ulverstone found the wind more to their liking in the second term, kicking four of the first five goals, but another goal in the dying stages from the Demons kept them within four points at the main break.
After some fireworks from Robins skipper Brad King to start the second half, Latrobe settled the better with defender Ben Blacklow sneaking forward to kick a rare goal and Kayden Deverell extending the buffer to eight points with his second of the day a minute later.
But unlike the final roster game between the two teams, the Robins managed to halt the Demons’ run with three quick goals of their own before Newson and Josh Holland responded again to level up proceedings.
Ulverstone’s John Holland took out the Wayne Wing Medal for best on ground with a composed performance in defence, with Johnson, Howard, Sculthorpe and King also among the best players.