Border Mail Grand Final – Preview 2

The Tigers will emulate Culcairn’s performance in 1993 when their seniors, reserves, under 17s and under 14s battle it out on the big stage.

“We had three teams playing in 2004 and 2005 but never four before this season,” club president Jason Gooden said.

“We’re very proud of it.

“We’re continually amazed by the talent coming through.

“The kids look up to guys like Jamie Parr and all the coaches.

“Our under-16 girls are also through to the netball grand final which is a great effort.”

Osborne won three of the four flags in 2005.

Henty grabbed all three premierships in 1986 before the under-14 competition was introduced.

Osborne’s senior side has only missed four finals series since 1985.

But with the nine-time Osborne premiership player only days away from his 40th birthday and the Tigers challenging for another flag, Gleeson was taking any position thrown his way.

“I’m just happy to be playing firsts at my age,” Gleeson said.

“I don’t care where I play.

“I think I played full-back in the under-17s but that’s about it.

“It started when they needed someone to play on Prior (Adam) in round one and I seem to have been stuck there ever since except when ‘Duncs’ (Duncan McMaster) and ‘Parry’ (Jamie Parr) were injured.”

Gleeson kept Prior to two goals in last weekend’s preliminary final and rates Henty full-forward Damian Cupido as his most difficult opponent this season.

“Cupido was too strong for me,” he said.

“He’s the strongest I’ve wrestled with.

“Luckily we played alright that day so I didn’t get touched up too badly.”

The laid-back farmer is approaching his 350th match for Osborne and says Saturday’s grand final against Brock-Burrum could well be his last senior appearance.

Darren Howard is the only other Tiger to reach the 300-game milestone.

“l’ll probably just play seconds next year,” he said.

“I’ve got more farming to do so it’s getting a bit much.

“I’d be happy playing twos.”

Gleeson has played in Osborne’s 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2017 premierships as well as finishing runner-up in another three grand finals.

It’s little wonder he says it feels like his career has flown.

“My first year was 1998 and it doesn’t seem that long ago,” he said.

“It’s changed a bit, probably the biggest thing is the younger blokes are a lot more casual.

“We used to play cards after training on Thursday night but these days the young blokes stick to their phones pretty much.

“It’s been good to be able to have played with a lot of them over the past few years.”

While Gleeson’s record is phenomenal, he still has some work to do to catch Howard and Stephen Clarke.

Howard won nine flags from 15 grand finals at Osborne as well as playing in another two premierships with Albury.

Clarke starred in seven flags with Osborne and three with Albury.

The verdict is in: what 10 Hume league coaches have to say


(Billabong Crows)

Brock-Burrum by 23 points

BOG: Matt Seiter (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 27 points

BOG: Matt Seiter (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 3 points

BOG: Kade Garland (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 17 points

BOG: Adam I’Anson to kick five and live out his childhood dream (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 24 points

BOG: Matt Seiter (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 23 points

BOG: Nico Sedgwick (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 22 points

BOG: John-Roy Williams (BB)


(Murray Magpies)

Osborne by 8 points

BOG: Connor Galvin (Osborne)



Brock-Burrum by 15 points

BOG: Ron Boulton (BB)



Brock-Burrum by 9 points

BOG: Luke Schilg (BB)

Probably not, unless they are as good as the set Jared Brennan put together for Henty this season.

The former AFL player was a human highlights reel with one Swampie supporter chalking him down for seven best afield performances.

It was laughable he polled just four votes in the Azzi medal.

“I’ve never seen a player run at full pace, bend down and pick the ball up with one hand without losing speed,” an opposition player said.

“Brennan just left everyone standing there.”

Brennan was picked at half-back in The Border Mail’s side with Jeremy Luff, Al Austin, Bronson Schofield, Sam Harris and Jesse Margosis as his fellow defenders.

Austin’s selection as Coach of the Year will also raise eyebrows.

While the league named Matt Sharp at the Azzi medal, I’ve gone for Austin on the back of the Billabong Crows’ rapid improvement.

They jumped from four wins to 10 and had their chances to beat preliminary finalists Culcairn in the first week of the finals.

It was the Crows’ first finals appearance since joining the Hume league with officials now having a solid base to build on.

A handful of players selected themselves.

Brock-Burrum’s Matt Seiter and Nico Sedgwick and Culcairn’s Jye Shields were the first three picked after producing brilliant home and away series.

Seiter picked up a record 36 votes in the Azzi, Shields took his game to a new level with improved fitness and Sedgwick was as tough and skillful as ever.

Only eight players – Seiter, Sedgwick, Shields, Harris, Luff, Chris Duck, Dane Hallinan and Steve Jolliffe – have made the side for the second season in a row.

Hallinan has been arguably the player of the finals series.

He kicked goals, took hangers and stepped up whenever coach Josh Hillary needed a spark.

Giant Jack Duck gave up basketball to play football and, after starting the year in attack, was a revelation when thrown into the ruck.

Like all sides, five or so players could consider themselves unlucky.

Osborne’s Sam Livingstone had a big second-half of the season, Lockhart pair Jordan Harrington and Abe Wooden were prolific, Murray Magpies defender Hayden Edwards was lionhearted and CDHBU’s Cal Butler took out the Power’s best and fairest.

The Border Mail’s Team of the Year

B: Bronson Schofield (Billabong Crows), Jeremy Luff (Brock-Burrum), Sam Harris (Holbrook)

HB: Jared Brennan (Henty), Al Austin (Billabong Crows), Jesse Margosis (Lockhart)

C: Steve Jolliffe (Howlong), Dane Hallinan (Culcairn), Declan O’Rourke (Osborne)

HF: Connor Galvin (Osborne), Andrew Dess (Holbrook), Chris Duck (Rand-Walbundrie-Walla)

F: Tyson Neander (Brock-Burrum), Adam Prior (Culcairn), Neil Irwin (Lockhart)

Foll: Matt Seiter (Brock-Burrum), Jye Shields (Culcairn), Nico Sedgwick (Brock-Burrum)

Inter: Jack Duck (Rand-Walbundrie-Walla), Matt Sharp (Holbrook), Matt Rava (Osborne), Ben Baker (Howlong)

Coach of the Year: Al Austin (Billabong Crows)