When Drifta 14s coach Geoff Hawkins received an email earlier this year from Football Mid North Coast, stating the grand final winners will take part in a zone championship match at Port Macquarie’s Regional Stadium as part of pre-match highlights before the Premier League reserve grade and first grade grand finals, Geoff set his goal. A goal now achieved.
Last year’s premiers, Drifta have had another fantastic season, including the gruelling matches with some nail-biting finishes and extra time with a penalty shootout during the recent weeks of finals. These tough matches have helped as a warm-up to the grand final match held Saturday, September 16 against Pacific Palms. Having already lost twice to Palms this season, Geoff and the boys knew they were in for a battle.
Nerves rattled the teams in the first few minutes, but the determined Drifta boys made nice runs down the sideline and kept the Palm’s defence busy. Aiden Hawkins found himself with space up front and lobbed the ball across the goal, drawing the keeper out, while Joseph Forrester snuck the ball past to put one on the scoreboard. Palm’s came back strong but the defensive line of Hayden Reid, Jack Blamires, William Forrester and Tristyn Beard stopped the runaways, while midfielders Zeke Llewellyn, Kelly Groves, Lane Edwards and Kayden Schumann put balls up to the forwards. Half time score 1-0.
After a quick pep talk at half time, both teams returned with strong defensive tackles from resulting in free kicks, but none converted. Harrison Edwards and Beau Blanch made dominating runs down the left wing, while Isaac Earle-Broadley worked tirelessly in defence. Aiden Hawkins crossed his corner kick to Zeke Llewellyn, who passed to Joseph Forrester to slot into goal with a nice left footer, surprising the Palms’ keeper. Josh Anniwell and his defensive line showed great courage and determination to hold Palms scoreless. At one stage, Josh dived at the feet of a runaway Palms player, putting his body on the line for a tackle. Final score 2-0 to Drifta.
Kayden Schumann was named man of the match by a FMNC representative.
Drifta head to Port Macquarie on September 23 to play the Northern zone undefeated Wauchope Axemen.