Skipper's 'boyhood dream' turned reality
A BOYHOOD dream turned reality.
James Gallagher could sell ice to an eskimo, but even the silver tongued skipper of the North Mackay Saints struggled to put into words exactly what Saturday's grand final win meant to him.
The Saints' 10.15-75 to 7.4-46 win over a gallant Eastern Swans put to rest a decade-long senior premiership drought at Zeolla Park and had Gallagher counting his blessings.
It's not every day you get to captain your best mates to a premiership.
"I've thought about that to myself at times this year. I don't really like talking about that sort of stuff through the season, but now that it's done and the emotions start to flow a bit . . . the last few years, coming into a side that's developing and now an established side with these young guns, to have taken it all the way as captain is kind of a boyhood dream,” Gallagher said.
The Saints were the dominant side all season, but had their work cut out for them against an Eastern Swans outfit fuelled by belief an upset was possible.
Kicking with a strong breeze in the first term, the Swans jumped out to a 17-point lead at the first change.
With the wind at their backs in the second, the Saints took advantage with 4.6 in the second term to take a slender seven point advantage into half time.
As the Saints' pressure mounted so-too did the Swans' injury toll and eventually, fresher legs prevailed.
Gallagher paid credit to the Swans for bringing their best on the big stage.
"At no point were we comfortable. We knew they would bring it, and they brought it even longer than we expected,” he said.
"As for the Saints, the way re responded in that third quarter I knew we could go on with it and do some damage.
"It didn't matter what happened in-between. All that mattered was that final siren. To get up today was 11 years of hard work and good recognition for all our supporters over the years.
"For them, and these boys, I'm over the moon.”
The Saints' win over the Swans capped a day of double successes after Reserve Grade earlier won their grand final.
AFL Mackay Allied Pickfords Cup Grand Final
North Mackay Saints 10.15-75 def. Eastern Swans 7.4-46 at Harrup Park
North Mackay Goals: L. Slater 2, S. Dunbar 2,
J. Perkins 2, L. Byrne,
J. Hamann, J. Gallagher, S. Nicholson. Eastern Swans Goals: Not supplied
Best on Ground: Steven Pugh (North Mackay Saints)