BATHURST Bushrangers has claimed its seventh AFL Central West tier one premiership after withstanding a second half fight back from city rivals Bathurst Giants on Saturday.
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Bushrangers pulled out to a 23-point lead at one stage in the second quarter at George Park 2, but the Giants would claw their way back to trail by just four points in the third quarter.
Bushrangers captain Bill Watterson said it was an amazing result.
"It was phenomenal," he said.
"This caps off a great year. It makes all that hard work we did at the start of the year worth it. Running our guts out in pre-season, all those cold nights for training.
"They're a great bunch of boys and I couldn't be happier."
Hugh Templeton started opened the scoring for the Bushrangers in the opening minutes, his major being one of three he would boot in the grand final.
But the Giants responded quickly and it was skipper Bailey Brien who scored to lock the scores up.
The minor premiers would regain the lead once again, after Andrew James scored and the lead could've been bigger at the break if it wasn't for the inaccurate kicking from Bushrangers.
With a 10-point lead the break, the Bushrangers would ultimately stretch the lead out to 23 points at one stage in the second quarter, but goals from Cooper Brien and Ji Hartland reduced the margin to 10 at half-time.
The third quarter was where the match came alive, with both teams kicking four majors apiece.
Emmitt Carr-Smith scored within the first minute of the third quarter, to get the Giants within four points.
But some quick-fire Bushrangers goals saw the hosts stretch the lead, but the Giants, like they did in the second quarter, kicked some late majors to keep within touch.
Five minutes into the final quarter, Liam Cooke got the Giants within seven points and a minute later, the men in orange had a chance to get within one, but a Brien shot missed everything.
Two quick majors from Templeton saw the Bushrangers gain control once again and it was enough for them to secure the result and the premiership.
Watterson admitted the result could've gone either way.
"I was very nervous halfway through that last quarter, thinking that game could've gone either way," he said.
"We rallied but I just can't give enough credit to how we played.
"But the Giants, that was an unreal performance from them. It was a great game and that's how grand finals should be played.
"They brought it to us but we just kept our structure and all those things that have been drummed into us all year."
Giants coach Mark Kennedy, who was coaching his last game before retiring, said he was immensely proud of his team's performance.
"When I looked at the team list for the Bathurst Bushrangers, it was probably one of the strongest teams I've ever seen them put on the paddock," he said.
"We knew we had our work cut out for us, but we just wanted to stick to our game plan and put a lot of pressure on the ball carrier."
Kennedy said while the Giants had their chances to win, he wasn't dwelling on the missed opportunities.
"We had our chances in the last quarter, a couple of shots on goal. They didn't go our way, but at the end of the day, what a great contest," he said.
"I can't be disappointed. The Bushrangers are a really good side and my son [Samuel Kennedy] plays for them. I've got one son that's happy and one that's sad, as James plays for me.
"It was a great contest and it was a fitting end to the season."
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