PARKES Panthers has capped off an incredible 2022 AFL Central West tier two season on Saturday, defeating Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels in the grand final at George Park 2 6-9-45 to 3-2-20.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Panthers went through the entire regular season undefeated and while the Bushrangers kept within distant at the end of the first three quarters, Parkes pulled away to win by 25 come full time.
Parkes Panthers coach Mitchell Stubberfield said the win was "unreal".
"Bathurst gave it to us and they were right in it, like goal for goal," he said.
"To get it done today was really satisfying because we've worked hard all year. Yeah, the score lines have blown out in a few games, but at the tail end of the season, the other teams have caught up and put a few points on us.
"That prepped us really well. Today we just outmuscled them in the last quarter and ran away with it."
Bushrangers opened the scoring in the opening minutes when Reece Belmonte scored and it seemed like the Bathurst team might be in with a chance of causing a major upset.
They were showing a strong work rate in the ruck, with Parkes struggling to get the ball into their attacking 50.
But once the Panthers moved the ball up towards their attacking 50, they never looked back, with Alex Boyd and Mark Simmonds both kicking majors to have the visitors up by nine points after the first quarter.
Boyd extended Parkes' lead with another major, before Michael Long kept the Bathurst team within distance at half-time, down by 10 points.
Both teams kicked a goal each in the third quarter, but Parkes showed its class in the final quarter, kicking another two majors while keeping Bushrangers scoreless.
Bushrangers coach Alex Sparks said he was proud of his team's effort.
"All we ask for before the start of the game is to just compete and we did that to the final siren," he said.
"I'm very proud of the efforts they put in today but unfortunately we came up just short."
Sparks said he was pleased with how well his team started the match, which saw the Bushrangers kick the first goal of the game.
"They're a very physical side and if we didn't come in and match that, we wouldn't have been much of a chance," he said.
"To see our guys laying on the tackles in the big moments, that was probably why we were so close in the end.
"James Lemon through the midfield, I thought he had a really great game. For me, some of the young guys like Harry Knight stood up when it counted. Pat Fisher had a great game as well.
"Across the board, I thought everyone competed well and had a great game."
Best on ground went to Parkes' Jye Dillon.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.