Saturday the 23rd September, the mighty Södermalm Blues lined up against Solna Axeman for the 2017 SAFF Grand Final. The boys in blue were happy to wear the underdog tag but took plenty of confidence from upsetting the Axeman 3 weeks prior. The JCG was looking extremely wet and muddy and Söder knew we were in for a tough and scrappy game.
At the very start of the game Söder won the centre break, however it was quickly turned it over and came rocketing back. The Axeman then took full advantage and within the opening minutes they were already 1 goal up. Söder then fought hard to get the game level, but missed a few golden opportunities and before we knew it, Solna had jumped out to a 2 goal lead. The game continued to see-saw throughout the first, but moments before the whistle was blown, Söder had managed to scrap the ball forward and finally get one on the board.
The second quarter started with a fierce determination from the Blues and we steadily got on top in general play. The conditions however meant simple marks and kicks were anything but, and the game started to get into a real fight. The Axeman were still managing to get the ball forward, however the back line of Tunde, MB, Brad and Gaz stood firm. Söder started to get on top in the middle about half way through with Jake throwing his body around in his typically fearless manner and Wolfman starting to assert himself in the ruck contests. The ball swayed from end to end with not much scoring and the Blues headed into half time less than a goal down.
After the long break the Axeman pushed hard and hit the score board with the first goal, extended there lead and starting strongly in the Premiership quarter. Mick Larrson then managed to mark strongly a few minutes later and converted from 50m out. The game was firmly in the balance and Söder needed to stay strong and keep there feet in the wet and muddy conditions. After working the ball slowly out of the back half, Nick and Tanka combined to once again push it forward and we managed to keep it locked in there for a few minutes. After a ball-up contest Brissles came from nowhere and soccered through for another major. The next play saw Brad rebounding from the back and finding Grant who marked comfortably on the 50m and went back for the biggest kick of the game so far. With the wind in his face he managed to kick the ball right through the middle and Södermalm hit the front! The whistle blew and Söder were high on confidence but knowing a big final quarter was left to play.
The final quarter of 2017 started and Söder were able to win the ball and rebound from the back line, with Gaz hitting Macca lace-out. The ball was then pumped forward and a scrap ensured and somehow Mick Larrson slammed it on the boot and Söder were off to the magical start. Solna then pushed forward hard after the ball up and several attempts on goal went begging and the boys of the Söder back line won the battle. Once again the ball rebounded with Macca and Wolfman combining beautifully to get it straight down to Brissles. He then converted truly and Söder had 2 goals within the first five minutes. The very next ball up saw Wolfman smash it forward to a running Tommy who booted it long to Grant. The big fella then somehow managed to handball to a running Mick Larrson who kicked the most FREAKISH snap on his left to make it 3 and all but put the game beyond Solna. After the restart Söder played smart football and managed to run down the clock with the last 10 minutes flying by. We then enjoyed the final few moments before being crowned SAFF 2017 PREMIERS! GO BLUES!!!
Best on ground deservedly went to Brad, well done mate!
Final score: Södermalm Blues 8.7. 55 defeating Solna Axeman 5.8. 38