Paroa wins championship title
The last men’s game of the season took place on Sunday between Paroa and Grey United, with Paroa needing only one point to reclaim the main championship shield for the first time since 2007. Paroa started the game low on numbers, missing a few key players that have really performed throughout the season, however they still had enough talent and experience to claim a 3-0 win.
Grey United have made some great progress this season, but with nothing to play for, took the unorthodox step of choosing player positions by drawing names out of a hat five minutes before kick-off. Playing with little fear of losing they actually managed to put Paroa under some pressure in the first half and created a number of half-decent chances. As it was, the only goal of the first half came when Martin McDonald’s through ball allowed Matt Wakeford to beat the offside and he finished past the stand in keeper Daniel Horridge. Horridge had a great first half in goals, coming off his line well and making a few saves. McDonald hit the cross bar and Steve Eden had a great headed chance, but Paroa went in to the break only 1-0 up.
After more random assignment of positions, Grey United came out a completely different side in the second half. Paroa were to claim their second after Shaun Williamson, the latest Grey United keeper, failed to hold a cross and McDonald capitalised after making a great burst into the box. Grey United continued to press forward, committing numbers to corners and attacks, and John Kennedy defied his age with a great second half performance, with some great dribbling and passing up front. The Paroa defence always managed to hold on, with Zac Colligan and Eden in the centre of defence managing to restrict Grey United to any real clear chances. Perhaps sensing some vulnerability at in the Grey United defence, Colligan took himself into the forwards and was rewarded after he latched on to a through ball and finished past Williamson, to claim his first goal, and the last goal of the season.
Paroa had some great performances all over the park, but the midfield duo of McDonald and Rob Orr made the biggest difference. Grey United will be pleased to finish the season with a stronger squad than they started, and with Raven Brown, Daniel Horridge and Cameron Dodds, they have some great young players to develop in the coming years.
The late kick-off between Westport Cos and Marist failed to eventuate after Westport failed to make the trip, but the default win takes Marist off the bottom of the table, leapfrogging Grey United right at the end.
The last time Paroa won the main championship, it was their 13th win in a row, as they won every year between 1995 and 2007. There is every reason to believe they will be challenging for the title for many more seasons, but there will be a few teams next season who will be up for the challenge.