Victoria Country reclaimed the Brian Molony Cup at Ikon Park on Saturday after defeating the VAFA by 17 points.
A strong Goulburn Valley League contingent helped sway the match in Country’s favour, with Seymour’s Jason Cole, Kyabram duo Lachie Smith and Kayne Pettifer and Euroa’s JD Hayes all named among the best players on the day.
Fellow Bomber Mick Mattingly, Lion Zac Keogh, Mansfield’s Brett Mahoney, Tatura’s Brad Ryan and reigning Morrison Medal winner Nik Rokahr — who now plays for Geelong’s VFL side and Bell Park — also contributed heavily to the win.
Hayes — who managed two majors alongside Pettifer, with Cole also snaring one — was full of praise for his teammates.
‘‘There were lots of familiar faces and really good footballers, it was good fun,’’ Hayes said.
‘‘Every GV boy was outstanding, it really puts the GVL in a good light.’’
Led by coach Danny Frawley, Country battled hard against the VAFA in the early stages of the contest without managing to break the deadlock of a three-all game at quarter-time.
But as the match wore on — and despite tough conditions — the regional outfit was able to showcase its skills with the football and turn a seven-point three-quarter time deficit into an almost three-goal victory.
‘‘We had 130 uncontested marks for the game,’’ Hayes said.
‘‘It was a scrappy game, but a lot of the Vic Country boys have amazing skills and it allowed us to play the way we wanted to.
‘‘Playing under ‘Spud’ Frawley was a great thrill too and I went to school with a few of them (the VAFA), so it was good to get the win.’’