ECHUCA Primary School’s boys mixed football team made it to the grand final of the School Sport Victoria (SSV) state finals in Melbourne on Thursday, August 24.
There was anticipation and excitement as the team went down to the finals, having finished fourth the previous year there was a drive to do even better.
After winning the regional football finals in Swan Hill two weeks prior, the boys team went on to compete in the finals at Royal Park and finished second overall against eight other schools.
Teams took part in a double-round robin competition with three pools of three teams playing in an initial round-robin before being regraded into three sections.
Echuca won convincingly over Heaney Park (33-2) and Ivanhoe East (30-0) to progress through to section one of the decisive rounds.
The first round match against Ivanhoe East had a great even spread of players which enabled Echuca to get off with a good win.
Another all-round solid performance against a previously undefeated Heaney Park had them battle it out against the best in the state.
They played off against St Joan of Arc Primary School Brighton and St Therese Catholic School, Torquay.
Echuca had a strong win over St Joan of Arc (38-0), playing their best game of the tournament, but unfortunately went down to eventual champions St Therese (8-20) in the final to come runners-up in the state.
It was an evenly contested game with the ball moving from end-to-end constantly and both teams defended well.
It was quite an achievement for a rural team to make the grand final against much larger schools in the state.
Brendan Leersen coached the team from start to finish and did a brilliant job getting them to the state finals.