Mallee Tigers take out state title at VACSAL

Mallee Tigers take out State flag

A triumphant Mallee Tigers Sunraysia team has taken out the coveted A Grade football title for the first time at the annual Victorian Indigenous football and netball carnival at the weekend.
A record six Mallee Tigers teams, sponsored by Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) contested the Victorian Aboriginal Community Service Association Limited (VACSAL) titles in Ballarat at the weekend.
The group’s C Grade netballers and A Grade footballers made the finals of the three-day competition, with the footballers taking out the title for their division.
The Mallee Tigers A-Grade team won three of five games on the Saturday, then took out their elimination to secure a place in the Grand Final against the Fitzroy Stars on Sunday afternoon.
MDAS community engagement officer John Jackson, who was part the lineup, said players and supporters were ecstatic to win the Grand Final thriller.
“It was an absolute belter of a game.  It was four 15-minute quarters and on the final siren it was a draw,” Jackson said.
“We played five minutes overtime each way, and after the first overtime, it was still a draw,” he said.
“But in the second five minutes of overtime we were able to get away from the Stars for a seven-point win.”
MDAS acting Chief Executive Officer Keith Hampton said the organisation provided sponsorship to allow the teams to travel to Ballarat.
“Because of the isolation here in the Mallee, it’s important to take up chances for community members to catch up and compete – that’s not just local community members getting together but meeting up with other communities from across the State,” Mr Hampton said.
Co-coaches Nathan Yates and Jason Kirby said the teams had been training since mid-September and the both the preparation and the weekend carnival were a huge success.
“It was an absolutely deadly weekend and for all of us it meant so much to represent our community and mob,” Yates said. 
“The kids we had on the trip just soaked everything in, the culture, preparations for the games, warmups and supporting the players in the other football and netball games,” he said.
Kirby said the Tigers were “stoked to bring home the region’s very first Division One title at the Victorian Carnival.
“We’ve got the silverware and bragging rights for the next 12 months – and we’re already looking at the next challenge – going back-to-back!” Kirby said.

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