MELBOURNE has fallen at the final hurdle, losing the Dewar Shield grand final to Moorabbin in a frenetic match on Saturday afternoon.
Coming into the game on the back of an unbeaten season and chasing their fourth Dewar Shield in succession, Melbourne started as favourites but couldn’t match Moorabbin’s hunger, going down 30-24 at Sparks Reserve.
Melbourne scored first, making the most of three penalties to shoot to a 9-0 lead, but while they dominated play, they were unable to convert their strength into tries.
Moorabbin responded soon after with back-to-back tries to take the lead, before a late penalty to Melbourne had the scores locked at 12-12 at half-time.
A full field run from Moorabbin put them in front once again early in the second half, while the Rams’ backs were able to limit Melbourne’s renowned scoring power.
Moorabbin never relinquished the lead in the second half and a penalty and another try put the game beyond doubt and sealed a historic win for the Rams.
Melbourne coach Mitch Canning was philosophical about the result .
“Everything we tried just didn’t come off,” Canning said. “It was either a second too late, or an inch too early or whatever, and every single thing they had a small crack at seemed to result in points.
“But if you looked at our team they were really energised and absolutely into it, you couldn’t challenge their effort.”
Craig Charters played a great game at lock for the Unicorns, while Tom Lucas and Todd Orchard were both solid contributors in a losing cause.
Despite the loss, Canning took some satisfaction from one of the most dominant premier rugby seasons on record.
“Our first grade won 95 per cent of their matches, so did our second grade, and our thirds won 90 per cent of theirs, so as a season I think that’s an incredible result,” he said.
“It just shows the theatre of sport that when you get to finals the result is on the day.”