National Inclusion Grand Final at Ransford Oval, Parkville (Victoria)

Vic Country footballers
Vic Country players cherish the chalice of victory.

The Victorian Country team won the National Inclusion Carnival in emphatic style when it defeated Vic Metro by 50 points at Ransford Oval Parkville on Sunday 22 June.

Vic Country had lost to the Metro team by seven points in the opening game of the Carnival, defeated Tasmania by just four points and had to draw on all its resources to defeat surprise packet New South Wales to qualify for the Grand Final.

The Metro team had no answers for Country’s blistering start, when it slammed on three goals in the first ten minutes.

Displaying expert team-work and keeping focused on the ball, Country extended their lead at every break.

“You stuck to the game plan, you stuck to the message,” said coach Rob Klemm. “You went out as boys, as teenagers, as blokes – you came back as men.”

Final scores.

Vic Country 3.1 5.2 7.3 8.4 (52)

Vic Metro 0.0 0.1 0.2   0.2 (2)

Coach Rob Klemm
Post-match wisdom from coach Rob Klemm

The National Inclusion Carnival is a carnival for footballers with intellectual disabilities. It featured teams from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. Eighteen games were played over four days, at Preston, Alphington and then Parkville. The games were 12-a-side, with ten-minutes quarters.

Never a dull moment when NSW were on the field.
Never a dull moment when NSW were on the field.

New South Wales, sporting Greater Western Sydney jumpers, caught many teams off-guard with thier pace and creativity. They featured in two of the most exciting matches of the Carnival, the drawn game against Vic Metro at Preston (all the more dramatic due to a long post-match discussion between goal-umpires, field umpires and scoreboard attendants), and the narrow loss to Vic Country (who, early in the game had one too many players and had to forfeit their first goal).

The Tasmanian team included several top-up players from Victoria. Although the Devils didn’t win a game they gave Vic Country a fright, losing by just four points. This was hot on the heels of having just played a game against South Australia.

“All teams put in magnificent efforts during the Carnival,” said FIDA manager Logan Whitaker. “There has been lots of great team footy and all of it played in a tremendous spirit. I congratulate everyone involved.”

Jason, Scott and Kenny looked after the scoreboard. A pity the handsome scoreboard pavilions were not available…

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