The first week of finals and Eltham had a week’s rest whilst Diamond Creek beat Reservoir Lakeside by 1 point in the 1st Semi Final.
The Panthers took on Macleod/Rosanna in the 2nd Semi Final at Epping on one that the DV News rated as ‘some of the best football seen in a DVFL final series”.
Although weakened by injury, Macleod/Rosanna took it up to Eltham and would have had the Panthers in trouble had they kicked straight in the 1st quarter. Eltham had 3 goals straight to Macleod/Rosanna’s 2.8 They continued to worry the Panthers and lead by 7 points at half time.
The third term was a real battle with Eltham gaining the ascendency in the final 10 minutes of the quarter. The Panthers in the end proved to be too talented running away to win by 43 points. Pettigrew with 7 goals was judged best on ground.Diamond Creek won the right to play the Panthers in the Grand Final with a win in the Preliminary and have a chance to avenge its defeat the previous year.
Around 5,000 people watched the Grand Final at Epping and it was ‘Diamo’ that started the better to take an 11 point lead and were roughing up Eltham at every opportunity. Goals to Bray and Walker put the Panthers in front but the Creek came back to lead by 2 goals at ¼ time.
Eltham kicked 5 goals in the 2nd term including one by Mike Annett which travelled 70 yards and had the crowd gasping.
Although up by 13 points at half time, the Panthers had lost wingman Noel Spoor with a recurrence of a shoulder injury and both 19th and 20th men were on the ground when ruckman Dave Robinson was king-hit and knocked out. Annett was on hand to ensure the culprit followed Robbo off the ground. A goal by Bruce Wright put the Panthers in front by 6 points at ¾ time, so the game was still there for the taking.
Bruce Wright added a further 2 goals in the first 6 minutes of the last quarter and although ‘Diamo’ got one back, goals to Bray and Walker had the Panthers out to a 26 point lead. Two goals to the opposition opened the game up, but Capuano kicked truly after drifting forward and marking. In the end the Panthers won by 15 points and secure their 2nd successive premiership.
Eltham were “generally acknowledged as having more individual ability than any other side in the last decade”. The Panthers showed that if any one forward was held another would bob up and score. Eight players kicked goals for Eltham with Bruce Wright collecting 4 of those.
Nasser Serritelli was judged best of ground and “broke the heart of Creek players further up the ground with his great play at centre half back”. Others to feature in the best players were Birthisel, Wright, W.Irvine, Walker and Stewart.
Team: 1. John Walker (Capt/Coach) 3. Greg Irvine 4. Michael Annett 7. Robert Scott 8. Robert Ziebell 10. Rodney Bray 11. William White 12. Barry Capuano (v.capt) 14. John Birthisel 15. Brian Pardon 17. Alan Anderson 18. William Irvine (v.capt) 19. Bruce Wright, 20. Ron Fitzpatrick 21. Noel Spoor 31. Robert Pettigrew 32. Nassa Serritelli 33. David Robinson 38. Stewart Rothwell 39. Cliff Stewart
The Eltham Shire Council hosted celebrations for players, officials and supporters on the Sunday in the Shire’s Reception rooms. It was attended by Shire President Geoff Dreverman and other councillors. Free beer and food ensured it was well attended.
As well as A,B & C Grade, Eltham fielded an Under 15’s (D grade) and Under 13’s (E Grade). Both sides were well supported by all at the club. Eltham’s Damien Cresp won DVFL D Grade Best & Fairest.
1970 was not over when the Club appointed Ray Slocum as coach for the 1971 season. John Walker had resigned due to business commitments.
Article contribution from Alan Sheehan