THEY were the benchmark all season, and Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong now have the silverware to prove it after they sealed their maiden AFL Southern NSW Women's flag with an 8.6 (54) to 2.5 (17) win over North Wagga in Friday night's grand final.
The Saints were made to pay dearly for ill discipline, with a number of Lions goals coming from free kicks during the 37-point victory.
In front of a big crowd of around 1000 at Apex Park, the unbeaten Lions set the tone from the outset. Their efforts to be first to the ball were rewarded with goals from free kicks to Prue Walsh and Meg Jolley in the first quarter to give them a 14-point lead at the first break.
Player of the match Brooke Walsh, dominant at the stoppages and in the midfield all night, showed her class in the second quarter with two goals to blow the game open.
The first came from a kick off the ground 30-metres out, before she nailed a set shot 35 metres out after being rewarded for a tackle.
GGGM took a three-goal lead into the half-time break, and put the game to bed in the third term after Prue Walsh's second goal of the game was followed by majors to Ruben Bennett and Courtney Menzies.
For North Wagga ruck Jordan Barrett and midfielder Kelsey Lever were influential and their defence willing, but the Lions' sheer number of inside 50s ultimately told.
For Lions skipper Alice Kenny it was the ideal start to a big weekend, with her wedding set to be held on Saturday.
"We knew North Wagga would be tough in the clearances and we wanted to equalise that area and give us enough chances going forward. We did that well enough," Lions coach Luke Walsh said.
"It was good to get the buffer in the first half, and allow the girls to settle down a bit.
"The weight of numbers (inside 50) eventually broke them down because it was very congested. They (North Wagga) did a super job of making life hard for our forwards, and you have to give them credit for that.
"We're lucky we've got the crafty forwards who can make the most of those opportunities."
Saints coach Brayden Skeers, who will also marry Saints skipper Kelsey Leaver on Saturday, was happy with how his side refused to quit.
"We spent the game clawing our way back which I think we did well in the second half. But once you're chasing your tail it's difficult to get back on terms," Skeers said.
"They were the better team, but I'm so happy the girls were able to react and put in a solid end to the game."
Brooke Walsh praised her team's mental strength in ensuring their season ended with lifting the trophy.
"It's definitely a team effort tonight, everyone played their role in all aspects of their game and it's great to cap a good season," she said.
Lions player Anderson was named the Pool A player of the year, while Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlake's Rachel Mullane claimed the Pool B gong.
GGGM 2.3 4.3 7.5 8.6 (54) def NORTH WAGGA 0.1 1.3 1.3 2.5 (17) at Apex Park on Friday night.
Goals: GGGM - Prue Walsh 2, Brooke Walsh 2, Meg Jolley, Ruben Bennett, Courtney Menzies, Lucy Anderson; North Wagga - Darcie Manning, Emily Pollard.
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