2000 (Part 1) CHELSEA DEFEAT SEAFORD FOR FLAG
Bowey’s Seagulls soar to flag heights.
CHELSEA held its nerve in a nail-biting finish to beat Seaford by 15 points and claim the 2000 MPNFL Peninsula Division premiership in a classic grand final at Doveton on Saturday.
It was the Seagulls’ first senior premiership since 1990 and triggered emotional scenes after the game.
Champagne and tears flowed as supporters and officials joined the players on the ground moments after the 14.14 - 98 to 12.11 - 83 win.
To cap a memorable day for Chelsea, the club’s reserves also won the flag - the first time the Seagulls have pulled off the double since 1966.
Seagulls’ Captain/Coach Brett Bowey was overwhelmed.
“It’s unbelievable, it might sink in by about Monday or Tuesday,” Bowey beamed. “The support we had was fantastic. It’s unexplainable really. Just how good it felt when the siren went.”
The premiership completes a fairytale story for Chelsea, which was relegated from Premier League last year
The finish to the grand final could hardly have been more exciting.
Seaford looked set for victory when it led by six points nearing time-on in the final quarter, but Chelsea refused to lie down and slammed through three late goals to grab victory.
Spectators were kept on the edge of their seats during a heart-stopping final few minutes in which the result was up in the air right up to the final siren.
Early in the final term, it appeared Seaford was going to hold on after Travis Armour kicked a goal to extend the Tigers’ lead to eight points.
Seaford spear-head Jason Marsh took several big marks and kicked a goal as the Tigers rallied under pressure.
But Chelsea lifted too. Serel Ogden put the Seagulls within a point before Seaford again went a goal up after teenager Chris Hay kicked his fifth.
With only a handful of minutes left on the clock, Chelsea needed some inspiration and Steve Connolly provided it , snapping a brilliant goal - the ball soaring high into the air - to put his team ahead for the first time since late in the third term.
Bowey described Connolly’s goal as a great relief, “It never looked like it. It was one of the worst kicks in Australia I reckon. It just floated through .....mate, I was very happy to see that one go through,” he said. Ironically, Connolly’s name didn’t appear in the goal kickers on the official results sheet.
Chelsea’s “sealer” came soon after when Jason Chapple cooly booted a goal from 40m out. He celebrated by charging full speed towards the Chelsea bench which was in raptures.
A minute later Brett Donnellan kicked the final goal of the match.
For many of the Chelsea players, including Bowey, it was their first premiership. The Seagulls had many stars on the day. Ogden was hard at the ball, Cummings gathered nearly 35 possessions, Bowey was always under the packs and defender Terry McKinley was reliable.
Forward, Peter Capsalis (four goals), sparked Chelsea in the third quarter when he booted three goals in five minutes against the wind to help the Seagulls stay in touch with Seaford.