By Andrew Wiles
The McDonald’s AFL 9s Byron Bay invitational has been run and won, and the victors have walked away with an oversized cheque for their troubles.
The Men’s, Women’s, Masters, Mixed, and Youth divisions all took to the field today, and there was even a celebrity game in the afternoon, captained by the Brisbane Lions’ Daniel Merret, and St Kilda legend Spida Everitt.
The mixed division was the first to play their grand final, with a few people very familiar to the AFL system getting the win.
The Gold Coast GUNS, employees of the Gold Coast SUNS, of course kitted out in the red and yellow went through undefeated to pick up their $4000 prize, too strong for the Spider Pigs.
They might be young, but the Lismore Swans showed their prowess by foot, taking out the Youth Division.
The Ashy All Stars plane ride back to Victoria will be a lot easier when they head home. They took on the Brisbane based Super Kings in the Masters final, proving too classy through the middle.
There was a bit of local flavour to the women’s division champions this year, as Coolangatta went one better than their QWAFL final loss a few weeks ago, beating the Macquarie University Warriors
The last game of the day promised to be the best. It was the Magpies, up from Tasmania, against the Eshay Clan, made up of a few members from Aspley’s 2014 NEAFL premiership side.
The Magpies’ run was the difference in the end. They were able to rebound the better from the back half, running home comfortable and deserving winners.
They head back to Tassie with an unblemished record, and a cool $8000 to be split up between them. Not bad for a couple of days work.
One of the many famous faces around the traps this weekend, ex-Essendon player Mark McVeigh, might not have walked away with the cash, but loved every minute the tournament.
“I have been really pleasantly surprised from the moment I’ve got here. It’s a great setup, the place looks great, and everyone is having fun,” he said.
“A couple of guys I’ve known really well through the AFL industry over a number of years invited me up with the family. It’s a great thing to do, have a bit of fun with the boys. I’ve never played AFL 9’s before, and what a great spot to do it.”
2015 might have just wrapped up, but the wheels are already in motion to get a few other famous faces up for 2016.
“To be honest, I’m thinking about getting a few of the Essendon boys out here doing this next year. I’ve already sent the text out and a couple have already said yep, lets get involved,” he said.
A special shout out must go to the people who make it all work, the umpires, who did an outstanding job across the two days.
Two days full of footy, friends, laughs, smile, and beaming sunshine. It doesn’t get much better.
Over and out from Byron 2015.