With two minutes to go in Sunday’s Preliminary Final, a man who gave himself all 6 available player votes during a game in the season justified his bluster, and in turn gave the Reserves a shot at the ultimate glory, a Reserve Grade Flag.
Zac Kearns was on hand to shark the ball and roll it from 20m out in the driving rain to snag the winning goal after the Animals had conceded a 22 point half time lead, putting an exclamation point on a breakout year for the dynamic small forward.
It was Kearns’ third of the afternoon, and it sunk Richmond hearts faster than the weather turned foul in Donvale.
It was the change in weather at half time which proved to be the turning point in the match, with the Snakes more at home in the dour conditions. Their bigger bodies of Central tossing their weight about and creating chances as they snuck their way back in to the match.
A four goal to one quarter erased all the hard work the Animals had done in the dry in the first half. Tom Birkett was back up to his usual shenanigans, as he kicked four goals in the first half to stamp his authority and leave no doubt who the premier forward of the section is.
Kearns chimed in with Emerson Lemkau as well, as the Animals lead 52-30 at half time, and left the field confident of a next week.
But then the rains came.
Birkett would snag his fifth of the contest after a superb one handed grab in the goalsquare to stem the flow for a moment, but Richmond Central pushed back hard.
Tom Shannon in the fourth term gave the Animals the lead back with half a quarter to go with a crucial set shot, but the Animals were unable to hold on and with 5 minutes left the Snakes hit the front.
But Zac Kearns had other ideas, and wasn’t ready to bow out of 2019.
He bobbed up and broke Yellow and Black hearts as the rain settled in, and so did the realisation it was the day of the Blue and the Blue.