The VAFA were unable to curb a second-term blitz by the SAAFL and went down to their South Australian counterparts by 17 points at Trevor Barker Oval.
The Big V arguably drew level in the first quarter as they trailed by 19 points after facing the wrong end of a four-goal breeze. However, a five-goal to two second term put the SAAFL on the front foot, with Harder taking the game by the scruff and dominating up forward on his way to four goals.
Trailing by 36 points with one quarter to play, the Big V came out firing in the last and piled on five goals to one as Tom Paule, Sam Cust and Matt Handley proved dangerous up forward.
Beaumaris midfielder, Tom Dean, received the Spirit of the Big V Award for his standout performance in the midfield, using his hardened body at the coalface to compete for four quarters and give constant delivery to his outside runners.
Jaryd Robertson plucked everything that came his way across half back, while both Jake and Sam Williams continued the scintillating form which has helped De La Salle to top spot on the William Buck Premier ladder as they accumulated possessions at will.
Despite the loss, the VAFA blooded 13 uncapped senior representative players and put the Big V in a positive position moving forward. First-time senior coach, Stu Powell, excelled as the leader of the young group, while assistants Andrew Leoncelli, Dave Murray and Stephen Powell and team manager, Mick Overman provided outstanding support.
The win is the SAAFL’s first over their Victorian rivals since 1995 and puts an end to a seven-game Big V winning streak.
VAFA 8.8.56 vs SAAFL 10.13.73
GOALS VAFA – Handley 2, Paule 2, Burbury, Cust, Hurley-Wellington, Penberthy SAAFL – Harder 4, Button 2, Shulz, Weistra, McKay, Scara
BEST VAFA – Robertson, Dean, Johnson, S Williams, Paule, Sullivan SAAFL – Shulz, Whitelock, McKay, Castree, De Prinse, Harder
Spirit of the Big V: Tom Dean (Beaumaris)
SAAFL Best VAFA Player: Jake Williams (De La Salle)