Gould (third from the right) sings the team song after winning the 2019 premiership.

Gould (third from the right) sings the team song after winning the 2019 premiership. (Image: Glenelg Football Club)

For many Glenelg supporters, when former player Will Gould says the day the Tigers won the 2019 premiership was “one of the best” in his lifetime, it would be a sentiment they agree with.

For many Glenelg supporters, when former player Will Gould says the day the Tigers won the 2019 premiership was “one of the best” in his lifetime, it would be a sentiment they agree with. 

The boys from the bay hadn’t won a league flag since 1986, when in front of 50,538 parochial fans, they beat North Adelaide by 48 points. 

But 2019 was special for its own reasons, both for the club and for Gould personally, who was embarking on his first year at senior level.

“I set out at the start of the year with my first goal being to play league footy, I proved myself through the pre-season and what-not and got given a role,” he told The Inner Sanctum

“We lost round one to Norwood, I still remember that. Dom Barry kicked the last goal to sink us but then we rolled through the year pretty strongly. 

“We didn’t lose too many games. 

“I think the year before – I wasn’t playing – but they won the last five games of the year and just missed finals, so there was a real belief amongst the group that we could do something special.”

Their opponent for the day was Port Adelaide, a side for which despite all their success over the years, hasn’t won a SANFL premiership since 1999. 

The two teams had met three times throughout the year, Glenelg taking the chocolates in both minor round contests before Port Adelaide turned the tables in the second-semi final to win by four points. 

“Port beating us two weeks earlier probably wasn’t ideal,” Gould said. 

“But coming up to the preliminary final against Adelaide a week later, having lost to the Magpies by just four points I think everyone was quietly confident.

“As long as we got through the preliminary final against the Crows, we were going to be absolutely fine on grand final day.” 

Gould playing for Glenelg on SANFL Grand Final day in 2019. (Image: Glenelg Football Club)

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Just 18-years-old at the time, Gould reflects on the build up as “super exciting”, as the Tigers worked towards grand final day. 

“Training on the Thursday night before the game, it was an open training so a few of the Glenelg supporters rolled in and cheered us on,” he said.

“I think it was a wet night so they were all tucked up in the stand, but it was an exciting build up and exciting week. 

“It was awesome to be a part of as a brand new experience.” 

The Bays had the perfect start, kicking 4.1 to 0.3 in the first quarter, headlined by Luke Reynolds breaking the ice just three minutes in. 

“We got off to a flyer and that probably set us up for the whole game, the margin didn’t change much from after quarter time,” Gould said. 

“We knew if we got off to a good start around the ball, then we’d be absolutely fine after that so the start was crucial for us and that’s what happened.” 

It took the Magpies until the 13th minute of the second quarter before they were on the board, as Tobin Cox kicked truly. 

By that stage however, a 28-point buffer between the two sides had been opened. With the sniff of premiership in front of these ruthless Tigers, there was no coming back from that for Port Adelaide. 

Marlon Motlop kicked his third goal late in the last quarter, putting the icing on a very nice cake and sending Tigers fans into delirium. 

“Marlon started us off well, kicked an awesome one from the boundary and then kicked what was probably the sealer in the last quarter,” Gould said.

“I think after he kicks that everyone knew we had won it so he was awesome on the day.”

Matthew Snook finished the day with 28 possessions and took home the Jack Oatey Medal. 

He was ably assisted by teammates Josh Scott and Motlop, who both kicked three goals for the day, while 2019 Magarey Medallist Luke Partington picked up 23 possessions. 

The outpouring of joy at the Bay went long into the evening, as revellers celebrated the victory that was. (Image: Glenelg Football Club)

Gould brushed off his work for the day as “nothing flashy”, but recalls the days celebrating after the final siren as if they were yesterday. 

“That would be up there as one of the best days of my life,” he said. 

“I was lucky, I’d obviously played all my juniors at Glenelg, but I came in for one year and won a flag. 

“So it was probably after, when it kicked in when we went back to the club after and we could see what it meant to all the supporters who had stuck fat through the hard times. 

“Likewise for all the boys who had been at the club for a long time, and never saw success, you could see what it meant to them; it was pretty special.” 

Gould says the success seen that year was due to a culmination of many factors, least of all being the work put in by coach Mark Stone. 

“Stoney got there the year before I did, and from all reports, changed things pretty dramatically from where they were 5-10 years beforehand; there wasn’t too much success, club financially was facing hardship.

“But also, we had a strong mature group, everyone was in the right age bracket, we had the right mix of older guys with AFL experience, guys who had been at the club a long time, and then obviously a couple of young blokes as well which was nice. 

“So we had a good mix, our leaders Max Proud and Chris Curran were awesome all year.” 

Gould was drafted to the Sydney Swans with pick number 26 just six days later, while Glenelg made last year’s first semi final and will contest the 2021 grand final on Sunday. 

Keep up to date with the 2021 SANFL grand final week right here, as The Inner Sanctum has every angle covered. Tomorrow: Eagles’ captain Luke Thompson on grand final number five and Glenelg coach Brett Hand tells of leading the pack in 2021. 

The Tigers celebrate together post match. (Image: Glenelg Football Club)

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