The Parkes Panthers have held off a fast finishing Cowra Blues to clinch the AFL Central West Tier 2 grand final in Bathurst on Saturday morning.
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Despite going into the match as underdogs against the regular season ladder leaders, Parkes got off to flyer - and in the end, it was their fast start that secured victory.
The Panthers booted the first four goals of the match, and it wasn't until the dying moments of the second quarter that Cowra would get on the board for their first goal through James McCormack.
Strong winds had an impact on the contest, turning the game into an absorbing arm wrestle as each side looked to assert their dominance on the contest.
Going into the final term the Panthers had one hand on the cup and were sitting pretty with a 35-13 lead.
It was then, with the wind at their backs that Cowra lifted, booting home three unanswered goals to begin the quarter and sending a shiver through the spines of the Parkes supporters.
Parkes coach Mitch Stubberfield ensured his side would clasp their other hand around the trophy when kicked the sealer with just four minutes to go, giving Parkes a 42-35 victory.
Cowra coach Chris Day was full of praise for his opponents, and rued his side's slow start.
"We ran into a pretty hot side on Saturday, all the credit to them they come out of the blocks hot and we couldn't quite get them."
Cowra had been the most consistent side in the COVID-19 affected season, though Parkes had managed to defeat them in wet weather earlier in the year.
A number of new players joined the Panthers this season, and the club is well poised to continue their development next year.
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