Young gun fulfills ultimate dream debut with state premiership win

The stars aligned perfectly for young Mount Gambier superstar Brooke Tonon, who played an integral part in Glenelg’s SANFLW premiership on Saturday.

In her first full season at the level, Tonon went from a fresh-faced junior to ball magnet and collected 14 disposals during the grand final against West Adelaide.

Armed with two Mount Gambier stars in Tonon and Madisyn Freeman, the Tigers sent a statement from the opening bounce kicking the first goal just 15 seconds in to establish a lead they would never let go.

Tonon’s defence restricted the Bloods to a single point in the first term as Glenelg dominated almost every area of the stat sheet.

 North managed to fightback briefly in the second quarter, clawing to within a kick as they fought hard inside the  contest.

However, the Tigers regained control after half time to seal an imposing 40-17 win.

A maiden SANFLW premiership was the perfect way for Glenelg to celebrate its Centenary Year and Tonon said the victory has not sunk in yet.

“It was definitely the best day of my life and I keep living it over and over,” she said.

“It was one of the most exciting games of my career as of yet with the reward at the end being a flag at SANFLW level.” Tonon started at half-back flank, but managed to push up the ground and provide plenty of speed to setup some plays.

She rebounded from defensive 50 well and even won a few clearances, while Freeman moved the ball by hand swiftly.

Tonon admitted she felt the magnitude of the occasion, but the Tigers’ early goal settled her nerves and got her in the game.

“The nerves were fine until about five minutes before we went onto the ground for the last time, where I sat on a box and just let everything sink in,” she said.

“But running onto the oval I felt super excited and before I knew it the siren sounded.

“I think what got my belief up was when we kicked the first goal of the game about 15 seconds in and the whole team was up and about.” Tonon said the club’s team-first environment was a key factor behind the win.

“The chemistry really shows on the field especially with our connection between each line,” she said.

“Everyone has a role to play, no one has to do anything special, just have to do their bit which everyone did well on the day.” Tonon received a significant boost in the buildup to the decider when she was named in the 2021 SANFLW Team of the Year.

Standing alongside some of the biggest names in women’s football, the Mount Gambier youngster was selected as the team’s half-back flank.

Impressively, Tonon had limited backline experience until she was thrown in for the Tigers’ opening game.

But she said it did not take long to adjust to the position, which she now thoroughly enjoys.

“I got chucked into a new position at half-back flank right before the season started which was all very new, but I learnt very quickly and my ability to read the ball was really handy,” Tonon said.

Despite the SANFLW season wrapping up, the action does not stop for Tonon, who will now dedicate her time to school football, training for the SANFLW All-Stars game and preparing for the NAB AFLW National Academy

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