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Stingrays snatch first-ever TAC Cup premiership

The Stingrays celebrate their debut TAC Cup flag - AFL,Under-18s
The Stingrays celebrate their debut TAC Cup flag

DRAFT bolter Sam Sturt has helped steer the Dandenong Stingrays to their first ever TAC Cup premiership as they held off a fast-finishing Oakleigh Chargers.

In the Grand Final at IKON Park on Saturday, Sturt was exciting in attack with his sharp disposal, gathering 15 possessions and booting two goals as the Stingrays claimed the six-point win.

After controlling the contest and leading by 23 points at the final change, the Stingrays nearly stumbled, conceding five goals to the Chargers in the last quarter.

It was a tense final few minutes with Oakleigh trailing by only a goal, and had they levelled scores it would have sent the contest into extra time, where the 'golden point' rule would have decided the winner.

However, the Stingrays were able to hold on to the 12.8 (80) to 11.8 (74) win and Sturt's performance could have him nudging the top-20 on draft night after a string of impressive showings late in the home and away season.

Bottom-ager Matt Rowell was named the best player after dominating the midfield for Oakleigh, gathering 32 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s and four rebound.

It was an outstanding effort from one of next year's best prospects, highlighting his doggedness around the ball, intensity at the contest and tenacious attitude.

Others to impress for the Stingrays were midfielders Sam Fletcher (27 disposals, four clearances) and Campbell Hustwaite (19 disposals, 10 tackles), while Will Hamill also showed good dash.

For the Chargers, another bottom-ager Dylan Williams was electric up forward, kicking four goals to finish with 14 for the finals series.

Captain Noah Answerth ended his strong season with 27 disposals and six rebound-50s, while Will Golds also capped a solid year at TAC Cup level with 26 touches.

Riley Collier-Dawkins' hard work at the stoppages was crucial and he finished with 19 touches and a goal, and key back and Collingwood father-son prospect Will Kelly was also good with 19 touches.

Dandenong Stingrays      2.1      6.2     10.7    12.8 (80)
Oakleigh Chargers           3.2      3.6      6.8     11.8 (74) 

Dandenong: Sturt 2, Foot 2, McDonnell 2, Williams 2, Cahill, Bowman, Bayne, Bedford
Oakleigh: Williams 4, Anderson 2, Bosenavualgi, Collier-Dawkins, Ross, Robertson, Gasper 

Dandenong: Fletcher, Sturt, Stenning, Hustwaite, Hamill
Oakleigh: Rowell, Williams, Answerth, Golds, Kelly, Collier-Dawkins