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Photo:  South Hobart's Chris Hunt eludes Kingborough's Jun Choon and Marcello Marchioli [PlessPix]

(Victory League, South Hobart Oval, Sunday, 4 August 2013)

South Hobart 7 (B Hamlett 15, C Hunt 29, 64, 85, N Morton 40, 44, S Hickey 68)

Kingborough Lions United 0

HT:  4-0   Att:  280   Ref:  J Hortle

South Hobart:  Ferguson  -  Scott, Hill, Fielding (Lewis 65), Williams  -  Ludlow, Hickey, Morton  -  Templin, Hamlett (Mizael 46), Hunt  (Subs not used:  Pierce, Rogers)

Kingborough Lions United:  Leamey  -  J Davis, Cooper, Hawkins, Jun Choon (W Davis 73)  -  Cowen (Bilson 81), Marchioli, Palmer, Hinkley (T Pearce 65)  -  McDonald, Verdouw  (Sub not used:  Duncan)

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Photo:  South Hobart are cheered off the pitch by their supporters [PlessPix]

South Hobart won the inaugural Victory League title on Sunday with three games to spare after demolishing sixth-placed Kingborough Lions United 7-0 at South Hobart Oval.

Kingborough failed to show up and South Hobart did not get out of second gear so it was all a bit of an anticlimax.

South Hobart’s sixth league title in a row was a new Tasmanian record.

Their first title win in this current run came in 2008 and only two of that team played on Sunday  -  Shae Hickey, who has been a member of all six title successes, and Liam Scott.  Hugh Ludford was also a member of that 2008 title-winning side, butinjury prevented his appearance on Sunday.

Interestingly enough, South Hobart’s title win in 2008 was accomplished on the final day with a 7-0 triumph over Metro.

Only five players were on view on Sunday who had been in the side last season on the final day when the title was clinched.  They were Ferguson, Hickey, Cameron Williams, Morton and Mizael.  Again, Ludford could be included, even though he didn’t play on Sunday, making it only six players from last season that achieved success this year.  The newcomers that featured in South’s squad on Sunday are Josh Fielding, Ben Hamlett, Lucas Hill, Chris Hunt, Caleb Ludlow, Liam Scott, Jordan Templin, Matt Lewis, Cameron Rogers and Kane Pierce.

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Photo:  Nick Morton (on ground on left) scores his second goal and South Hobart's fourth [PlessPix]

Kingborough Lions United produced one of the most disappointing performances of the season.  One could argue that they lay down.  Their defending was atrocious and goalkeeper David Leamey could not have been satisfied with his own performance, conceding several times at the near post  -  there is a saying in coaching that when a keeper is beaten at the far post it was a great shot, while if he is beaten at his near post it is poor goalkeeping.  He was not helped by his defenders, who marked poorly and allowed themselves to be outplayed.

South Hobart goalkeeper Matthew Ferguson was never troubled.  Marcello Marchioli did fire a stinging shot at him in the 53rd minute, but he held that with ease.

The champions elect toyed with their opponents and often strung a dozen or more passes together without breaking stride.  Kingborough played into their hands with basic errors and it really was a stroll in the park for the home side.

Hamlett chipped Leamey in the 15th minute to give South Hobart the lead, while Hunt smashed home the second after a good build-up in the 29th minute.

Morton, who had started the game somewhat shakily, side-footed the third in the 40th minute from Hamlett’s square pass and then signalled his restored confidence by making it 4-0 a minute before the break, outwitting Marchioli on the left and beating Leamey at his near post.

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Photo:  Kingborough skipper Marcello Marchioli pursued by South Hobart's Ben Hamlett [PlessPix]

Seconds before the interval, Hunt was unlucky not to score, his shot hitting the base of the far right-hand post and the ball rolling across the goalmouth beyond the opposite post before being cleared as Leamey was reduced to the role of a spectator.

Hunt added the fifth and his second of the game in the 64th minute with a casual long-range effort that sailed into the far top left-hand corner of the net.

Hickey added insult to injury when he calmly chipped Leamey from 25 metres in the 68th minute to make it 6-0.  Things were definitely embarrassing for the visitors by this stage.

With five minutes remaining, Hunt completed his hat-trick and the scoring, flicking home Templin’s cross from deep on the left after a corner.

The champagne came out after the final whistle as South Hobart celebrated.  The Lions went home without a whimper, let alone a roar, and with their tails firmly between their legs.

I’m sure South Hobart would have relished winning the title against a team that provided a little more opposition.  It’s not a case of whether South played well or badly, but it simply wasn’t a contest and left the neutral spectator disappointed at the spectacle.

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Photo:  South Hobart's Chris Hunt (right) shoots before Kingborough's Jun Choon can block [PlessPix]

South Hobart coach Ken Morton said:

“I think it’s extra special this year because it’s back to the State League format and the Victory League and it’s been a big year for us, a big season, and it’s just a fantastic feeling.

“I don’t think there’s been one [defining moment].  What has been good for us this year has been that ability away from home to scrap games out as well as playing quality football and get those late goals.

“We never give in, we kept fighting to the end and, I suppose, those have been turning points in the season for us.  There have been a few occasions where we’ve rallied late and got up with winners and that’s been important.”

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Photo:  South Hobart's Ben Hamlett gets away from Kingborough's Wade Hawkins [PlessPix]

South Hobart’s Nick Morton said:

“Absolutely incredible.  It couldn’t be a better season for the lads.  We’ve put in and it’s all come together at the end of the season and we’ve done really well.

“We just worked for each other and it was a good team performance.

“I hope we can do it each year now and keep getting better and better.”

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Photo:  South Hobart's Chris Hunt gets past Kingborough's Joe Davis [PlessPix]

Kingborough Lions United coach Steve Adkins said:

“Not a good effort by us today.  You hope to come here and make a fight of it and make them earn the title, but we certainly didn’t do well enough to even be in the game.

“We gave away a couple of early goals when we had possession.

“They certainly played very well and their running off the ball killed us.”

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Photo:  South Hobart goalkeeper Matthew Ferguson shows how to deal with a cross [PlessPix]

Kingborough Lions United captain Marcello Marchioli said:

“It was very tough.

“South are usually pretty hard to beat on an ordinary day, but their motivation to seal the league title today was a motivator.

“And, people were playing for State team spots as well and they showed this and outplayed us and made things very difficult.”

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Photo:  Kingborough's Tom McDonald and South Hobart's Shae Hickey in a tangle [PlessPix]