The first of more than 100 clubs throughout Victoria, Australia, entered the most illustrious football championship.
The competition, which is 113 years old, is named after Harry Dockerty, a Football Victoria Hall of Fame member who gave the trophy. Carlton United won the competition’s first edition in 1909, and despite a few breaks over the years, the 97th edition will take place in 2022.
For the third time in a row, Bentleigh Greens won the Dockerty Cup over the Oakleigh Cannons.
The Greens left it late, but it was excellent because Bentleigh won the trophy thanks to goals from Tom Strickland and superb Yagoub Mustafa, who had come on late after Bentleigh had trailed by a Joe Guest goal early in the second half.
In addition to their goal scorers, the Green may praise Pierce Clark for an outstanding first half in which he dodged numerous shots from the Cannons.
This was Senior Coach Nick Tolios' first opportunity to take home a major trophy with a team he had moulded in his image, and he was ultimately rewarded for the depth of the team he had assisted in the building at the club, as the 'next man up philosophy shone through.
The return of Mustafa to the bench provided little relief for Tolios due to the team's busy schedule and injuries to Pierce Waring, Lucas Derrick, and Ben Carrigan before the game.
Tolios, who is never one to complain, was confident in the strength of his team before the game, and his faith was ultimately rewarded.
The Cannons won the first half and also had the most significant opportunities.
The three stops by Clark that stood out in a half where the Cannons barraged the Greens' goal were those made in minutes 15, 38, and 39.
On the other hand, the Greens struggled at times to play through the Cannon press and saw their best chances come from set pieces.
Jack Painter-Andrews suffered an unlucky injury in the first half and was forced to leave the game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
The second half got off to a similar start, with the Cannons taking the lead immediately.
Effortful play on the right wing resulted in a blazing cross slammed into the box. The ball dropped to Guest at the back post, and he made no errors after Jack Webster failed to make his clearance stick.
As the game approached the hour mark, the Greens gradually began to take control of the situation while Oakleigh attempted to maintain its lead.
Tolios started to search his bench for the other qualities he needed. At halftime, Mitch Hore took Painter-Andrews' position; however, his subsequent substitution of Mustafa for Chris Droutsas in the 75th minute effectively ended the match.
When an opportunity presented itself, the returning Western Australian ran at Oakleigh defenders, quickly putting his speed and deft feet to work.
In the 78th minute, he teamed up with Hore down the left side to bring the offensive midfielder in behind along the left wing. This allowed him to put a beautiful cross to the back post, where Strickland was ready to thump the ball home and square the scores.
The Greens dominated the final minutes as they gained new energy, and Mustafa scored the well-deserved winner in the 82nd minute to secure the victory.
Wild celebrations ensued as the Greens made three Dockerty Cup victories in as many final appearances.
The players lavishly celebrated their achievement, but they also kept an eye on Wednesday's key Australia Cup match against Sydney FC, followed by a league match against Port Melbourne of equal importance.
Photos copyright: Kostas Deves