Blue days long gone for Tonny

By Andrew Johnston

DARREN Maloney knows how special his club is to its town.

In four years at the helm as president of Tongala, he has seen just how ingrained in the spirit of the town the Blues are.

And it was never more noticeable than on Sunday afternoon.

"People have been waiting for 28 years to see the senior team in a grand final again," he said.

"You have people from the bowling club with tears in their eyes just finding out that we had made it back. They've waited so long for this.

"Everyone was interested, following along with how we were going. They have been all year with every grade of football and netball, this town wants to see our club succeed.

"We have a surrounding community as well, we have a special relationship with a lot of the clubs around the area, it's fantastic.

"You just have to drive down the street and you see banners and signs, all in blue. Streamers are hanging everywhere, there are signs in shop windows, it's just incredible to see it."

In his four years as president, Maloney has seen continued success on the courts, but has looked over a near complete rebuild of the football club.

"In my time we have always had success on the netball courts. Our seniors and juniors have both been regularly been contenders in that time, and we are very proud of what they have done for us.

"And they continue to do so, we have two sides of our netballers in action on Saturday, they've had fantastic seasons and we are looking forward to what they produce on grand final day, hopefully they receive the reward for their effort.

'The biggest change I have seen has been in our football club. We had a group of really young kids coming through who that we hoped would go on to be huge success for the club.

"We had a coaching change when Jordan took over, he's been able to mold this group into something really special, and its seen us enter our first grand final in nearly 30 years.

"we are in a position where we are seeing a bit of success in both sports, we have even more grades getting closer. It's one of the best times for the club I have seen."