With less than three minutes on the clock in the Central West AFL grand final, the Orange Tigers were two points down after mounting a four-goal comeback in the last quarter.
The side had been pushing, with first a Michael Rothnie goal, then Chris Pethybridge converted a set shot from 30 metres out, but the Bushrangers had held them goalless for five minutes.
With each minute feeling like an hour in a mammoth last quarter, the Tigers felt like they had been waiting an age for the goal to put them in front.
Step up Andrew Henry.
The ball was bombed long to spearhead Tim Barry and surrounded by teal and white jumpers, Henry grabbed the ball and snapped home from 50.
Despite a swirling breeze, pressure from all sides and Bushrangers breathing down his neck, ice-cold Henry’s shot sailed home to put the Tigers four points up – the first time they’d held the lead since midway through the first quarter.
“The ball went long, Baz just spilled it and I just kicked it from 50,” Henry said five minutes later, having secured the Tigers’ thrilling three-point win.
The goal also caused a stop in play, with Bushrangers defender Paul Long needing the stretcher called after running back with the flight, straight into the path of a charging Tim Barry and being cleaned up.
He eventually walked off, but the 60-second delay made the Tigers’ two-minute wait for the siren stretch even longer.
The Tigers went into the final term 24 points down, and Henry said his plan was a simple one – just get it to Tim Barry.
Henry’s been kicking clutch goals all season, with several snaps from 50 and a scintillating banana from 40 metres out in the preliminary final win against Bathurst Giants, but this is his sweetest goal yet.
“The whole year’s irrelevant when this happens,” Henry said, gesturing to teammates celebrating.
”I’m just relieved. There was a bit of confusion when the stretcher came out and it was a long few minutes but we got there in the end,” he said.
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