It was an impressive year full of triumphs and victories for 2023 Lower South West Football League premiers Kojonup Cougars, which ended in the team raising the cup in a nail-biting finale. Manjimup-Bridgetown Times reporter Daniel Hocking looks back on the year that was for the Cougars and the key moments that led to their flag win. Round 1 On April 15, the Cougars lost to Deanmill in their first match at Deanmill Football Club, defeated by seven points in a close match which had Kojonup catching up by the end of the match, going home with a loss 4.10 (34) to Deanmill’s 6.5 (41). Round 3 Kojonup returned strong after a bye to defeat Imperials by a goal at their home ground Kojonup Sporting Complex. The Cougars came out swinging in the first quarter and Imperials’ efforts were not enough to stop them from winning 12.10 (82) to 11.10 (76). Round 5 After another bye, Kojonup defeated Southerners in an another close match at home, despite trailing in the first quarter. The Cougars were able to catch up in a nail-biting match to defeat Southerners 8.11 (59) to 6.14 (50). Round 6 The Cougars suffered a major loss against Boyup Brook, despite a strong second quarter, losing by a disappointing 64 points at Boyup Brook Oval. Despite their efforts, the Roos were too strong and took the win 18.10 (118) to 8.6 (54). Round 7 Kojonup faced the Tigers at Rea Park and won after dominating the entire match, with a final score of 18.10 (118) to Tigers 9.11 (65). Round 8 Kojonup went up against Bridgetown at the Kojonup Sporting Complex for their MND game, coming out on top despite a rocky start in the first quarter. Kojonup caught up to Bridgetown in the second quarter and kept going from there, winning with a final score of 13.12 (90) to Bridgetown’s 7.15 (57). Round 9 Kojonup’s winning streak continued when they travelled to play home team Deanmill for Think Mental Health Week on June 10, starting strong in the first quarter. Despite a stalemate in the second and third quarters, the Cougars were able to completely demolish Deanmill, not even giving them an opportunity to score a point, and finishing as the winners by 27 points with a final score of 11.10 (76) to Deanmill’s 5.9 (39). Round 10 Imperials broke Kojonup’s winning streak when they went head-to-head at Manjimup Recreation Ground, after Imperials ambushed Kojonup in the first quarter and stalled their scoring streak, with Kojonup losing 5.9 (39) to Imperials 9.4 (58). Round 12 After another bye, Kojonup got back to their winning streak by defeating Boyup Brook by 50 points at home. Round 13 Kojonup went to Pemberton to play the Southerners where Kojonup were able to dominate the game and win by nine goals with a final score of 20.6 (126) to Southerners’ score 11.6 (72). Round 14 Kojonup continued to dominate their games, winning by more than 100 points when they went head-to-head against the Tigers at home when they celebrated their 100th anniversary, winning 18.20 (128) to 4.2 (26). Round 15 Kojonup lost to Bridgetown by 55 points when they played at Bridgetown Sports Oval, losing 7.4 (46) to Bridgetown’s 15.11 (101). Rounds 16/17 Kojonup continued their winning streak into the next two rounds, defeating Deanmill by 49 points in round 16 and Imperials by 31 points in round 17. Qualifying final Finishing the season in second, Kojonup managed to secure themselves a qualifying final showdown against minor premiers Bridgetown. Finals round two was a highly anticipated match and did not disappoint. Despite their best efforts, including a strong fourth quarter, Kojonup were not able to defeat the minor premiers losing 11.8 (74) to Bridgetown’s 13.17 (95). However their finals dreams were not dashed yet as they still had a chance in the preliminary final. Preliminary final In a second chance, Kojonup faced Imperials at Deanmill, putting on a brave face and giving it their all for a spot in the grand final. Their aggression and determination paid off, as they were able to defeat Imperials by being the stronger team throughout the game, winning 11.13 (79) to 9.2 (56) to seal their spot in the grand final. Grand final And finally, on September 17, the Kojonup Cougars celebrated their 100th year as a club with a premiership victory in a nail-biting match against Bridgetown, having redeemed their loss in the qualifying final. When the final siren blared, Kojonup players, coaches, friends and fans stormed the field to commemorate the greatest premiership and season for the Cougars since 2014.