Jack Toner makes his mark

Jack Toner (left) lived out every kid's fairytale in the VFL last week. 197751 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Narre Warren footballer Jack Toner lived out the footy fairytale of winning his team the game with a kick after the siren on Friday for Williamstown in the VFL.

Toner, who has established himself as a key part of the Seagulls’ line-up in recent years, needed only a behind to seal the result against Coburg, but kicked truly from 20 metres out on a slight angle.

Coburg had kicked three consecutive goals in stoppage time to level the scores at the 31-minute mark, before Williamstown won the final centre clearance.

That gave them repeat stoppages inside 50, with Noah Gadbsy gathering the ball in congestion and throwing a short kick on the boot, which hit Toner on the chest at the top of the goal square.

“I knew when I took the mark it would be pretty close (to the siren),” Toner said.

“I was pretty nervous, I’m glad I was able to take the grab.

“(Coach Justin Plapp) sent me to the line.

“I was loitering around the contest and he said they had a spare on the goal line and they needed me to even it up so I went and did that and thankfully came off – ‘Plappy’ won the game not me!”

It’s the first time Toner, who has experience playing for Narre as well as his 38 games for Willy, has had a kick to win the game for his team.

“I heard the siren and my hands were pretty wobbly so I was just hoping I didn’t kick it into the man on the mark or out on the full, but I got it home for us,” Toner said.

“It was a bit of relief, we were keen to get it done and were lucky to get out of there winners.”

It’s Toner’s fourth year at the club, and first playing a half-forward role after starting as a defender and spending time on the wing in 2023.

“I just want to become accustomed to that and help the team as best I can playing a half-forward/midfield role, trying to emulate a bit of what (now Geelong-listed) Shaun Mannagh did last year (for Werribee),” he said.

The Toner name is synonymous with Narre Warren, with Jack’s Dad, Chris, a club legend and premiership coach, and brothers Tom and Sam, and younger cousin Daniel all current players.

Also in that game, Springvale Districts’ Riley Collier-Dawkins continued his strong start to the season for Williamstown with 26 disposals and six tackles, while Cranbourne key forward Corey Ellison kicked a goal and took five marks for the Seagulls.