By Ben Pollard
Grand final glory is at stake for the Under 14-17s on Sunday, with preliminary final weekend sorting out who meets who in the big dance!
Under 14 Division 1
Prelim final: (1) Murrumbeena Gold 4.7 (31) def by (4) St Peters 9.12 (66)
GRAND FINAL: (2) EAST BRIGHTON VAMPIRES vs (4) ST PETERS
St Peters continued a brilliant run through the finals from fourth position with a shock 35-point victory over Murrumbeena Gold. What happened to ‘Beena in the finals?! Just one loss through the regular season has been followed by two straight defeats. Once again, the St Peters trio of Will Taylor, Cameron Polson and Ben Dance starred in the victory – can they now keep this purple patch going against East Brighton Vampires in the granny? After two defeats to the Vampires earlier in the season, St Peters knocked them off by nine points in the last home-and-away round, with Taylor superb again. The fairytale run could continue…
Under 14 Division 2
Prelim final: (2) Ormond Blue 6.1 (37) def by (3) Hampton 10.5 (65)
GRAND FINAL: (1) SOUTH MELBOURNE DISTRICT vs (3) HAMPTON
Hampton’s strong preliminary final win over Ormond Blue means it booked a daunting date with South Melbourne District in the grand final. On paper, this looks to be a monumental mismatch, with the Districts dispatching Hampton twice during the season by big margins. However, Hampton might just be peaking at the right time, and they did manage to knock off a team with a much better record than it last week… Finals pressure can do silly things to teams!
Under 14 Division 3
Prelim final: (2) St Kilda City 8.9 (57) def (3) St Peters Red 5.5 (35)
GRAND FINAL: (1) PRAHRAN vs (2) ST KILDA CITY
St Kilda City definitely earned its spot in the grand final, putting away a gallant St Peters outfit after three quarters of strong resistance. Just three points separated the teams at three-quarter time, but the Saints finished stronger. They’ll need to take every bit of that momentum into their grand final clash with old foe Prahran. St Kilda were caned by them twice during the season, but looked to have secured a qualifying final win over Prahran at three-quarter time two weeks ago. 21 points up at the last break, the shattered Saints got rolled by four. Now redemption is on the cards… This should be a belter!
Under 14 Division 4
Prelim final: (1) East Malvern Blue 4.11 (35) def by (3) Highett 5.17 (47)
GRAND FINAL: (2) EAST SANDRINGHAM vs (3) HIGHETT
East Malvern Blue will be shattered after bowing out of the finals in straight sets in an inaccurate affair with Highett. At the final change, Highett had 3.13 on the scoreboard; East Malvern had 4.9. Any team could’ve potentially shot the match to bits by then, but Highett was the one who went on with it in the last term. Blake Cochrane was their best with two snags. Highett now meets East Sandringham, a team that looked very sharp in their qualifying final win over East Malvern. However, Highett defeated them in a tight contest last time they met in Round 12, so expect another close one here!
Under 15 Division 1
Prelim final: (2) Caulfield 6.2 (38) def by (3) East Sandringham 13.9 (87)
GRAND FINAL: (1) CHELTENHAM vs (3) EAST SANDRINGHAM
Complete and utter domination is how you’d describe East Sandringham’s preliminary final performance. Thomas Wilson, Nicholas Fox and Jordan Matera ran all over Caulfield, while Nick Pirrie slotted five goals. They’ve earned a tilt at undefeated Cheltenham in the big one now. Chelt took the chocolates in previous meetings by 20 points in Round 4, 69 points in Round 5 and 68 points in Round 14, so the job is well and truly ahead of East Sandy… But, will the quest for an elusive perfect season weigh on the Panthers’ minds?
Under 15 Division 2
Prelim final: (2) Mt Waverley 11.6 (72) def (4) Waverley Park 7.6 (48)
GRAND FINAL: (1) ST BEDES/MENTONE TIGERS vs (2) MT WAVERLEY
After comfortably winning the Battle of Waverley, Mt Waverley has set up a rematch with their qualifying final conquerors, St Bedes/Mentone Tigers. The Tigers finished well ahead of their opponents on the ladder – four and a half games, to be exact – but Mt Waverley pushed them all the way two weeks ago. St Bedes will be looking for another big game from Oscar Adorno, Sam Lundy and Sam Barca, as well as a bag from the division’s leading goalkicker Dane Heverin. On form, the Tigers should take home the cup…
Under 15 Division 3
Prelim final: (2) Dingley 3.5 (23) def by (3) East Sandringham 5.14 (44)
GRAND FINAL: (1) ORMOND vs (3) EAST SANDRINGHAM
For the second consecutive week, East Sandringham peppered the goals but still managed to hit the scoreboard enough to take the win. They kicked just five behinds in the second half against Dingley, yet had enough of a lead to hold on by 21 points. East Sandy will want to straighten up their goalkicking against Ormond in the grand final this week, having lost their only encounter this year by nine points in Round 8.
Under 16 Division 1
Prelim final: (1) Ormond 11.10 (76) def (4) Hampton 7.3 (45)
GRAND FINAL: (2) EAST MALVERN GOLD vs (1) ORMOND
After a big loss to East Malvern Gold in the qualifying final, Ormond rebounded with a strong showing against Hampton. A big second quarter from Ormond put the result beyond doubt, with Sam Mason’s three goals instrumental in the win along with great games from Marcus LaGreca and Nicholas Halsall. Their grand final rematch with East Malvern Gold promises to be a ripper – the shock 52-point margin from two weeks ago surely won’t happen again… Ormond must look out for East Malvern’s sharpshooter William Paine, who tore them apart with five goals last time.
Under 16 Division 2
Prelim final: (1) Dingley 8.7 (55) def (4) Ajax Comets 7.5 (47)
GRAND FINAL: (2) CAULFIELD vs (1) DINGLEY
It wasn’t as easy as they would’ve wanted it, but Dingley dragged themselves into the grand final at the expense of Ajax Comets. The margin hovered around two goals all day, but the Dingoes showed the strength to continually hold off their opponents. Craig Sterling was best-on for the victors, while John Vigliaroni starred with three goals. The decider will be tough for Dingley, with Caulfield proving to be their bogy team this season. The Bears really did a number on them in the qualifying final, so Dingley will need to find something in reserve to pull this one out…
Under 16 Division 3
Prelim final: (1) Northvale 5.4 (34) def by (4) South Melbourne District 6.11 (47)
GRAND FINAL: (2) MORDIALLOC BRAESIDE vs (4) SOUTH MELBOURNE DISTRICT
South Melbourne District may have finished the home-and-away season with a 5-5 record, but they are hot right now! The Districts are into the grand final after sending top-placed Northvale out of the finals in straight sets by 13 points (with almost double the scoring shots). Once again, it was Samuel Kelly delivering for Souths on the big stage. Can they keep the run going to the flag against Mordialloc Braeside this week? Mordi-Brae touched them up by 42 points during the season, so it’ll be no easy task.
Under 17 finals series
(2) St Peters 6.9 (45) def by (4) Beaumaris Sharks 11.9 (75)
(1) Cheltenham 10.12 (72) def (3) Ormond 7.7 (49)
(1) CHELTENHAM vs (4) BEAUMARIS SHARKS
Was it that St Peters didn’t handle the week off or was it simply inspired football from Beaumaris? The Sharks shocked their more highly-fancied opponents and progressed to the Under 17 grand final by charging out of the blocks then hitting St Peters right between the eyes in a brilliant third quarter. Christopher Baum, Thomas Gregory and Angus Cameron all hit the scoreboard at crucial times for the Sharks, who have now booked a date with Cheltenham in the decider…
Cheltenham had everything thrown at them by Ormond in their preliminary final, but emerged as the clear team to beat for the flag. After letting their opponents slip away to a 15-point halftime lead, Ormond rallied in the third term, drawing to within three points at the last break. The big boys answered though – four goals to one from Chelt in the final quarter putting the game away. Polished games from Richard Ryan, Jack Gabron-Uhe and Lucas Kelly just underlined the Panthers’ spread of contributors this season.
The Sharks definitely have their work cut out for them in the big one this week. 67 points separated the teams in Chelt’s qualifying final victory two weeks. Division superboot Nathan Papatsanis kicked seven goals that day and he’s just one of many playmakers Beauy needs to shut down. This should be a fascinating tactical battle!