The final week of SMJFL’s magnificent season has come to a close with players and parents alike recovering from the euphoria of victory, or the depths of defeat. Each and every player worked hard for their teams but there could only be one winner for each Grand Final. With thanks to Monash University we have dissected the deciders across the U17 and U18 competitions.
U17 Boys Division 1
Mordialloc-Braeside proved themselves worthy winners of the U17 Division 1 crown after storming home to beat St Bedes/Mentone in a Grand Final heart stopper. The atmosphere at Boss James Reserve was electric as both sides fought tooth and nail for glory. St Bedes have been the Cinderella story of the finals despite a 4-5 regular season record. The Mustangs exerted their dominance early, keeping the Tigers to just one point in the first quarter. Thereafter, the boys from Mentone roared, clawing the margin back to just a point at half-time. After the long break, St Bedes took control – and the lead – after some inaccuracy from Mordialloc. Trailing at the last change he Mustangs dug their heels in and willed themselves to a five-point victory, kicking the only goal of the final term. After losing just one game all season Mordialloc-Braeside will feel they deserved the crown, but credit to St Bedes/Mentone for their heroic efforts.
U17 Boys Division 2
Caulfield will forever rue missed opportunities after they fell agonisingly short of the winner’s medals. The more accurate St Kilda City ran out victorious by 14 points against a spirited Caulfield side, who had more scoring shots than the Premiers. The Bears’ 3.7 to St Kilda City’s 6.3 proved one of the major differences in an otherwise fiercely contested match. After a tight first quarter, the Saints rose above and powered away – kicking three goals to none. The following quarter proved a slug-fest with neither side scoring a major – kicking 2 behinds between them. Caulfield pressed in the last but the margin was already too great as St Kilda City rebuffed their advances to confirm their position as Division 2’s best.
U18 Girls Division 1
In what proved a scrappy contest, East Malvern took out the Girls’ Division 1 Premiership after overcoming both St Peters and the weather. The Red and Green were unlucky to remain scoreless and should be proud of their efforts, having matched East Malvern for almost all of the match. The difference proved to be the Knights’ experience and ability to seize the moment. Their two goals before half-time proved crucial with neither side scoring after the long break. The ball predominantly stayed out on the wing as both teams scrapped in muddy conditions. After claiming the minor premiership, East Malvern fulfilled their destiny to lift the cup aloft.
U18 Girls Division 2
Beaumaris’ electric end-of-season form continued all the way through to Grand Final day, disposing of minor premiers Mordialloc-Braeside. The Sharks have been in red-hot form for some time now and before the Grand Final had won six in a row – including two straight against their opponents. The girls from Beaumaris made it a hat-trick on Sunday, leaving the Mustangs devastated. The away side struggled against Beaumaris last time out, and it proved no different here – kicking only one goal to three-quarter-time. Despite Mordi’s valiance, Beaumaris were too good, outscoring them in all bar the second quarter.