By Will Hunter
South Metro JFL 14.12 (96) defeated Eastern FL 10.7 (67)
Undoubtedly the highlight of the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships was the Under 15 Division 1 side’s stunning Grand Final victory over the Eastern Football League.
The Stars only just snuck into the decider, qualifying second on the ladder, a mere 4.02% head of Yarra JFL. But on the day there was no stopping them, as they run away to a 29-point victory at Walker Park to claim the SMJFL’s only piece of silverware for the carnival across all age groups.
And there were no early nerves from the Stars, who started the game like a house on fire. They dominated possession through the middle of the ground, and repeat forward entries put the EFL defence under constant pressure. By the time the first 20 minutes had elapsed, South Metro had 2.3 on the board while Eastern were yet to score.
It didn’t take long for South Metro to open their account in the second term. Two opportunistic goals inside four minutes had the margin out to 31 points, and things started to look dangerous for Eastern.
The home side managed to open their account with a goal halfway through the term, and added another two before half time. But South Metro had all the answers, and their five-goal quarter gave them a 37-point buffer at the long break.
However, the margin didn’t really reflect the Stars’ dominance in all facets of the game, and had it not been for some missed shots and turnovers inside 50, the difference would have been a lot greater.
Eastern then began their charge after a 10-minute stalemate to the start the third term. A couple of quick goals chipped away at their deficit, getting to within 16 points before a Fischer McAsey snap got the Stars’ lead back to 22 points, a margin they held until the final change.
The EFL weren’t done with, and through the kitchen sink at the Stars early in the final term. Two quick goals got the margin back to just 10 points, and worry started to set in among the Stars camp.
Consecutive goals to the SMJFL at the 15-minute mark ended 10 minutes of EFL and blew the margin back out to an unassailable 28 points.
The EFL responded with a major shortly after, but, as had been the case all day, the Stars had the answers. Fabian Stellato’s long-range goal in the final minute put the icing on the cake and sent the South Metro fans into unbridled delirium.
Riley Virtue won the best on ground medallion after a dominant display through the midfield, but Corey Watts and Div 1 MVP and Jack Mahoney would have given him a run for his money with their standout performances.
McAsey (three goals), Phil Hately-Fenton and Finn Maginness (two each) were the chief destroyer up forward.
But ultimately, this was a match that had no passengers, with every single player displaying 100% commitment to his individual role, his teammates and the South Metro Stars jumper.
Congratulations, boys, on an outstanding achievement. Well deserved!
South Metro JFL 2.10 (22) defeated by Eastern FL 11.13 (79)
The Division 2 Under 15 side fought hard until the end against the strong Eastern side, but unfortunate went down by 57-points at Walker Park.
The opening term was a tight affair, with the South Metro boys serving it right up to their fancied opponents. The Stars continually forced the ball inside 50 late in the term and managed a goal just before the quarter time siren, one of only three kicked for the term.
They entered the huddles only eight points in arrears after a terrific display of team-first footy.
But unfortunately the Eastern side took ownership of the contest after quarter time, putting the pedal to the metal with four goal to nil second quarter.
The Stars were by no means out of the contest, despite a 32-point half time deficit, and booted the only goal of the third term to get themselves within 25 points with a term to play.
Unfortunately, the final quarter belonged to Eastern, with the home side booting five unanswered goals to run out comfortable winners.
Charlie Yee was again outstanding for the Stars, adding one of the side’s two goals, while the talented Chris Perkins was perhaps their most influential player.
Jackson Cowden, Joe Barnes and Harrison Traum also figured among the best.
Division 1 Stars celebrating the win.