Posted in Featured News , Front Page News

By Brendan Ellwood

Sunday August 23 was the big day for the best teams of the Under 11 West division, with Cheltenham Panthers facing off against East Malvern Knights for the flag.

Head to SMJFL.TV to watch all past SMJFL Grand Finals including the full match replay of 2015 Under 11 West

The Panthers came into the game as the favourites after finishing the season as minor premiers, four games clear of their opposition, East Malvern. The Knights were looking to prove that both teams have even chances on the day, and complete the underdog victory story.

East Malvern started the stronger of the two sides, displaying immense spirit to hold the minor premiers to a goalless first quarter and edge ahead at the first break by four points in a low-scoring tussle. Having sent a message in the opening term, belief was high in the East Malvern huddle.

Champion teams respond when challenged, and in the second term Cheltenham did exactly that. The Panthers returned fire with 3 goals, while holding their opponents to just 1 point for the quarter. Despite the momentum swing, the margin was just 17 points at the main break, and both sides would have felt confident of their chances in the second half.

Whatever was said in the changerooms at half-time must be part of Cheltenham history now, as the Panthers performance in the premiership quarter was a defining statement from a team who believed they deserved the flag. 4.3 to a solitary goal in the third term pushed the margin to 38 points and left East Malvern facing an uphill battle on the home stretch.

The task proved too much, as Cheltenham finished their year with a 3 goals to 1 final quarter. Atkinson, Davis and Poort each kicked 2 goals to lead the Panthers to convincing win over the gallant East Malvern side. A deserved premiership for the standout team in the competition.

Final Score

Cheltenham Panthers: 10.14.74

East Malvern: 3.1.19