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The 2015 SMJFL Under 13 Division 4 Grand Final featured two of the more unlikely combatants in East Brighton and Cheltenham.

Neither side finished top two in what was a rather even competition, but nevertheless they hit rich veins of form at the perfect time of the year.

Cheltenham in particular qualified for finals in fourth spot on the back of their nine win home and away season. The Vampires, meanwhile, finished the home and away season one rung above the panthers in third, but in many ways were unlucky not to steal second spot ahead Ormond.

However, the final home and away standing proved irrelevant as East Brighton comfortably accounted for the Monders by 22 points in their Semi Final clash at Columbia Park.

The Panthers then pulled off a remarkable upset in the Semi Final at Walter Galt Reserve, consigning minor premier and competition pacesetter Mordialloc-Braeside to just their second loss of the year.

Despite the boilover, the higher ranked East Brighton went into the Grand Final at Toorak Park as slight favourites, and got the jump on their opponent early. They put through the only goal of the opening term to open up a slender buffer by the first change.

But in the second term it looked like a completely different Cheltenham side had emerged from the huddle. The immediately seized control of the game and surged passed the seemingly flat footed Vampires. The Panthers held them scoreless, while adding three goals straight themselves to be 10-point leaders heading into the sheds.

Their momentum continued after the break with another two goals to one to just about put the game beyond the reach of the Vampires with a quarter to play.

The final term became a bit of stale mate as the Panthers defended their lead with solidarity. Ultimately just one score was registered for the term – a behind to the Vampires – esunring the premiership cup was headed to Le Page Park.

Jack Roberts booted three goals in a sublime best afield medal-winning display, while Heath Wadley chimed in with two goals.

FINAL SCORES

East Brighton Vampires: 2.4 (16)

Cheltenham Panthers: 5.1 (31)

 

You can watch this game and more from the 2015 SMJFL Finals Series at www.smjfl.tv, including all SMJFL Grand Finals from 2012 to 2015.

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