The 2015 Under 16 Division 3 Grand Final was a brilliant contest between two high-quality teams in Ajax and Waverley Park.
The Hawks enjoyed a stellar home and away season, dropping just two games en route to the minor premiership, while Ajax finished second, one win behind.
Tellingly, it was Ajax that administered Waverley’s two defeats, coincidently by the same margin (21 points), at both Columbia Park in Round 4 and Princes Park in Round 13.
The two sides met again in the Second Semi Final at Toorak Park, with Waverley hoping to be third time lucky. They weren’t, with Ajax holding them at arm’s length all day to record yet another victory over the Hawks and advance to the Grand Final.
Beaten but by no means broken, Waverley then turned their attentions to the third-placed Dingley in the Preliminary Final at Wellington Reserve. At half time the Hawks were staring down the barrel of a straight-sets finals exit, but they showed plenty of heart to fight back and pip the Dingoes by a goal.
In doing so, they set a Grand Final date with their nemesis Ajax at Mentone Grammar.
And, as had been the case in previous battles between them, it was Ajax that started the stronger of the two. Four first-term goals had the Hawks on the back foot, and facing a 19-point deficit at the first change.
To their credit, Waverley were competitive in the second term, and traded goals with their opponents. Unfortunately, however, they could make no inroads into the deficit.
The second half belonged to Ajax as they piled on the pressure and hammered home their advantage. Five third-term goals saw their lead balloon out to in insurmountable 42 points and all but seal the deal.
Although they took their foot off the pedal in the last, Ajax still managed to outscore the Hawks and cruise to a 49-point win.
Ariel Syber took home the medal as the best player on the ground in his side’s premiership triumph, but his teammates in Yishai Elaluf and Ward Williams gave him a fun for his money.
Michael Lazar did most of the damage up forward, starring with three goals, while Brody Velleman chipped in with two.
For the vanquished Hawks, Matthew Jago and James Long led the resistance, while Jonathan Kyriakoullakis booted four of his side’s six goals.
Ajax: 14.12 (96)
Waverley Park Hawks: 6.11 (47)
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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