By Ben Pollard
Under 11 East
BRIGHTON BEACH 3.3 (21) def EAST SANDRINGHAM 3.2 (20)
Best on ground medallist: Darby Hipwell (East Sandringham)
Tough, tight and tense – that’s how we like our grand finals and this ripping match between Brighton Beach and East Sandringham was no exception! After a close scrap that had both teams locked at 14-14 at three-quarter time, the Kangaroos came out and booted the first goal of the final term. They held a seven-point lead until there was only a couple of minutes left in the game, when the Zebbies struck back with a major of their own. The countdown to the siren was tense for Brighton Beach fans, but the Roos clogged up East Sandy’s ball movement enough to hold on by the barest of margins… A classic finale!
Under 11 West
DINGLEY BLACK 6.4 (40) def ST PETERS 2.4 (16)
Best on ground medallist: Shane Ho (St Peters)
Dingley Black clearly learnt a thing or two from their defeat to St Peters two weeks ago in a semi final… That day, the Dingoes finished strong but let their opponents get too far in front too early in the game. On Sunday, Dingley also finished strong – but they hadn’t let St Peters steal a march on them this time! Just one point up at halftime, the Dingoes seized the occasion in the ‘premiership quarter’. They piled on three goals to none with a strong wind at their backs in the third term to steamroll St Peters in the game that matters most!
Under 11 South
HIGHETT 6.2 (38) def ST KILDA CITY RED 1.2 (8)
Best on ground medallist: Jake Bowey (Highett)
What a fairytale finals run by the Bulldogs! Highett finished in fourth at the end of the regular season, but knocked off the three teams that finished above it on the ladder – East Malvern White, East Brighton Vampires and St Kilda City Red – in consecutive weeks to claim the division title! Again, it was that old chestnut – the ‘premiership quarter’ – where the game was won and lost, with the Doggies scooting away on the back of three unanswered goals in the third term. Classy midfielder Jake Bowey was best on ground, while his teammates Vincent Ruffin and Will Straford both booted two goals.
Under 11 North
MURRUMBEENA GOLD 4.4 (28) def EAST SANDRINGHAM 0.1 (1)
Best on ground medallist: Max Delaney (Murrumbeena Gold)
The two standout teams of the division met for a fourth time this season in the granny and for the second time in this finals series, Murrumbeena Gold proved too good for East Sandringham. Beena was the Zebbies’ nemesis all year, inflicting their only defeat during the regular season and then dispatching them in the semi final. Demonstrating that performance was no fluke, the Lions comprehensively defeated East Sandy again on Sunday, impressively holding their opponent scoreless. Classy midfielder Max Delaney claimed the best on ground medal as his team claimed the premiership – and of course, bragging rights over their close rivals!
Under 11 Blue
MORDIALLOC-BRAESIDE WHITE 4.4 (28) def ST PETERS 1.1 (7)
Best on ground medallist: Oliver Moran (St Peters)
How many times does it happen – the premiership team comes out from the halftime break and asserts itself in the third quarter of a grand final… Mordialloc-Braeside White did just that in very impressive fashion against St Peters, breaking open a tight slog by converting the only two goals of the third term while kicking with the wind. After a massive semi final win over minor premier Cheltenham Dale, Sunday’s victory put the cherry on top of a barnstorming finals series from the Mustangs, who have clearly earned this division title!
Under 12 East
BEAUMARIS SHARKS 4.9 (33) def PRAHRAN RED 4.4 (28)
Best on ground medallist: Ethan Michaelides (Beaumaris Sharks)
You can never be sure that a grand final is truly over until that final siren blows… Prahran Red learnt that the hard way, surrendering a 10-point lead at three-quarter time to be overrun by Beaumaris in a tense last quarter. Big Ethan Michaelides was massive for the Sharks, as they booted the only two goals of the final stanza to break Prahran hearts. The triumph continued Beauy’s good run against them this season, now undefeated in three matches. Despite that lop-sided record, this game could be the start of an epic future rivalry!
Under 12 West
HIGHETT 9.8 (62) def CHELTENHAM WILLIAMS 6.4 (40)
Best on ground medallist: Cameron Taylor (Highett)
They left their run late, but when the Bulldogs came home, they really flew! Cheltenham Williams dominated Highett in the first quarter of this topsy-turvy grand final, slamming on 4.4 (28) to nothing, but slowly and surely the Doggies scrapped their way back into the contest. Still trailing by 11 points at the last change, Highett went BANG and buried the Panthers with five final-quarter goals to nil! Cameron Taylor put in a show stopping performance with four majors, while Cameron Blitsas and Luke Garnaut were just as crucial for the premiers. Chelt may be left ruing the one that got away…
Under 12 South
ST PAULS 6.4 (40) def DINGLEY BLACK 3.5 (23)
Best on ground medallist: Jackson Hannah (St Pauls)
The St Pauls juggernaut rolled on with consecutive win no.13 coming in the big dance against Dingley Black! Strong showings in the first and third quarters sealed the game for the minor premiers, who definitely deserved this title after finishing three wins clear on top of the division ladder. Jackson Hannah was a standout for the victors but the strength for St Pauls was a team contribution, with their six goals coming from six different sources.
Under 12 North
OAKLEIGH 5.5 (35) def WAVERLEY PARK GOLD 1.8 (13)
Best on ground medallist: Jaxon Stuart (Oakleigh)
Oakleigh managed to arrest an alarming late-season slide just in time to claim the Under 12 North premiership! After winning their first 13 matches, the Dragons lost their final regular season game and then a semi final against their grand final opponent Waverley Park Gold… A return to form in last week’s preliminary final was a good indication of what Oakleigh would bring to the decider, getting a jump on the Hawks with two goals to none in the first term. Waverley fought on, but just couldn’t convert chances in front of goal. The Dragons feasted on that inaccuracy, slipping further away as the second half went on. Jaxon Stuart was their best in a hard-earned title victory!
Under 12 Blue
BENTLEIGH 4.9 (33) def DINGLEY RED 4.4 (28)
Best on ground medallist: Joshua Worrell (Bentleigh)
Bentleigh topped off an outstanding season with consecutive win no.13 in their grand final against Dingley Red, but it wasn’t without a significant scare. The Dingoes threw everything at the Demons, snatching a 12-point halftime lead mostly thanks to accurate kicking in front of goal. Bentleigh struck back in the third quarter, establishing a nine-point advantage ahead of the final stanza, but the Dees would have been wondering whether a wasteful 4.9 (33) scoreline would bring them undone… As it happened, Dingley wasted its own chances in the last term, only able to kick four behinds as a comeback premiership win went begging.
Under 13 Division 1
BEAUMARIS SHARKS 6.7 (43) def EAST SANDRINGHAM 5.9 (39)
Best on ground medallist: Dawit McNeish (Beaumaris Sharks)
Please CLICK HERE to see our detailed match review of this fantastic game!
Under 13 Division 2
PRAHRAN RED 7.10 (52) def MURRUMBEENA GOLD 3.3 (21)
Best on ground medallist: James McMurrick (Prahran Red)
It was close for a long time in this fantastic grand final, but ultimately Prahran Red came home with a wet sail against Murrumbeena Gold. The minor premier hit back fiercely after a 17-point semi final loss to the Lions two weeks ago, claiming the premiership with an inspired scoring burst in the final quarter. Holding a slender lead of just five points at the last change, Prahran knew it would have the wind at its back and took full advantage by slotting 3.8 (26) to Beena’s nothing to close out the match. After a hard-fought season series, these two teams can surely look forward to continuing a great rivalry in the years to come…
Under 13 Division 3
BENTLEIGH 8.10 (58) def EAST SANDRINGHAM 1.5 (11)
Best on ground medallist: Hugo Ferdinand (Bentleigh)
East Sandringham was the bolter of this division, having made the grand final from fourth position on the ladder. It looked like the Zebbies may have been bolting towards the flag after one quarter against Bentleigh, too… They bagged the only goal of the opening term and kept the Demons to just two behinds. But with the wind at their backs in the second stanza, the Dees started piling on the pain for East Sandy, which didn’t score another goal for the game. Bentleigh’s last term was stunning, blowing the margin out on the back of brilliant work by Hugo Ferdinand, Adrian Newton (two goals) and Nick Lawrence (two goals).
Under 13 Division 4
NORTHVALE 6.8 (44) def MORDIALLOC-BRAESIDE RED 2.2 (14)
Best on ground medallist: Francis Connolly (Northvale)
Northvale capped off a season in which they were defeated only once by stopping Mordialloc-Braeside Red’s dream run in the grand final. With a regular season record of 5-8-1, the Mustangs would have become one of the stories of the SMJFL year if they had taken the title home but the Vales proved much too strong, dominating the contest throughout. The dashing Francis Connolly was their best, while goalkicking machine Lachlan Cabello booted two and the athletic Kang Nyoak played a blinder.
Under 13 Division 5
CAULFIELD BEARS 6.9 (45) def EAST SANDRINGHAM 4.3 (27)
Best on ground medallist: Jasper Pickering (Caulfield Bears)
Truly a season to remember for the Caulfield Bears! 16 games, 16 wins – what an achievement… The last of those victories came on Sunday against East Sandringham in the granny, a game in which the Bears always seemed to have a tight grip on the contest, eventually securing the premiership by 18 points. Caulfield’s skipper Jasper Pickering was superb in the thick of the action, while his teammate up forward Spencer Martinez kicked three crucial goals.
* Photos of the U11-13 grand finals at Mentone Grammar Playing Fields from the SMJFL’s preferred photography supplier, Photogenix, will be available on www.photogenixsports.com.au. Sample Photogenix photos can be found in the SMJFL Photo Gallery under the ‘Media’ tab at the top of the page.