By Ben Pollard
Under 11 East
(1) East Sandringham 4.12 (36) def (3) Ormond 4.4 (28)
GRAND FINAL: (2) BRIGHTON BEACH vs (1) EAST SANDRINGHAM
Despite some inaccurate work in front of goal, East Sandringham earned a grand final berth with a hard-fought preliminary final win over Ormond. Even with more scoring shots than Ormond at three-quarter time, the Zebbies trailed by two points… But they still had gas in the tank, booting 2.4 (16) to 1.0 (6) in the final term to secure victory. East Sandy has now set up a rematch with its semi final conqueror Brighton Beach in the decider. The Kangaroos drew away from the Zebs late in that match and with the week off, will likely fancy their chances of doing so again!
Under 11 West
(1) Dingley Black 4.5 (29) def (3) St Kilda City Black 3.2 (20)
GRAND FINAL (2) ST PETERS vs (1) DINGLEY BLACK
A super second half in the prelim final has seen Dingley Black safely through to the granny. It wasn’t easy work for the Dingoes by any stretch, with St Kilda City Black bounding out of the blocks to establish a five-point halftime lead, but 2.2 (14) to nothing in the third term turned the match on its head and set up this week’s semi final rematch with St Peters. Dingley lost gallantly by just four points that day, with their last-quarter comeback thwarted by St Peters stars such as Jack Caspersz and Shane Ho. But the question is: Can they hold off the hungry Dingoes again?
Under 11 South
(2) East Brighton Vampires 5.8 (38) def by (4) Highett 6.3 (39)
GRAND FINAL: (1) ST KILDA CITY RED vs (4) HIGHETT
East Brighton’s finals campaign can only be described with the word ‘heartbreak’… After a one-point loss to St Kilda City Red in their semi final, the Vamps coughed up another three-quarter time lead (this time, two points) to again lose by the closest of margins to Highett. The Doggies’ efficiency in the last term was vital, booting three straight goals to East Brighton’s 2.3 (15). You’ve got to take your chances when they arise and from fourth position on the ladder, Highett has certainly done that! Now can it keep the run going against St Kilda City (a team that defeated the Doggies by 39 points last time they met)?
Under 11 North
(1) East Sandringham 4.11 (35) def (3) St Pauls 0.1 (1)
GRAND FINAL: (2) MURRUMBEENA GOLD vs (1) EAST SANDRINGHAM
East Sandringham comfortably accounted for St Pauls for the third time this season in their prelim final, putting the Zebbies into the granny against Murrumbeena Gold. After an even first half, in which East Sandy converted the only goal of the game, the minor premiers turned the screws on St Pauls to draw away in style. Murrumbeena Gold leads 2-1 in the season series against the Zebs and last time around in a semi final, it took just one quarter for the Lions to set up victory. A three-goal second term from Beena proved decisive and East Sandy would want to be on its guard so such a lapse doesn’t happen again when it matters most…
Under 11 Blue
(1) Cheltenham Dale 2.1 (13) def by (3) St Peters 4.9 (33)
GRAND FINAL: (2) MORDIALLOC-BRAESIDE WHITE vs (3) ST PETERS
St Peters capped off a disappointing end to the season for minor premier Cheltenham Dale, bundling them out of the finals by 20 points. Jesse Chernikeeff, Michael Blight and Noam Rudzki (two goals) were key players in St Peters’ march to the big dance, killing off any resistance by keeping the Panthers scoreless in the first three quarters. Awaiting them now is Mordialloc-Braeside White, a team full of confidence after a massive semi final win. St Peters will be confident too though, having defeated the Mustangs and then getting within three points of them in their last two clashes.
Under 12 East
(2) East Brighton Vampires Red 2.8 (20) def by (3) Prahran Red 4.4 (28)
GRAND FINAL (1) BEAUMARIS SHARKS vs (3) PRAHRAN RED
Prahran Red should probably be nicknamed the Vampire Slayers… East Brighton’s forgettable Under 12 East finals series continued, with Prahran Red sending the Vampires Red team out in straight sets, just a week after eliminating the Vampires White team. This game was essentially over by three-quarter time, when Prahran had already established a 25-point lead. They’ll need a similarly fast start against Beaumaris Sharks in the granny this week… Beauy looks formidable, having recorded 23- and 18-point victories over Prahran this season.
Under 12 West
(1) Highett 7.11 (53) def (3) Waverley Park Brown 5.7 (37)
GRAND FINAL: (2) CHELTENHAM WILLIAMS vs (1) HIGHETT
The Doggies were very slow out of the kennel in their prelim final against Waverley Park Brown, but soon regained their bite after conceding three goals to nil in the first quarter. A four-goal-to-nil second term turned the game around and Highett went on with it in the last stanza to seal a path to the grand final. Cameron Blitsas and Jonas Eccles were two of the key players in the win. The Dogs now meet Cheltenham Williams for the third time in four weeks… Highett won the first encounter in Round 14, but the Panthers hit back in a semi final. Clearly, best of three wins!
Under 12 South
(2) Dingley Black 5.14 (44) def (4) Prahran Blue 4.4 (28)
GRAND FINAL: (1) ST PAULS vs (2) DINGLEY BLACK
Thankfully for Dingley Black, wasteful kicking at goal didn’t cost the Dingoes in their prelim final against Prahran Blue. Despite spraying 1.8 (14) in the third quarter to keep their opponent in the game, the weight of scoring shots in Dingley’s favour was too much for Prahran to overcome. David Cowell was the only multiple goalkicker for the victors, but they’ll be hoping for many more when they meet a rampaging St Pauls outfit in the decider. St Pauls had the Dingoes on toast two weeks ago in their semi final, keeping them to just two behinds for the day!
Under 12 North
(1) Oakleigh 8.6 (54) def (3) Mordialloc-Braeside Red 3.6 (24)
GRAND FINAL: (2) WAVERLEY PARK GOLD vs (1) OAKLEIGH
After losing its first two matches for the season in the last two weeks, Oakleigh arrested the slide with a strong-finishing prelim final win over Mordialloc-Braeside Red. The game was in the balance at the last change with the Dragons up by just four points, but they showed their class in the final quarter to slam on four goals to nil. Nicholas Stathopoulos (three goals) and Jaxon Stuart (two) were big factors in front of goal. A grand final date with semi final conqueror Waverley Park Gold awaits… Will the Dragons rediscover their early high-flying form on the most important day of the footy year?
Under 12 Blue
(2) Dingley Red 12.8 (80) def (3) St Kilda City Red 5.4 (34)
GRAND FINAL: (1) BENTLEIGH vs (2) DINGLEY RED
Dingley Red thoroughly deserves a second crack at Bentleigh in the big one after a dominant prelim final display against St Kilda City Red. 26 points up at quarter time, the Dingoes were never going to let this one go, particularly with Seth O’Donnell and Nicholas Garofalo firing up forward with three majors apiece. Bentleigh got the best of Dingley by 26 points just two weeks ago in a semi final, but will the Dingoes learn the lessons from that day? Hopefully the Demons aren’t superstitious, because they’re gunning for consecutive win no.13… That’s lucky, right?
Under 13 Division 1
(2) Beaumaris Sharks 7.11 (53) def (3) St Kilda City Black 2.1 (13)
GRAND FINAL: (1) EAST SANDRINGHAM vs (2) BEAUMARIS SHARKS
Beaumaris turned things around pretty quickly after being held scoreless by East Sandringham in last week’s semi final. The Sharks came out smelling blood after quarter time against St Kilda City Black, booting four goals to nothing in the second term to put this prelim final to bed. Harrison Houlahan and Matthew Field both slotted two goals against the Saints, but they’ll be very keen to replicate that in the decider this week after failing to find the big sticks against the Zebs two weeks ago. On recent form, East Sandy has to go in to this one as favourites…
Under 13 Division 2
(1) Prahran Red 12.9 (81) def (4) Ajax Comets 4.1 (25)
GRAND FINAL: (2) MURRUMBEENA GOLD vs (1) PRAHRAN RED
After recording a meagre 1.7 (13) against Murrumbeena Gold in their semi final clash, Prahran Red proved it can be a potent attacking force by goaling 12 times in a big prelim final victory over Ajax Comets. Harry Molnar kicked three of them and was a star, as were his teammates James Rowbottom and Harrison Campbell. The minor premier must fancy its chances of reversing the semi final loss to Beena in the granny this week, after having more scoring shots than the efficient Lions that day… You’d think that as long as the goalkicking radar is on – as it was against Ajax – Prahran will be a big show!
Under 13 Division 3
(2) Beaumaris Great Whites 2.8 (20) def by (4) East Sandringham 4.6 (30)
GRAND FINAL: (1) BENTLEIGH vs (4) EAST SANDRINGHAM
East Sandringham is making a big run at the flag from fourth position, having now knocked Beaumaris Great Whites out of the finals in straight sets! Some Zebbie heroics in the good old ‘premiership quarter’ sealed their spot in the premiership decider – 2.3 (15) to nothing helped them open up the decisive margin. The Zebs’ record against grand final opponent Bentleigh isn’t bad either… Last time they met in Round 8, the Demons just scraped home by three points. Bentleigh has only lost once this season, but needs to look out for this bolter from down Sandringham way!
Under 13 Division 4
(2) Oakleigh 1.6 (12) def by (4) Mordialloc-Braeside Red 3.9 (27)
GRAND FINAL: (1) NORTHVALE vs (4) MORDIALLOC-BRAESIDE RED
Mordialloc-Braeside Red ended Oakleigh’s finals series by keeping the Dragons to just one goal in their prelim final, a week after they were kept scoreless by Northvale. Jack Courtie, Dakota Griffiths and Matthew Bergen were simply outstanding for the Mustangs, who have booked a date on the biggest stage of all against a flying Northvale outfit. The Vales may have lost only once and Mordi-Brae may have lost eight times this season, but they start on level terms this week, which makes the charging Mustangs a dangerous proposition for the minor premiers…
Under 13 Division 5
(2) East Sandringham 4.7 (31) def (4) Prahran Blue 3.4 (22)
GRAND FINAL: (1) CAULFIELD BEARS vs (2) EAST SANDRINGHAM
East Sandringham is through to the granny and intent on crushing Caulfield’s dream of an undefeated season! With the help of two big goals to Alex Gibson, the Zebs ground their way to victory against Prahran Blue in the prelim final. East Sandy opened up leads with strong first and third quarters, but Prahran valiantly answered both times… Alas, it wasn’t enough to win a shot at knocking off Caulfield. That chance goes to the Zebras, who will be hoping they’ve learnt enough from their 19-point semi final defeat to hunt down the Bears and take home the trophy!