Despite coming out strong in a blistering first quarter, the U14 Division 1 South Metro Junior Football League Interleague squad ended up losing to the powerful Eastern Football League by 72 points.
It was the perfect start to the game for the SMJFL when Joel Crocker’s opening goal early on was followed within minutes by goals from Nicholas Stamatis and Troy Brimble. All of a sudden, blink and you missed it, the game went from all square to a three-goal SMJFL advantage.
From that point on, however, Eastern began to work their way back into the game and kicked three of the next four goals to bring the margin to four points. It took a bit of brilliance from Hugo Ferdinand and then Brimble with two of the final three goals to close out the term and a take 9-point quarter time lead.
Ferdinand received the ball on the back flank and took several bounces before launching a long goal and Brimble almost kicked the leather off the ball with a long-bomb from 50 just before the siren.
In the second quarter the momentum began to turn the way of the EFL and it didn’t swing back to SMJFL’s way for the rest of the contest. Capitalising on the building wind, Eastern managed seven goals throughout the term and limited South Metro from troubling the scoreboard at all and went into half time just one-point shy of doubling their score.
Our SMJFL boys managed three more goals in the second half while the EFL squad tacked on eight – many thanks to the efforts of their powerfully built forward, Tyler Robertson. Robertson managed to get on top of the SMJFL defence all game and finished the game with five goals, his second five goal haul in as many games.
The final term was a more closely contested battle than the previous two with South Metro refusing to drop their heads and they managed to finish the game in a respectable fashion with a few last quarter goals.
One thing that stood out throughout the game was the SMJFL’s accuracy in front of the big sticks, where they capitalised on each and every chance that was presented to them, not once missing their target for nine goals straight. Their loss can’t be attributed to a lack of polish.
The medal for best on ground went to Eastern’s Calvin Daraio thanks to his efforts through the middle of the ground.
The loss signalled the end of the tournament and was the second years in a row the SMJFL has fallen at the hands of the EFL in the grand final. It was a gallant effort and fantastic tournament from our charges though and the SMJFL wishes to congratulate all the boys on a fantastic interleague competition.
SMJFL: 6.0 6.0 7.0 9.0 (54)
EFL: 4.3 11.6 15.17 19.12 (126)
Goal Kickers: T. Brimble 2, J. Rendell, J. Crocker, M. Harvey, H. Ferdinand, M. King, N. Stamatis, H. Houlahan
Best Players: S. Forbes, N. Stamatis, H. Ferdinand, W. Kennedy, M. Harvey, J. Ross