Posted in Front Page News

The South Metro Junior Football League Division 1 U14 squad will take on the Eastern Football League in a rematch of last year’s interleague grand final on Saturday the 21st of June.

South Metro earned their spot in the clash after winning two of their three games throughout the tournament and finishing atop their respective ladder, 12% clear of the second place Western Region Football League.

They opened their account with a 42-point victory over the South East Juniors before struggling against the Essendon District Football League and going down by 33 points. Their last round showed the ability to bounce back after a loss as they overcame a strong WRFL outfit by 33 points.

The coach, Steve Walton, was impressed with the team’s ability to follow orders and thinks despite their good results they’ve yet to string together a consistent four quarters.

“Extremely happy [with the team’s performance] – they followed instructions, played some good smart football, although probably not for four quarters each game but definitely for two and half quarters each game they were pretty good,” he said.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the group is how quickly they gelled as a team and learned one another’s strengths and weaknesses as the competition progressed.

“Now they can see the advantages of each player and the skills they brought to the game because each one has got their own qualities,” said Walton.

“I’d love to coach them every weekend.”

Eastern presents as an imposing opponent after they breezed through their opening three group matches. They never looked like losing en route to progressing through to Saturday’s grand final undefeated.

South Metro will have to be mindful of the dangerous duo of Timothy Parker and Bailey Werle who combined for 17 goals across the first three games. The pair will be watched by the consistent backline featuring Nick DeBruin and Cade Logan who have been consistently sound all competition long.

Last year Eastern triumphed over South Metro by 56 points in the finale, but this year is a new batch of kids and Walton thinks they possess not only the pace but also the height to cause problems against the perennially big and strong Eastern side.

“Height wise we probably match up with them this year but I feel we’ve got a bit more pace than what we had had in the past,” Walton explained.

“Especially on the big ground we have this week we’ve got to give ourselves the best chance of winning… We will take the game on and don’t go defensive.”

The big ground should suit the pace of speedster Troy Brimble who has dazzled so far this series with his run and carry.

Unfortunately the team will be without tall timber Jake Turner, Jesse Patrick and Lachlan McDonnell due to other commitments but they will be boosted by the full time return of Tristan Guiliano who will help pick up the slack.

Above all else, the coach is pleased with the efforts of his charges and grateful for both theirs and their parents’ time.

“We’ve had some good consistent players so I’m very happy for them and we really appreciate the parents driving – we were all the way in Sunbury last week. Their recovery, their attitude towards recovery was fantastic… They’re fantastic and they all want to learn.”