The South Metro Junior Football League lost to the Eastern Football League by 10-points after leading at every break s in a nail biting rematch of last year’s Interleague Grand Final.
Not unlike the game before it, the SMJFL jumped out to a quick lead with multiple goals early in the opening term. Alexander Lowe, who had only kicked one goal in three games, had two goals in two minutes to give South Metro the perfect start.
The remainder of the quarter was a back and forth affair with neither side really gaining the ascendency en route to each putting one more goal on the board and South Metro went into the first break holding a 13-point lead.
Early in the second quarter South Metro had the opportunity to extend their lead when Lachlan Height danced through traffic and found Isaac Morrisby for a shot at goal. However, throughout the contest South Metro weren’t able to maintain the kind of accuracy in front of goal they had displayed in the previous three encounters. They ended the game kicking at 50% accuracy at goal, well down from their competition average of 67%.
At half time South Metro still held a comfortable 11-point lead and appeared to maintaining control of the game. It would be a lead that they would hold onto for the majority of the third quarter. Their lead was eventually cut to four points in the dying seconds of the quarter to set up a four-point margin and intense final term.
The fourth quarter began with Eastern peppering the goal face and failing to convert their opportunities into majors before South Metro made them pay for their inaccuracy. Lachlan Harris kicked a goal, which fired up the team and extended their lead to eight points with time running down in the last quarter.
It looked like the goal would be the nail in the coffin but Eastern had the wind and they began to utilise it with long kicks inside 50 and long shots at goal which they eventually turned into six points.
With the margin at two points in favour of South Metro, the ball was again deep in the SMJFL defence when a clearing defensive kick got held up in the wind and landed in the outstretched arms of an EFL forward who kicked the goal to take a four-point lead.
Time was running out with South Metro struggling to gain clean possession – they couldn’t deliver the ball into the forward line with any sort of confidence. The EFL capitalised on an errant forward entry when a counter attack ended up in the arms of Nicholas Walkden, 45 metres out, who kicked the sealing goal with 30 seconds left on the clock.
The medal for best on ground went to Eastern’s Adam Cerra but the SMJFL’s almost hero Harris must have been close to taking it off his hands. The loss signals the end of the competition for this group who fought to the very end and almost brought home the win in a display that made the league proud.
SMJFL 3.1 4.2 5.4 6.6 (42)
EFL: 1.0 2.3 4.6 7.10 (52)
Goal Kickers: A. Lowe 2, I. Morrisby 2, W. Lewis, L. Harris
Best Players: L. Harris, C. Constable, A. Lowe, G. Nagle, I. Morrisby, J. Mangoni