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By Ben Pollard

The SMJFL goes into battle with the Northern FL and the Yarra JFL to defend its Under 13 Division 1 interleague shield at McKinnon Reserve on Sunday.

But according to SMJFL Under 13 Division 1 coach Tim Marshall, the battle will be waged with a very different squad to last year’s group.

“Last year was a freak year in terms of top-end talent, but this group has a lot of depth,” he said. “There are probably 10 unlucky kids to be playing Div 2 who could easily have been playing Div 1.

“We probably don’t have the same top-end talent but we certainly have talent that runs very deep, so we’re hoping that player no.24 is just as good as player no.1.”

Last year at Bulleen Park, the SMJFL’s Division 1 boys comprehensively won their two matches to claim the crown, while the Division 2 boys fell desperately short with a win and a heartbreaking draw.

Marshall said this year’s teams are capable of bringing both titles home, even with a lack of height across the group compared to previous years.

“We’ve got a game plan relying on run and we’ve got the weather on our side by the looks of it – 18C and sunshine,” he said.

“That’s just what we wanted – some dry conditions to run the ball and have a bounce.”

Marshall said the McKinnon Reserve ovals should be in perfect condition to do so and the SMJFL boys will even have a “sneaky training session” there this Saturday.

While being on ‘home soil’ will have its advantages, it is hoped the SMJFL boys’ long build-up together will help them as well.

“One of the other leagues in particular only gets together the week before the carnival, whereas we’ve been training for 10 weeks,” Marshall said.

“So we’d like to think we have the advantage.”

And make sure you give our boys a further advantage by getting along and supporting them on Sunday!

The Under 13 interleague carnival takes place at McKinnon Reserve, Tucker Road, Moorabbin (Melway 68 G11) from 10am.

Fixtures for the day can be seen below.

For the full teams, please Initiates file downloadCLICK HERE.

Under 13 Division 1 (Oval 1)
10.20am: SMJFL vs YJFL
12.05pm: NFL vs YJFL
1.50pm: SMJFL vs NFL

Under 13 Division 2 (Oval 2)
10.00am: SMJFL vs YJFL
11.45am: SMJFL vs NFL
1.30pm: NFL vs YJFL