It wasn’t an ideal start to the AFL Victoria Metropolitan Junior Championships for the SMJFL on Wednesday night, with three of our four Under 14 and Under 15 interleague teams going down to strong opposition sides.
The Under 14 Division 1 team started brightly at Bulleen Park against the Yarra Junior Football League, holding a six-point lead at half time, but it went downhill for our boys from there. A five-goal-to-one third quarter established the YJFL’s dominance as they pulled away to win by 18 points. Sam Michael, Ben Dance and Will Taylor were the SMJFL’s best, while Christian Hatzis chipped in with two majors. The Division 1 boys are a particularly strong group this year, but unfortunately ran into a typically classy Yarra outfit.
The Division 2 team fared much better, running out strong winners by 53 points over the Eastern Football League at frosty Moorleigh Reserve. The effort was even more impressive given how difficult the conditions became towards the end of the first quarter. The SMJFL handled the slippery dew to perfection, extending a big early lead at every change. Oscar Don, Tom Soust and Xavier Jordan were superb for the victors, with Jordan Cohen also booting three snags.
Both Under 15 teams came home without the points, with Yarra pipping the Division 1 boys for a second time at Bulleen Park. It was a dour first quarter battle, with just one goal apiece on the board, but the YJFL boys put their stamp on the game in the second quarter, breaking to a 16-point half-time lead. Holding the final margin to 25 points was a testament to the SMJFL’s fighting ability. Callum Beattie-Powell and Luke Globan led the resistance, while Jordan Matera slotted four big goals.
The fog descended at Moorleigh Reserve for the Under 15 Division 2 match with the Eastern Football League. The tough conditions took a toll on the SMJFL, dominated to the tune of 62 points. The EFL was much too strong as the game wore on, restricting our boys to just 1.7 (13) after quarter time. Lachlan Palfrey and Andrew Tashevski-Beckwith were the best in the loss.
* Make sure to check out the SMJFL photo gallery for snaps from Wednesday night’s games at Moorleigh Reserve and from the Under 14 & 15 interleague jumper presentation night on Monday, May 21, also at Moorleigh Reserve.