This weekend saw the Mitcham Junior Football Club in Round 14 action. The Under 9s started proceeding on a very cold morning playing on the worst ground they have played on all year at Mt. Waverley Reserve. The wind was blowing hard and the boys were freezing! After strategically positioning the bench in a spot that wasn’t too muddy (had to be the only spot on the ground actually!) we watched the whole team give their all for one last game. Unfortunately Waverley Blues White was just too good. Well done to Jodi the Medic for splashing mud on to the Coaches!  Big congratulations to our two Captains for the day, Sammy and Patrick. Our “Best on ground” awards went to Sammy Alberico and William Mcdonald. Both boys played really good games of footy in the terrible conditions. Coach Matt Costello was in a reflective mood when he said “Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Throughout the year we have turned children into football players! The way that they have developed has been a great pleasure to watch, if we could look back on the first game to the last, I'm sure all the parents would have to have seen a dramatic improvement in their child's skills and development to play the game that they love. It's important to thank all the coaching staff, team manager and medic and of course all of the parents who have contributed to any part this year. It was great to have so many young players this year starting at the Mitcham football club and I hope to see you all next year.” Good work yourself Matty, you did a great job with the Under 9s this season!

The Under 10's played their final game for the season against the Donvale Magpies at Walker Park.  What a spectacular it was too.  Coach Leigh invited the player's grandparents and special people to attend.   Proudly led onto their HOME ground by Co-Captains Riley Holloway and Lachlan Callander, the kids were certainly made to feel special running through a guard of honor formed by grandparents/parents and special others. Pumped and ready to go, the Under 10's put on a real football display with some great marking, great teamwork moving the ball among each other as well as creating the wall and locking the ball inside their forward half. The first half in particular was a good display of disciplined football by the team. They may have gotten a touch complacent in the second half, but overall our team place impressive football throughout, proving a successful result for the last match of the season. Alex Jones took out the first “match day award” for his efforts throughout the match, taking instruction well and putting it into action. The 2nd award was presented to Ethan Miller for his maturity and great displays of leadership to his teammates.  Well-done boys!!! Kylie, your team manager said “So as the season comes to an end I would just like to mention, it has been a pleasure getting to know you all throughout the season.  You are a great bunch!! Thank you to all the volunteers. Your commitment to the team and your game day role certainly made my role a lot easier.  And lastly, a BIG thank-you must also go the Game Day Staff.  Leigh for inspiring the kids, Mark for his encouraging words, Steve for his displays of athleticism on the ground and Fiona for her compassionate touch to the injured players. Special mention to Jeff Balman for stepping in for the final few games as trainer.”  WELL DONE TIGERS!

The Under 11s were home again this week against the side they will play in next weekends Elimination final – North Ringwood. The wind was blowing strongly and all the scoring was done at the Whitehorse Road end of the ground. North Ringwood had the breeze first and used it well, while our boys didn’t look “switched on” and came in at ¼ time, trailing by three goals. When the Tigers got the benefit of the wind in the second quarter, North Ringwood worked harder and were taking too many marks, far too easily. We were often second to the ball or second to get down to it and gave away too many free kicks with some poor efforts. However for all that, the boys came in at half time only two goals down and with positive voices, which was encouraging to the coaching staff. The boys looked better in the third, they were more accountable and put more pressure on the opposition. However, a couple of lapses cost us goals and the task before us in the fourth was now pretty large.  We managed a couple of goals in the last quarter and did most of the attacking but couldn’t bridge the gap. Full credit to the boys for fighting the whole game out and although the last quarter was good it was a little too late. In general, North Ringwood attacked the ball a little harder and certainly kicked a lot better with the wind. This was reflected on the scoreboard. All of the boys tried hard. Lincoln was great, Emi, Harry, Julian and Luke worked hard in the middle, while Harrison did his best at full back and Max W and Matthew did well up forward. Sam B also worked hard for us - thanks Sam. Despite not being at our best, there was not much between the two sides on the scoreboard.  We had plenty of chances in the game but unluckily we couldn’t convert in front of goals. In finals you make your own luck - firstly by bringing the right attitude to training and then taking that into the game along with working hard as a team from the first bounce to the final siren. This is what our boys will do this week! The Elimination Final is at Donvale Reserve and game time is 10.30am. Lets get the Tiger Army along to support Marcus and the boys!

Final Score: North Ringwood 5.5-35 d Mitcham 3.3-21


The Under 13s were at home and took on the top of the table St. Simons outfit that had beaten our team by 104 point back in round 4. After three successive wins and Sean Giles playing is 50th game, our boys were confident of taking it up to the opposition and finishing the season off on a high. Although losing the toss and having to kick into a stiff breeze in the first quarter, the tigers held firm and restricted St. Simons to only 2 goals which was a good effort. In the second quarter kicking with the wind, some wasted opportunities in front of goal were costly for us as was allowing St. Simons to kick two goals into the wind. The boy’s heads were still up and although St. Simons kicked another 2 goals in the third quarter, the tigers were still up and about, putting tremendous pressure on their opponents in a very physical game of football. Trailing by 24 points at ¾ time, the coaches asked for a big effort in the last and our boys did the club proud by fighting the game out to the end and making St. Simons really scramble to a 12 point win in the end. Considering the ladder positions, this was a fantastic effort by our team and one we should all be proud of. It makes a big difference having almost your full list of players to pick from, which due to injuries this season was not possible until the final few games. Well-done boys for fighting out the season! The Coaches were very proud of you all!

Final Score: St. Simons 7.7-49 d Mitcham 5.7-37

The Under 15s, having already consolidated 3rd position on the ladder went into Sunday’s game against a North Ringwood team that had nothing to play for other than pride. North Ringwood kicked with the breeze in the opening term and early signs indicated the Saints were up for the challenge, but after early resistance the Tigers over powered an undermanned North Ringwood team who to there credit never gave in. From a Mitcham point of view it was good to see the boys play with some good team work and a solid 4 quarter effort when it could have been real easy for the boys to drift in and out of the game in trying circumstances. Not quite sure why we played on the back oval with NO change rooms and toilets or coaches boxes at Quambee reserve when a perfectly good oval sat idle in front. But it was a friendly reminder to our boys of the great relationship that the Mitcham Senior and Junior club enjoy and how luckily we are to have such a wonderful home ground in Walker Park. This week the boys are under NO illusion as they enter finals as the under dogs. Nothing short of full commitment and a four-quarter effort is required as they take on Lillydale at Blackburn - 2.30pm start. The one thing we have learned about this group is it doesn’t matter what gets put in front of them, nothing stops them from having a crack no matter how great the odds. No doubt we will see a BIG Tiger army out in support of the boys at Blackburn on Sunday afternoon!  Please get along and support Gavin and the boys!

Final Score: Mitcham 18.19-127 d North Ringwood 1.2-8

The Under 17s also played St. Simons at home. Below is a report not only on the game, but the season as a whole from Assistant Coach Alan Fairbairn.

“Today we played the bottom team, and whilst on paper it presented as an easy winnable game, we still had to turn up with the right attitude. We kicked against the wind again in the first quarter, and whilst our opposition came ready to play, we controlled the quarter for the most part.  Roddy got us going kicking our only 2 goals of the quarter. The second quarter we again had the majority of the play, but due to our opposition throwing extra numbers behind the ball, we didn't quite put the pressure on the scoreboard as we would've liked. Josh Sinni got busy in this quarter kicking 2 and putting his pace to work, whilst Harry Andrews kicked a nice long goal from a set shot. At half-time we challenged the boys to put the effort in now (against the wind) and effectively end the game by 3/4 time, OR go through the motions in the third quarter, give our opposition a chance to get back in the game and give them a sniff of victory, and then have to fight hard in the last quarter.  To our boy’s credit, they decided to work hard in the third quarter, slamming on 5 goals to 1 against the wind.  Angus Archibald continued his rich vein of form since coming back into the team, continually winning the ball from the clearances, refusing to ever be beaten and pumping the ball forward time after time.  Goals to Tom Lucas, Josh Sinni, Michael Barro, Stuart Atleir and Terry Ferlazzo ensured this game was over by 3/4 time, just as we set out to do. It became apparent that with a full bench to our opponents having no bench, and with the hard work we have been putting in between the Queen's birthday and now, we were beginning to overrun our tiring opponents, and whilst it got a little "willing" in the third quarter, our boys refused to get sucked in with all that "Hoo-hah" and concentrated on the football. In the last quarter we continued to pile on the goals.  Stu Atlier bagged his second, Terry Ferlazzo (2nd), Josh Sinni (his 4th), Tom Lucas (2nd) and a massive long range goal from Cameron "Plugger" Gardner soon after he was switched from full-forward to full-back was a highlight, as we ran out comfortable 80 point winners, and a good way to finish our season off on a high.

Congratulations to Tom Wilson.  100 games for any club is a great achievement.  To achieve that in a Junior Club is a phenomenal effort!!

So the season is now concluded.  4 wins from 13 games does not sound great on paper, but to win 4 out of the last 5 games was a massive effort from everyone involved.  It would've been easy at the half way point to say "Oh well….It just isn't our season" and not bother to turn up to training and let everything turn to dust.  However the coaches mapped out a course for the boys to follow. and to most of the boys credit it was followed.  That's not to "sugar coat it" and say that everyone adhered to team rules at all times.  Not everyone did, and some were not always willing to follow the path mapped out. Sometimes it felt like we took two steps forward and then one step back. The majority did the right thing, we continued to get decent enough numbers on the track for the most part, and the rewards came to those who were prepared to follow.

To Simon, a fantastic and committed effort all year! You should be proud of your efforts and in a couple of years time, I am sure you will get enormous satisfaction watching some of your charges running around in the Seniors at Mitcham.  To Eric for his dedication to managing the team, to Brian thank you for ably assisting on game day and managing the board, to our trainers Carmel and Sue thank you for always tending to the boys needs, to Peter our boundary umpire thank you, to all who goal umpired and to John and everyone else who officiated as Interchange Steward or Umpire Steward thank you and to Andrew, Al, Q and Lachie, a big thank you to running messages to our boys. Without all your efforts, the boys could not be the best they could be.

Finally to the team...I sincerely hope if you got anything out of the year, it is this……That ultimate success only comes to those who have prepared well.  The great Ivan Lendl (look him up if you don't know who he is!!) once said "You should never be nervous (heading into a Grand Slam Final) if you have given yourself every opportunity to be physically and mentally ready for the contest".

If you have decided you want to represent the Mitcham Football Club in Season 2014 make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to do so.  I would recommend you do the following:

1. Attend every pre-season session (do not turn up with one week before the season starts)

2. Handle a football as much as you can over summer;

3.  If you struggle to get motivated with fitness, grab some mates and form a running club

4. If you have problems running on hard surfaces do some cross training - boxing, swimming, cycling instead…..anything that keeps you away from your body jarring but will get you active and fit

5. Others I think need to spend some time getting stronger in their upper body strength as well as fitness work, so perhaps ask Mum and / or Dad if you can join a gym with a view to build some strength.  Or see if the club can let you into the club's gym (under supervision from a qualified instructor) and work out a program that will see you build some strength in your upper bodies.

I am none the wiser how the coaching personnel will line up for the U17s next season (that is for the Junior Committee to determine), but I can envisage that whoever is coach, the pre-season will have a heavy emphasis on Fitness, Skills and set-up drills.  So be prepared!! I also truly believe that with some of the U/15s coming up next season, that if the players stick together in this team, the U17s in Season 2014 (with a good pre-season under its belt) will be a very, very good team!!   One that I am genuine "excited" about its prospects. I wish you all the best. Both with your football and all your future endeavors.”

Final Score: Mitcham 15-11-101 d St. Simons 3.3-21

Goals: Sinni 4, Roddy 2, Ferlazzo 2, Atleir 2, Lucas 2, Gardner 1, Barro 1, Andrews 1

Best: Archibald, Sinni, Lucas, Ferlazzo, Barro, Keogh, Wilson


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