The Mitcham Junior Football Club teams were involved in Round 14 action over the weekend just gone. Yes the “Home and Away” rounds are complete and unfortunately for some of our teams, the season has ended. The Under 9’s traveled to Eastfield Park to take on Croydon for their final game of the season and Coach Carlo Fanfulla spoke with pride when he had this to say - “We have certainly come a long way since our first practice match at the beginning of the year. Though the wins never came our way, the boys have gained experience and knowledge of what it takes to be part of a team that will make them stronger going into next year. I’m proud of the competitiveness our boys showed this year against other teams with much more experience than us. This season certainly provided us with plenty of highlights and it is extremely satisfying to see how much our boys have developed. It was great to see a full list of all our 24 players take part in our last game, which was captained by Jok Chol who has shown so much improvement himself throughout the year. The MJFC ‘Players of the Day’ footballs ere awarded to Alexi Hopkins, Charlie Webb, Sam Atherton and Jacoby Thompson. Well done boys.”
The Under 10’s played Knox at home and Coach Jason Philactides sent in this report – “WOW! What a season and nothing better than a nail biter to finish off the year! Last time we played Knox we had a last quarter burst that got us over the line so I knew today's game was probably going to be another close one. The game started relatively even with some nice passages of play from both teams however early on we struggled to compete in the air with Knox's much taller players. Our boys adapted with some lovely linking handballs and long kicks that provided some fantastic pieces of play and inevitably resulted in our first goal being scored. From that point on we controlled the remainder of the quarter to have a 7 point lead at the break. The second quarter was much like the first with some dominant individual performances from Sasha, who seemed to be everywhere, Jasper who was having his best game for the year getting plenty of the footy and little Nicko and Dan T were busting through the packs and providing our trademark run and carry. The second half became a very tense affair! Knox was coming and pushing hard scoring their first goal and they continued to pepper the big sticks but our back line stood up and defended like veterans of the game. At one stage Harry stopped a certain goal with an individual piece of brilliance by attacking the ball and beating 3 Knox opponents to put the ball in a safe zone. Then in the last quarter we were saved by Preston who was also out numbered but put his body on the line to win the contested footy not once but twice in the matter of seconds. This gave our boys enough time to get back and help support him...It was a match winning play right there that gave us a well deserved 2 point win! Wins like today could not be possible without a tough bunch of little footballers (trust me they've tested my patience a few times but overall I wouldn't change a thing). The past 18 weeks has been really rewarding for me to watch how much they have improved. Thanks to Paul Goldsmith for supporting me, helping with training and being a trusted sounding board. Thanks to my TM Annette for the smooth running and management of the team. I never had to worry about what was happening off the field. Thanks to ‘Team Cavicchia'; Rob the runner and Jodie the medic for their support and for the laughs and passion on the sidelines. Thanks to Adam for being a reliable and 'don't mess with' umpires escort. Thanks also to Glenn and Nicole for their support. Whether it was supplying oranges or getting the pads on the goal posts you both worked tirelessly not just for our team but the club as a whole! Lastly thanks to the parents for being proud and passionate supporting all the kids in the team and for making my job so much easier by getting the kids to training and games on time! The football awards today went to Jasper, Preston and Sasha for their outstanding performances. Congrats to Jack for putting in a great captains game and leading from the front. Bring on 2015!”
The Under 11’s travelled down the highway to take on Chirnside Park, well aware of the opportunity to secure 3rd place on the ladder if they could get over the line. Team Manager Geoff Jones had this to say - “The team played with spirit and did their best in quite muddy conditions. It was quite an arm wrestle all day with the Tigers keeping the Panthers at bay for a lot of the game. At ¾ time the team was pumped as they had kept Chirnside scoreless during the third term and came close to scoring a few times themselves. Everyone was positive at the break and definitely thought the game was winnable from there. It would however require the best quarter of football this team has played to date and of course just a hint of good fortune. Unfortunately for Mitcham, the opposition were able to put together a strong finish themselves to win quite convincingly in the end. The upside is that our side has reached the finals in its first competitive season, and will be a real chance in the elimination final next week.”
Final Score: Chirnside Park 6.9.45 d Mitcham 0.3.3
The Under 12’s took on Wantirna South at home and Coach Marcus Webb had this to say - “Like much of the season we were very good in the first quarter and this time we got the score on the board. Wantirna ate into our lead in the second quarter, and it was disappointing when they scored a goal in the dying seconds to go into the long break with some confidence. Once Wantirna took the lead in the third we were unable to get it back. However it was a really good, close game and one of our best for the season. Luke, Corey, Michael and Ryan were all terrific early, running hard to make space, moving the ball well and still being accountable. Nathan managed to cap off some good work to get a goal and Luke B managed another. Michael also showed great timing to run by and snag a goal on the run. Matt was good all day up forward with limited opportunities despite not getting a goal. Unfortunately Luke B was injured just before the half-time siren and would play no further part in the game - it has been that sort of a season! The defense was up for the challenge on the day with Danny again a stand out at full back and well supported by Julian. The ball movement was excellent at times, so too some of the individual work - like Michael’s run into the forward line, Corey’s chase down tackle in the goal square to stop a certain goal and a couple of Danny’s marks. Bailey and Elijah both went well in the ruck contests and Bailey was also good around the ground. A lot of the boys did good things - Noah’s attack on the footy was great and his second efforts were important. Kyle also had a terrific last quarter. Luke Smith made some good hard tackles and Harry was busy as always through the middle. In the end it was a game the boys should be proud of. They were hard at the ball and the man, more consistent with their ball movement and as a team showed what we all knew - they can be a very good team. Well-done boys! Hopefully all the boys will be back next year to keep up the improvement. Go tigers!”
Final Score: Wantirna South 4.5.29 d Mitcham 3.3.21
The Under 14’s were at home to Chirnside Park and Coach Cam Chivers sent in this report – “The last game of the ‘Home and Away” rounds was a game that could see us jumping into 3rd and seal a double chance or we could remain 4th and play an elimination final next week. It has been well documented that we are missing some key players but I thought yesterday that we had a few players who stood up and wanted to show what they have to offer come finals time. The game started scrappy as we expected and finished the same way. Unfortunately for us we couldn't get the choccies on the day, but it was a good hit out going into the final at Donvale next Sunday. The boys are going to have to put it all on the line at training this week as we hope to regain 3-4 players from injury so there may be 1-2 unlucky players who will miss out on playing in a final. As a coach, it is a very tough thing to tell a player he is going to miss out. As a team we will work hard on improving our ball handling during the week and look forward to the challenge next weekend!” Congratulations to Zac Horsey on playing his 100th game!
Final Score: Chirnside Park 5.12.42 d Mitcham 3.5.23
The Under 17’s played somewhat of a dead rubber this week against the top of the table Lilydale at Lilydale (again!) with neither team’s ladder position affected by the result. With both teams missing some players, Lilydale showed why they are the team to beat in Under 17C this year with a 6 goal victory. Coach Gavin Ward had this to say after the game - “It was a team goal at the beginning of the season to make finals so from that point of view we have ticked that box. I still firmly believe we haven’t seen the best from this group of boys yet and I am pretty sure we will put out an almost full strength team next week, which should be interesting. From today’s game point of view, I thought we played some reasonable footy in patches, but there’s a reason they are on top of the ladder; they are a good team and you can’t take that away from them.
That said, we as a coaching staff will continue to develop our players in an environment that teaches respect, humility and integrity. That’s the way we want our players to play - Hard, fair and within the spirit of the game. Whacking blokes or over the top celebrations is not something we encourage or tolerate with in our team or club for that matter1”
Final Score Lilydale 11.9.75 d Mitcham 5.2.32