The Mitcham Junior Football Club had three teams participating in Elimination Finals over the weekend, which was a fantastic effort. Unfortunately the day was not a good one as all three teams went down to better teams on the day.
The Under 11’s kicked the day off up at Batterham Reserve where they took on Glen Waverley, a team that they drew with during the regular home and away season. Team Manager Geoff Jones sent in this report – “At the beginning of the season it was agreed as a group, to achieve some important goals. These were to play in the finals and have fun. The boys (and Riley) can feel proud of their season. They genuinely play together as a team, which supports and encourages the efforts of all who play. They play for each other and despite the weekends’ loss; the spirits remained upbeat in the rooms after the game as everyone looks forward to doing even better next year. In terms of how the elimination final was played, well the game was a real arm wrestle in the first half. Blake kicked our first goal after taking a contested mark from a penetrating kick from Riley Holloway. Glen Waverley kept responding, continuing to keep the pressure on us. Jamie provided another quick answer to a Glen Waverley goal in the 2nd quarter after taking a slick handpass from Cal. The margin was 2 points at half time; reminding us that once again we could draw with this team. Although outplayed in the 3rd quarter, the game was not over as we had not let Glen Waverley completely run away with it. Alex’s first goal for the season came at the right time to lift our team and give them the belief that we could win it. Unfortunately Glen Waverley also lifted and put the game out of reach. At the end of the day we can say that we saw an exciting game of football, where everyone contributed his or her best. A lot of commitment, emotion and passion goes into the building of this team each week from the coaching staff. I think it is fair to say the growth in the players’ maturity and knowledge for football has been outstanding. Congratulations to our Captain Jamie and his deputies, Patrick and Theo for helping to maintain the season expectations set at the start of the season.”
Final Score: Glen Waverley 8.3.51 d Mitcham 3.2.20
The Under 14’s season too came to a halt after going down a determined Basin team at Donvale Reserve. Cam’s boys have had a terrific season overall but unfortunately had injuries to key players in the lead up to the finals which saw them lose the double chance that they had fought so hard for. That said, every team has to field a team and every team has injuries so it is not an excuse for what happened on Sunday. Expectations were high going into this game and apart from the “bog-hole” in the middle of Donvale Reserve, conditions were good and in bright sunshine. Kicking with the aid of the wind, our boys did not make the most of opportunities, while The Basin made the most of theirs and did a great job kicking into the wind, scoring two goals themselves. From there on, it was catch up football for our boys who didn’t seem to show the same desperation and attack on the ball as their opponents. The boys tried hard to get back into the game and got to within 7 points at the ¾ time break, but having to kick into the wind in the final quarter made things very tough from there. Full credit to The Basin who eventually went on to win by 23 points! The boys were very disappointed at the end of the game and the hurt will drive them over the summer. For a lot of these boys it was their first taste of finals football since losing a Grand Final in Under 11’s. To Coach Cam Chivers and his team, we say a big thank you for all the work they put in during the season. Cam announced to everyone at the completion of the game that he would not be going on with coaching next season. The club wishes him all the very best and thanks him for the time and commitment he has put in with these boys over a number of seasons. Well-done Cam!
Final Score: The Basin 10.8.68 d Mitcham 7.3.45
The Under 17’s, like the under 14’s, played an elimination final at Donvale, all be it against different opposition in Vermont. After an earlier meeting in the year where the Eagles beat the 17’s by 8 points after we gave them a 5 goal head start, this game had a similar feel, and after being down by 6 goals at one stage the Mitcham boys eventually lost by 10 points. Coach Gavin Ward had this to say after the game – “Never easy for the boys losing a final but that’s footy and it certainly is character building. The bottom line is you can’t afford to give teams a head start and reel them in! That said, the boys were gallant in defeat and I couldn’t be prouder of the lads. Not only have they all come along in leaps and bounds as a team but they have also matured into fine young men.”
Gavin also announced after the game that he won’t be going on as coach in 2015, apart from a very successful 3 years with these boys having played finals every year including a premiership in 2012. Gavin in his role as coach’s coordinator has proved to be a driving force behind the way the club goes about its business today. He has a genuine love of the club and with his infectious enthusiasm and high level of professionalism he has set the bar very high for all the MJFC coaches to follow
Final Score: Vermont 5.12.42 d Mitcham 5.2.32
Thank you to everyone who went out and supported all three teams. The Under 14’s and 17’s were lucky to be playing together at Donvale and it helped keep a tiger army together for the afternoon. It was also great to see so many senior players and committee members in attendance. The Junior Club will give that support back over the coming weeks!
A huge thank you to all our teams and in particular the volunteers. Our coaches, team managers, runners and trainers have gone beyond the call of duty throughout the season and we should all be so proud of the way they have presented themselves and worked so hard to make this such a fantastic place for our kids to learn and play this great game. We also thank our photographers who took the photos throughout the season and put them up on our facebook page so that we could select some to go up with our website stories. Thanks Graham Bradtke, Bec Clarke, Paul O'Sullivan and Luke Smith!