Un­der 14s make huge strides in 2018

Myrtleford Times - - Sport -

TEAM LEADER: Da­mon Har­ring­ton has been Myrtle­ford’s stand­out player in the un­der 14s this sea­son.

MYRTLE­FORD un­der 14s coach Si­mon Crisp says his team has im­proved in leaps and bounds in the space of 12 months, go­ing from just four wins in 2017 to a 17-0 record in 2018 with just the grand fi­nal left to play.

The Saints’ have been dom­i­nant all year and fin­ished the home and away sea­son with a daunt­ing per­cent­age of 502, but Crisp says player de­vel­op­ment at an im­por­tant age in an in­di­vid­ual’s foot­ball ca­reer has been key to the side’s suc­cess.

“It would be a good way to cap it off (a pre­mier­ship) but it’s not the be all and end all, the most im­por­tant thing is im­prov­ing the play­ers,” he said.

“We do a lot of ball work, on Thurs­day nights we solely fo­cus on the op­po­site side of the body and skill ori­en­tated stuff - the im­prove­ment has been un­be­liev­able right across the board.

“My big­gest goal is to get all the kids to im­prove, there’s no point go­ing on play­ing footy if you haven’t learnt how to kick and hand­ball.

“My main fo­cus is re­ally get­ting the kids to be­come the best foot­ballers they can.”

Satur­day’s match be­tween the Saints and Kan­ga­roos will be the ninth un­der 14 grand fi­nal Myrtle­ford has played in since join­ing the Wan­garatta and District Junior Foot­ball League with their first ap­pear­ance in the big dance com­ing in 2004.

The Saints qual­i­fied for the fi­nal game of the year in style with a 64-point semi-fi­nal vic­tory over Kan­ga­roos who won through to the de­cider by beat­ing Cen­trals in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

Liam Morgan bagged six goals and stand­out mid­fielder Da­mon Har­ring­ton did as he pleased in what was the Saints’ first mean­ing­ful game in a month af­ter wrap­ping up the mi­nor pre­mier­ship some week pri­ors.

“It is a bit of a bat­tle at times to stop them from go­ing through the mo­tions,” Crisp said.

“It’s such a long sea­son that drags on and we get a bit com­pla­cent at times, coaches as well, but the boys have been pretty switched on and fo­cussed on im­prov­ing as well as hav­ing fun.

“It’s been a good year, they have come a long way and played good footy,” he said.

“I knew we had a cou­ple of good play­ers, but I didn’t ex­pect it to be such a suc­cess­ful year, hope­fully we can cap it off.”

The un­der 14s grand fi­nal will get un­der­way at 12.15pm.

MYRTLE­FORD has scooped all but one ma­jor award in the Wan­garatta and District Junior Foot­ball League in 2018.

Young guns Ash­ton McPher­son and Da­mon Har­ring­ton capped off stun­ning in­di­vid­ual sea­sons by claim­ing league best and fairest awards at the league pre­sen­ta­tion on Mon­day night.

Saints play­ers also col­lected lead­ing goal kicker gongs with Ryler Bouker (U16), Liam Morgan (U14) and McPher­son (U12) all top­ping their re­spec­tive com­pe­ti­tions.

McPher­son won the Kevin Ma­honey Medal in a thrilling count with his 31 votes enough to edge out Wang Col­lege player Jez Rigoni.

The young Saint booted 33 goals and fea­tured among his team’s best in all but one game this sea­son.

McPher­son’s coach Rob Miotto said the co-cap­tain had led by ex­am­ple all sea­son.

“He has good skills and he plays the game tough, he runs re­ally hard and the rest of the team looks up to him as one of the lead­ers,” Miotto said.

“Ev­ery week he is in our top two play­ers, lead­ing by ex­am­ple as cap­tains do.”

In the un­der 14s count Har­ring­ton shared the Ken Far­rell Medal with Brodie Paul from Cen­trals as both play­ers polled 32 votes.

The skil­ful mid­fielder en­tered the count as one of the favourites given he was named Myrtle­ford’s best player a mas­sive eight times this sea­son.

Har­ring­ton’s re­cent form has been par­tic­u­larly sen­sa­tional with four best on grounds in a row and six BOG per­for­mances from his last seven matches.

Myrtle­ford un­der 14s coach Si­mon Crisp said Har­ring­ton was a plea­sure to coach.

“He is a very tal­ented young fella, he lis­tens, takes ev­ery­thing on board and is very good on both sides of his body,” he added.

In the un­der 16 league vote count the best placed Myrtle­ford player was Josh Mu­raca who fin­ished third be­hind Mans­field Ea­gles star Harry Ma­honey.

Bouker led the un­der 16s goal kick­ing with 75 ma­jors while tow­er­ing for­ward Liam Morgan topped the un­der 14s list with 43.

By TATE SPI­TERI By TATE SPI­TERI

PHOTO: Tate Spi­teri

TALL TAR­GETS: Ryler Bouker and Liam Morgan both had big years in front of goal of their sides.

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