Top-age Saints eye one more pre­mier­ship

Myrtleford Times - - Sport -

MR CON­SIS­TENT: Josh Mu­raca has en­joyed a fan­tas­tic sea­son which he and his team­mates will look to cap off on grand fi­nal day.

FIF­TEEN mem­bers of Myrtle­ford’s un­der 16 team will be out to end their junior foot­ball ca­reers with a pre­mier­ship when they take on Mans­field Ea­gles at the WJ Find­lay Oval this week­end.

The group that has al­ready won a pre­mier­ship to­gether (un­der 14s, 2016) and most will line up in their third grand fi­nal in four years, mak­ing this bunch of teenagers one of Myrtle­ford’s most tal­ented in club history.

The cur­rent cam­paign has been the group’s best ever as they went un­de­feated and com­pletely dom­i­nated the com­pe­ti­tion by av­er­ag­ing 173 points a game while con­ceded just 20 points a week dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The Saints had the com­pe­ti­tion’s three lead­ing goal kick­ers in Ry­ley Bouker (75 goals), De­clan Bren (69) and Do­minic Be­dendo (54) while Josh Mu­raca was fifth on the leader­board with 43 ma­jors.

Coach Paul Mu­raca said he was al­ways con­fi­dent his side would see some suc­cess this year af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth with just a hand­ful of top-age play­ers last sea­son.

“We have had six try out for Bushies (Mur­ray Bushrangers), seven play in the in­ter­league win­ning rep side and Ry­ley (Bouker) play a se­nior game which was a fan­tas­tic ef­fort,” Mu­raca said.

“The boys are well driven, and they love their foot­ball so they’re not hard to keep mo­ti­vated.”

The Saints were given a fright in their semi-fi­nal against this week­end’s op­po­nent, the Ea­gles, trail­ing at half­time be­fore go­ing on to record a 13-point win.

“It was a credit to Mans­field, they are a good side and we have had some fan­tas­tic bat­tles with them over the last four years,” Mu­raca said.

Bouker was closely marked on the day but was still the hero in the come from be­hind tri­umph, boot­ing five goals.

“Bouks al­ways brings his A game and he’s a very good kid, good to coach and is a true sports­man,” Mu­raca said.

“He got us over the line but Crispy (Char­lie Crisp) was re­ally good too and Will McKer­ral al­ways gives us first use (in the ruck).

“It would be very, very dis­ap­point­ing if we didn’t go on with it now, we have def­i­nitely done the work, train­ing since Fe­bru­ary and do­ing a lot of ex­tras.”

All 15 play­ers that will grad­u­ate from ju­niors are ex­pected to join the re­turn­ing un­der 18s team next year to be coached by se­nior club stal­wart Tris­tan Purss.

But their cur­rent coach be­lieves a num­ber of play­ers could push on to suit up in the af­ter­noon game on Ovens and Mur­ray match days.

“I hon­estly be­lieve we have four or five boys that could play se­nior foot­ball next sea­son if they put the work in, there is some re­ally good tal­ent there,” Mu­raca said.

Ry­ley Bouker kicked three goals and was among Myrtle­ford’s best in his one se­nior game this sea­son.

Satur­day’s WDJFL main game will be played at 2.30pm.

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