Un­der 12s se­cure sole flag

Myrtleford Times - - Myrtleford Savoy -

MYRTLE­FORD’S hopes of triple pre­mier­ship glory were de­nied on the fi­nal day of the Wan­garatta and District Ju­nior Foot­ball League sea­son with the Saints com­ing away with just one flag.

The Saints’ un­der 12s got the day off to the per­fect start with a sev­en­point grand fi­nal tri­umph but the it wasn’t to be for the club’s un­der 14 and un­der 16 teams who lost for the first time in 2018.

In claim­ing their sec­ond pre­mier­ship in three years the un­der 12s over­came a slow start and made up for last year’s grand fi­nal loss by record­ing a 5.5 (35) to 4.4 (28) win in Satur­day’s de­cider against Ju­nior Mag­pies.

The Saints found them­selves 13 points down at the first break af­ter fail­ing to score in the open­ing term but bounced back to level scores at 14-apiece at the long break.

An­other two goals in the third gave them a seven-point buf­fer ahead of the last be­fore a fifth goal half­way through the fi­nal quar­ter se­cured vic­tory for Myrtle­ford’s youngest foot­ballers.

Coach Rob Miotto said he al­ways ex­pected a close game against Ju­nior Mag­pies who in­flicted the only loss on his side in round 15.

“The last game we played them (the semi-fi­nal) they pushed us so we knew it was go­ing to be a tough con­test,” he said

“The fact that we had only played once in three weeks and they had played all the way through was some­thing I thought might im­pact us as well, but the boys and girls did re­ally well.

“At quar­ter time I just said to them to stick to our game plan, keep putting the pres­sure on, at­tack­ing the ball and putting in sec­ond and third ef­forts.

“They kicked two goals in the next quar­ter which we set as a tar­get and kept work­ing, it was ba­si­cally goal for goal from there.

“Ferghus Jones, Ash­ton McPher­son and Lach­lan Miotto re­ally stood up along with Will Dood­e­waard and I think big credit goes to our back­line, they stuck to their task and were tight and all day.

“It’s been a plea­sure to coach the kids and great to see their com­mit­ment to the year re­warded, the top age play­ers were es­pe­cially rapt af­ter los­ing last year.”

In the un­der 14 con­test be­tween Myrtle­ford and Kan­ga­roos the Saints looked like they might run WIN­NERS: Myrtle­ford’s un­der 12 team cel­e­brates their pre­mier­ship win over Ju­nior Mag­pies on Satur­day. UN­DER PRES­SURE: Ry­ley McGil­livray gets his kick away dur­ing the un­der 14 grand fi­nal against Kan­ga­roos. away with match in sim­i­lar fash­ion to when the two met in the semi­fi­nal a cou­ple of weeks prior.

The play of Ri­ley McGil­livray, Levi Young and Tom Cap­pel­lari had the Saints out by 21 points at the half, but their goal kick­ing would ul­ti­mately come back to bite them.

The Saints kicked 5.10 in the first half and when Kan­ga­roos came at them hard in the third and took their chances in front of goal with four straight ma­jors to Myrtle­ford’s four be­hinds the mar­gin was cut to just one point.

Also af­fected by the loss of key de­fender Jack­son Masin who left the ground af­ter be­ing con­cussed in the third quar­ter, Kan­ga­roos took the lead half­way through the fi­nal term and de­spite a third goal from Liam Mor­gan the Saints were un­able to claw their way back, the fi­nal score 6.16 (52) to 9.5 (59).

Hav­ing come from be­hind to book their place in the grand fi­nal, Myrtle­ford was again made to play catch up against Mans­field who jumped out of the blocks in Satur­day’s un­der 16 de­cider.

Ry­ley Bouker, the league’s lead­ing goal scorer, was sen­sa­tional for the Saints bag­ging eight goals with his early ef­forts keep­ing his side in the match be­fore later putting them up.

Af­ter trail­ing 13-26 at quar­ter time the Saints cut the deficit to two points at half­time and then took a one-point ad­van­tage into the fi­nal quar­ter as Josh Mu­raca, De­clan Bren and Alex Ivone fought tire­lessly.

Need­ing the first score of the last term Bouker goaled in the open­ing min­utes to con­tinue his out­stand­ing game but Mans­field would nail three of the fi­nal five ma­jors to deny the Saints 10.6 (66) to 9.14 (68).

De­spite com­ing home with just one pre­mier­ship Myrtle­ford Ju­nior Foot­ball Club pres­i­dent Craig McKer­ral said it was highly suc­cess­ful year.

“The un­der 12s were bril­liant and it was great for our youngest team and a new bunch of kids to come in and do what they did,” he said.

“For the un­der 14s to come from where they were last year was an out­stand­ing ef­fort and although the un­der 16 boys would have liked to have gone out with a bang that group’s been suc­cess­ful in the past.” PHOTO: Cam Pot­ter STAR EF­FORT: Ry­ley Bouker kicks one of his eight goals for Myrtle­ford in its un­der 16 loss to Mans­field. PHOTOS: Justin Jenvey PACE TO BURN: Dom Be­dendo breaks away from his op­po­nent.

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