Under 12s secure sole flag
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.