by Phil Skeggs
Ivanhoe Amateurs are celebrating the club’s first premiership since 1987 after the under 19s defeated St Bernard’s for the U19 North Section flag at Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham, on Sunday.
The Hoes led throughout in a pressure-packed, physical contest to win by 35 points, 7.14 (56) to St Bernards 2.9 (21).
Goals were at a premium in the face of tough defence by both teams – St Bernards didn’t score their first major until midway into the third term.
Jake Scardamaglia was the only multiple goalscorer with three for the Hoes, which was impressive given he was red-carded late in the second term and sent off for 12 minutes.
Hoes captain Danny Jones capped off a brilliant season by collecting the Peter Harris Medal for best player in the grand final.
The tough on baller featured in a three-way tie for the competition best-and-fairest last week, but the VAFA later announced there had been a voting anomaly and put the result on hold while an investigation is carried out.
Ivanhoe had six players in the top 10 in the U19 North competition best-and-fairest and Jones polled 14 votes in 13 games. He also played five senior games during the season.
The Hoes, coached by Bill Emerson and Leighton Pearce, were favourites to win the flag, finishing minor premiers with just one loss early in the season.
But no one at Ivanhoe Park was complacent going into the weekend, given that the club’s last premiership season was in 1987 when under 19s and reserves won flags.
Ivanhoe’s reserves lost the Division 2 Grand Final by 28 points to St Mary’s Salesian at Casey Fields on Saturday.
The club’s seniors narrowly missed out on a top four spot after a draw with eventual Division 2 premiers Kew late in the season.
Club officials are confident the under 19s premiership will be major boost for the senior team, with up to a dozen players progressing into open age ranks next season.