Former U19 Premiership Coach Ray Leetham again gives us his finals preview of U19 Premier, Section 2 and Section 3
The season is over and well done to those sides who made the final four. With great weather and top venues, get out and see some of the best under 19 footy in town. Check the VAFA website for venues.
MEGT U19 Premier
1st Semi Final – Old Xavierians v Beaumaris
Season results and performance say the Xavs have this one. They have been great and their form against St Kevins a couple of rounds ago suggest a big finals presence. They have been well served by Todd Vander Haar, Matt Hess, Oscar Silk and the “goal machine” Hannan. Beaumaris have had a good season but may find the Xavs far too strong in most departments. Coach Mick Carty may have a tough time matching the fast running Xav ‘s midfield as his whiteboard may be overheating with players being rotated. The key to this game is midfield action and the Xavs have more of it. Xavs Coach Peter Callnan is very confident due to recent great form.
It’s Xavs by 27 points plus.
2nd Semi Final St Bernards v St.Kevins
This is the game of the season so far! St Bernards are the benchmark of the competition but are concerned about St Kevins and the Xavs. Nothing in the finals race is a certainty! On paper the Bernards have the strength but St Kevins are on a mission. The Skobbers have great strength in Lewin, Massey, Doggett and Canterbury. Co coaches Tom Purcell and Tim Sim believe the team can go all the way.
The Bernards have a number of prime movers that include Sullivan, Sibbald, Carey, Woods and Hughes. Coach Rocky Iannello is confident but is taking this one game at a time. The problem for other sides is the second tier players at the Bernards are so strong. Selection from both camps will see a great sides hit the park at East Malvern on Sunday.
My head says St Bernards but I am going for an upset – St Kevins in a tight one!
Under 19 Section 2
1st Semi Final Old Trinity v Parkdale Vultues
What a season! After round 12 Fitzroy was a standout team but drifted out of the four, leaving a gap for Old Trinity and Parkdale.
This game is to be played on the best ground surface in the VAFA, the Daley Oval at Trinity. They train on the ground at times but don’t play a lot of matches on it so no real advantage. The wind usually favours the Marcellin end of the ground. This venue will suit both teams.
This is an open affair as Trinity’s form has been patchy over the last month whereas Parkdale have been solid. Trinity are well served around the ground by Joyce, Aikman, Roberts and Brown. Vultures Coach Luke Borella has done a great job this season. The Vultures core is led by Crowley, O’Leary, Dillon, Ballard and Everest. Old Trinity will have to shut down this group for any chance of a victory.
Old Trinity coach Beasley believes his side can go further this year and I think he is right. It’s Old Trinity in a tight one.
2nd Semi Final Whitefriars v University Blues
This game will be on a great surface at Whitefriars College with perfect weather. It will be a top contest.
These two sides are very strong and most probably will play in the grand final. Whitefriars are a team of runners with Malt, Mendes, Petts, Nisson and Gasowski.
The Blues have key players in Blakey, Curnow, Langley and Batarilo. If the Friars can’t hold these ball magnets the Blues will be home. On paper both teams look great, it’s on the day and who can step up and take control. They know each other well and it will be up to the coach who plays someone in a different role to create some spark in an otherwise very equal contest. It’s a road trip for the Blues but I think they are up to it.
Blues for me by 15 plus points.
Under 19 Section 3
1st Semi Final Old Carey v Marcellin
Old Carey hold the cards in this one. Marcellin have shown some form during the season but they just don’t have the strength across the board. The game is at Carey but they play on another ground so no real advantage. On the other hand Marcellin will be suited with the open space. Old Carey coach Michael Tarrant is confident while the Marcellin coaching staff will look to get the best from their core group.
Old Carey to progress to the Prelim final.
2nd Semi Final Old Ivanhoe v Williamstown CYMS
These two sides have been the form sides all season. I think this is the grand final teams. Who will win? Old Ivanhoe are always hard at the ball and hard at the contest, whereas Williamstown play a different style of football. Williamstown has a huge playing list and coach Con Terzoglou has a side that gives everything, but is it enough?
Old Ivanhoe’s Coach Brad Shadbolt feels his side has done everything right and are trained for the day. The home ground is an advantage in this one.
Ivanhoe too strong and will win.