As we approach the final round of the 2023 season, we begin to reflect on what has been a fantastic year for the Under 19 Premier section. The sheer competitiveness and advanced skill level of this division is a promising sign for the VAFA in the years to come.
Williamstown dismantled an in-form Caulfield in arguably their most important match of the season. The CYs now sit in fifth and are praying for a finals berth in 2023. SBMT managed to keep their streak alive, compiling their seventh straight win in a solid performance against De La Salle. St Kevin’s outclassed the Xavs in a terrific outing. SKOB are indisputably the premiership favourites heading into the 18th and final hole of the 2023 season.
Old Brighton def. Old Scotch by 41 points.
A really proud showing from Brighton at home allowed them to secure their 7th win of the season. Unfortunately, they’ve tapered below their expectations for this season, but this win will instil some confidence heading into the offseason. Scotch remains out of finals contention and will be similarly disappointed how this season turned out. Early on they showed tremendous promise and potential and will be looking to regain those signs for 2024.
The young Brighton side simply clicked last Saturday morning. They moved the ball with confidence and at times looked far superior to a team sitting 8th on the ladder. They’re a talented outfit but will need to make some changes in the summer to bounce back in 2024. J. Campigli slotted 3 in a superb performance. He has been their most consistent contributor this season.
Scotch struggled to match Brighton’s pace and only accumulated 1.2 in the first half. They entered half time by a deficit of 48 points and were unable to recover. R. Beckworth, J. Harker, C. Ferguson, J. Gale, H. Byrne-Jones & A. Symons were the best afield for Old Scotch.
Old Brighton travel to Essendon to face St Bernards in their last match of the year. Old Scotch will host SKOB.
University Blues def. St Bernards by 78 points.
It was a tremendously high scoring game at Crawford Oval on Saturday. 152 – 74 read the final score as Uni comprehensively defeated the last-placed St Bernards. St Bernards hung with the superior Uni for much of the first half but were swept off their feet when the home side produced a 101-point second half.
University Blues will just miss finals in 2023 but have shown moments of magnificent talent. A. Dowsley’s monster season continued with a superb 10 goal haul. He has skyrocketed to the top of the league in goal kicking after SBMT’s J. Behnk was seemingly pulled from his U19 side to play seniors. Dowsley has been a pillar in all of Uni’s important victories this season.
St Bernards faded away after a promising first half. Their scoring was impressive in this matchup, but their defensive capabilities need to be questioned heading into the offseason. J. Maddox was clearly their best afield with 5 important goals.
Uni will travel to Kew to face the Xavs. St Bernards will conclude a forgettable season against Old Brighton.
Old Xaverians def by. St Kevin’s by 27 points.
The SKOBs have made an absolute statement on the eve of finals; they are all in. They travelled to the Kew fortress in hopes of dethroning the 2022 premiers, and they did just that. The Xavs still sit comfortably in 3rd but may have some doubts enter their minds after this performance.
St Kevin’s led for the duration of the contest and played a game style which teams have been rarely able to match this season. Their ball movement and efficiency borders on elite and this contest illustrated that. W. Pfeiffer, O. Gill & J. Romanin combined for 8 spectacular majors.
The Xavs will face University Blues in R18. SKOB will head to Camberwell to face Old Scotch.
De La Salle def. St Bedes/Mentone Tigers by 18 points.
SBMT propelled their winning streak out to seven in a row on the weekend. A 3-goal win last Saturday has them essentially locked in for a finals berth in 2023. An impressive feat for a team who haven’t featured in U19 Premier for a number of years. De La won’t quite get there this year but have been competitive from start to finish this season.
It was a tightly contested game in parts. De La hung onto St. Bedes’ collar for the duration but just couldn’t pounce on the lead. J. Stewart, S. Cross, M. Miller, K. Rossiter, J. Torey-Toth & E. Macbeth were De La’s best in a tough loss.
St Bedes enter the finals possessing tremendous depth in their list and have illustrated that at points during the year. Their ball movement by foot was very impressive on a sparce ground like Waverly Oval. S. Buck kicked two and is a handy inclusion heading into the finals. He has spent much of the year with the Sandringham Dragons. J. Ryder was also impressive, showcasing his gut running and ball winning abilities.
SBMT will play Caulfield in R18. De La will travel to Williamstown.
Caulfield Grammarians def by. Williamstown by 9 points.
A terrific match at Glen Huntly oval saw the CYs snatch away Caulfield’s dominant winning streak. A composed last quarter by Williamstown defence led the charge in securing the victory. Caulfield could only manage 2 points in the final term.
The second half of Caulfield’s season has been electrifying. Though dropping an important match like this on the eve of finals may come with dire consequences. The CGs struggled to convert up forward and may need to rethink some of their structures. J. Iverson, Z. Fraser, O. Sail, H. Short, O. Ruddock & C. Cooke were all commendable in a tight loss.
The CYs now sit in 5th and can smell the scent of finals. They’ll need results to go their way but have had a good season, nonetheless. This win speaks of their character and talent across every line. The consistent core of N. Sayers, A. Martinez, Z. Provest, T. Assafiri, C. Oldham & A. Fernandes were sublime in an amazing win.
Caulfield face an inform SBMT this weekend. The CYs go up against De La Salle.