U17 Div 2 Premiership Champions

Coach – Max Friend

The boys finished of a spectacular season by immortalising themselves in the Greater Sydney Juniors Hall of Fame as Div 2 Premiers. The Sharks were spirited at best in their attack to stop the Greyhound race for the flag, but lacked the killer instinct required to overcome the dominant display the Greyhounds had on show.

After a stellar season and taking out the minor premiership, crunch day had finally arrived, you could sense the nerves in the air and cut the tension with a knife.

After the boys finished their nervous wee before the game, we were straight on task playing with the same intensity and attack on the ball everyone has become so accustomed to over the year. A good example of this intensity was Connor and Skrab. Some players rise to the occasion of a grand final while others bring the occasion. The midfielders certainly brought it providing their trade mark don’t mess with me style of play.

The backline followed this lead hitting the ball and opposition players hard. Aidan, Jacob, Blake all took significant hits for their desperation that made me think that a career in roller derby may be a better career path than football. We were clearing the ball well out of our backline with some good delivery but would break down across the middle of the ground trying to be too cute with the ball and not being accustomed to the new levels of pressure.

However, when we did get the ball into our forward line, we were dangerous and turned up the pressure significantly on the Cronulla defence. Our forwards looked hungry for the ball. Oscar, Bulldog and Alex were all finding plenty of the ball but struggled to get some clear shots due to the increased pressure of the game. Charlie was also working hard up and down the ground and was getting plenty of possessions through the middle of the ground. Henry played a similar role proving to be our most dangerous “go to” target as he monstered every contest and worked hard up and down the ground.

Our inaccuracy in front of goal let Cronulla use their biggest asset, their ability to move the ball quickly out of their backline with some speedy runners. This meant that the ball was fired out quickly and the Sharks would quickly swim up ground and return the favour and put us under the pump.

The game was a constant arm wrestle and every time we had our foot on their throats ready for the kill, they seemed to claw their way back from the dead and keep within striking range. Around the ground, Max was instrumental, coming on in bursts and making his presence felt whilst “making things happen” whenever the ball went near him. Finn was hard as nails and Rowdy showed his class and football nous working his way out of traffic, winning plenty of clearances.

At times our skills let us down but our ability to win the contested ball with our hard nosed attack at the contest was once again the difference between the two teams.

The enormous jump in the game’s intensity, the size of the ground and the boys’ willingness to put in the hard yards up and down left them running out the game with more miles in their legs than Cliffy Young. This clearly showed as our hard working midfielders Skrab and Connor began to tire. After injecting some fresh…er legs into the middle with JD, Will and having lots of changes on the wings with Joel, Finn and Max, the game turned back into our control. An excellent third quarter goal by Max spurred the boys to pile on goal after goal with efficient precision lifting the morale of the team and setting us up for a safe lead into the last quarter.

However, this did not stop Cronulla as they decided to fight until the very end. The boys were pushing through cramps and working hard for each other. Although a healthy lead was severely diminished by the time of the siren, we held out to claim our rightful crown as premiers for 2014!

Goals: 2 O Gibbins, 1 R Friend, 1 M Drew, 1 H Harvey, 1 C Miller, 1 H Lamshed, 1 C Morgan, 1 F Potter Best: W Gowers, S Clark, C Miller, H Lamshed, R Friend, J Stapleton
Best on Ground in Grand Final: W Gowers
The Joseph Britton Heart and Soul Award: H Lamshed

Play of the Day: Max Drew’s game changing goal to lift the team after being on the receiving end of a few successive Cronulla goals.