Saturday’s U19s Grand Final was the final game of the 2023 season for the BFC.
Fortunately, we finished on a high, winning the VAFA Under19s Division 1 premiership. The setting for finals football was perfect at Elsternwick Park. It was brilliant early spring day and the playing surface could not have been better.
Our opponents, Old Trinity, were consistently the best other side in the comp, so it was fitting the two clubs were pitched against each other in the GF.
It was a tremendous contest, every time we got out to a 2 or 3 goal lead, the Tee’s would claw their way back. At half time there was only 2 points in it, however a strong 3rd quarter set up the win, more so by field dominance than score board impact. A brilliant tight angle goal by Charlie Bruce seemed to lift the boys after a couple of close misses in the early part of the 3rd Qtr. Then a couple of important moves by coach Justin Wilson, lifted the momentum. He shifted Luka Pecer from defence to the forward line and Charlie Wilce went the other way. Both players made an immediate impact. Luka kicked 2 vital goals while Charlie’s final quarter was inspirational down back. He was well supported in defence by Tom O’Rourke and Petar Pecar.
Both teams kicked 4 goals in the 4th, with the Tee’s kicking the final two in extra time. In the end the margin was too great to overcome, our boys prevailing by 17 points.
The game’s leading goal kicker was Jett Buttler who has claw like hands and is a long straight kick. One of his four goals was a booming kick from outside the arc. Other multiple goal kickers were Wilce (2) and Nate Dear (2).
The tireless Spencer McLennan won the medal for ‘Best on Ground’ as judged by the umpires. Other outstanding players included the previously mentioned Wilce, Bruce, O’Rourke, Petar Pecer, Dear and Butler as well as Jacob Farrow and Mitch Rowe.
Both teams, the BFC and Old Trinity, will now progress to U19s Premier next season. Importantly, a significant number of our players from both U19s teams will still be eligible to play U19s next year. This, coupled with a premiership by our strong U17.5 Boys team this season, should give us two well equipped teams to face the challenge of Premier grade footy.
But Saturday was all about winning a well-deserved premiership and despite some close games in recent years, the club’s last U19s Premiership was back in 2008, won by a team that included current committeeman and 3-time club Champion Matt Petering and Mick De Fontenay who generously gave his time to work the bar yesterday. That team was coached by non-other than current Senior Head Coach Josh Bourke. It’s a small Sharks world.
Well done to Justin and his awesome group of assistant coaches. Special mention to the U19s Co-ordinator Lee Young who has worked so hard for this whole age group, starting in the pre-season in November.
And finally, to the players, this is your premiership and congrats to all 40 plus boys who played in this team during the season.
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