BY DYLAN BOLCH
Round 7 of the South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) season saw SMJFL kids return to football after a brief pause in the season due to the latest Victorian COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s the Round 7 Monday Monash Review.
Under 17 ½ Boys Division 1 – U17 SPMJFC SPJFC Xav’s Central Saints vs Bentleigh JFC
The Central Saints sit atop the Under 17 Boys Division 1 ladder following an emphatic 97-point victory over Bentleigh (17.13-115 to 2.6-18). The Saints blew the game apart early in the match, with a six-goals-to-one opening term setting the standard early. Christopher Rousakis was a force to be reckoned with in front of goal for the Saints, booting seven goals. Rousakis’ stellar Round 7 performance takes his season tally to 17 goals, which places him atop the Division 1 goalkicking charts. Teammate Felix Dover also impressed with three majors whilst fellow Saint Nathan Scollo kicked two goals. Scollo has been the picture of consistency in 2021, kicking one or more goals in each contest so far this season. Across the field, Anthony Liakakos and Charles Parkin each kicked a goal for Bentleigh. The Saints will next face Mordi Brae in Round 8, and Bentleigh will take on Beaumaris.
Under 17 ½ Boys Division 1 – PMSMD U17 ½ Boys Div 1 vs East Sandringham Rovers
PMSMD secured a come-from-behind 17-point victory over the East Sandringham Rovers on Sunday (7.19-61 to 6.8-44). PMSMD had a wobbly first half in front of goal which allowed the Rovers to take a 13-point lead into half time. The PMSMD troops used the momentum to rally in the second half to overcome the deficit and secure victory. Will Dean was red-hot in front of goal for PMSMD, securing two majors. Both teams now sit in the top four of the Division 1 ladder, with PMSMD placed fourth and the Rovers now second.
The Rovers put up a fight, with Sam Marshall kicking five goals following a bag of three last week. Marshall has formed a dangerous trio alongside Hugo Garrow and Oliver Horigan, who have kicked nine goals and eight goals respectively so far this season, proving a handful for opposition defences. Cooper Hollway and Mitchell Geraerts have been the most dangerous in front of goal for PMSMD with seven goals apiece. After the holiday break, PMSMD are scheduled to play St Kilda City in Round 8 whilst the Rovers are pencilled in for a bye.
Under 17 ½ Boys Division 2 – St Bedes / Mentone Tigers U17 Div 2 vs Ajax Under 17 Comets
The Tigers and Comets played out a thriller at Mentone Reserve, with the Tigers prevailing by three points, the product of a last-minute bid after the final siren (10.7-67 to 9.10-64).
The Tigers and Comets were neck-and-neck all day, with both teams proving their colours. The Tigers’ grit and determination was on show in the final quarter, as they were able to kick four goals in the last quarter to overrun the Comets – with one goal booted through after the siren. The Tigers’ front-line was in fine form thanks to Harvey Gleeson (four goals) and Andreas Stefanakis (three goals). Stefanakis’ recent form has seen him shoot to the top of the goalkicking charts in Division 2 as he continues to play a major role in the Tigers’ solid start to the season.
Ajax can be credited for their efforts in front of goal, with Remy Spicer kicking two for the red, white and black. This game epitomised the closeness of the Division 2 competition and there are sure to be more nail-biting contests as the season progresses. Looking to Round 8, the Tigers will play the Caulfield Bears and the Comets will take on Murrumbeena.
Under 17 ½ Boys Division 2 – Caulfield Bears JFC U17 vs Cheltenham JFC U17 Boys
The Caulfield Bears held off a fast-finishing Cheltenham Panthers to record a seven-point victory (7.14-56 to 7.7-49). The Panthers were agonisingly close to securing victory, booting four goals in the final term. Max Davis continued his solid 2021 campaign with a haul of three majors. Davis has averaged three goals a game over the last few rounds and has been a major threat around goal for the Panthers. The Bears’ victory was a true team effort, with seven individual goalkickers securing their stance on the scoreboard. The Bears will be looking to make two wins from two matches when they take on St Bedes / Mentone in Round 8, whilst Cheltenham will resume their campaign against Dingley.
Under 17 ½ Boys Division 3 – Highett under 17 vs Ashwood JFC
Highett overcame Ashwood in a tough contest at Highett Reserve on Sunday to record an 11-point win (6.17-53 to 5.12-). Thomas Murphy (Highett), Liam Fish (Ashwood) and Luca Hill (Ashwood) all kicked two goals apiece for their respective sides. Highett’s Damon O’Shea continued his stellar 2021 campaign and was recognised by Highett one of five players best on ground for his fourth consecutive match. Ashwood will look for redemption when they take on the East Sandringham Rovers in Round 8 whilst Highett will take on the Waverley Park Hawks.
Under 18 Girls Division 1 – East Sandringham JFC vs St Kilda City JFC Inc.
The East Sandringham Zebras reaffirmed their position as ladder-leaders of the Under 18 Girls Division 1 with an 134-point victory over St Kilda City (20.21-141 to 1.1-7). The Zebras have combined offence and defence to great effect so far this season, proving to be a largely impenetrable side in each contest. Mia Zielinski continued her elite start to the season with a league-high nine goals. Zielinski’s impressive form has not gone unnoticed, her form being rewarded with the opportunity to represent the Sandringham Dragons in the NAB League this season. Zielinski has averaged over four goals a game throughout her 2021 SMJFL campaign so far and is a major part of the Zebras’ success. Tamsyn Tueli kicked a goal for St Kilda and joins Annie Davies (St Bedes / Mentone) as the only players to have kicked a goal against the Zebras’ staunch defence in the last three rounds. St Kilda City are set to play Mordi Brae in Round 8 following the holiday break, whilst East Sandringham will have a bye.
Under 18 Girls Division 1 – Beaumaris FC U18 Girls Sharks vs St Bedes / Mentone Tigers AFC
St Bedes / Mentone prevailed in a nail-biter against Beaumaris in Round 7, victorious by just one point (3.2-30 to 3.3-21). Scores were level at three-quarter-time, and a solitary point in the final quarter was enough for the Tigers to triumph. Jaime Jaensch, Katelyn Randall and Fern O’Brien kicked one goal respectively for Beaumaris, and came excruciatingly close to winning their first match since Round 4. In Round 8, Beaumaris travel to Hurlingham Park to play the East Brighton Vampires whilst the Tigers host Oakleigh at Mentone Reserve.