Local junior footballers had the opportunity to showcase their skills against the best of the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League on Sunday.
Deni Rovers players Braith Wade, Tim McDonnell and Kaiden Joss (Under 17s), fellow Roos Alvin Cooper and Jackson Muldoon-Leetham, along with Mathoura’s Kyle Magro and Blighty’s Dean Macdonald (Under 14s) all represented the Picola & District League in the annual interleague clash.
The PDFL Under 17s, led by Rovers thirds coach Alex Hay, had an outstanding day, exacting revenge on MPJFL after last year’s loss in a 105 point thumping.
Playing in Hastings, the PDFL side started the game well with contested footy and all of the players executed the game plan to defend high up the ground.
Picola’s skills were exceptional and despite the game being a bit of an arm wrestle in the first half, the PDFL kicked clear by making the most of their chances going forward.
The PDFL dominated the second half, keeping the MPJFL scoreless in a stirring performance.
Final score, PDFL 15.15 (105) to MPJFL no score.
Tocumwal onballer Brock Thomson, who made the switch from the Roos to the Bloods this year, was named best on ground for the PDFNL.
Ben Neessen from Jerilderie dominated while others to play well were Braith Wade (Rovers), Chris Santoro (Yarroweyah) and Glen Di Lullo (Jerilderie).
‘‘PDFL got belted last year so we made that a focus,’’ Hay said.
‘‘We had four training sessions leading up to the game and everyone delivered.
‘‘I had a great time, it was a very enjoyable and invaluable experience.
‘‘All the players brought into the program which made for some great footy.’’
The Under 14s PDFL side, led by Mathoura senior coach Darcy Robinson, were no match for the MPJFL, going down by 68 points.
While it was a tough game there was some joy for the local area with Deni Rovers ruckman Alvin Cooper starring and named best on ground for PDFL.
Others to impress included Blighty’s Dean Macdonald and Strathmerton’s Josh Payne.
Final score, MPJFL 17.8 (110) to PDFNL 6.6 (42).
Despite the heavy loss, Robinson said his players had an outstanding game.
‘‘We came up against a side that has been training since February and that had nine or 10 days in the build-up to the game to prepare for Sunday,’’ he said.
‘‘We had a total of two training sessions together, as well as having most players play one or two games the day before on top of the 3 hour trip.
‘‘The boys did really well and it’s a huge credit to them to get up and play so well.
‘‘It was also a positive showing as to where country footy is going in the junior ranks, with everyone so keen to play and work hard.’’
It wasn’t just a learning curve for the players but also for Robinson, who is used to coaching players with plenty of experience.
Robinson said the chance to lead the Under 14s was a benefit not just for him but also for his club.
‘‘It’s a whole different aspect for me,’’ he said.
‘‘To drop down to coach those looking for extra guidance when it comes to their footy was a great experience.
‘‘It was a learning curve for me and it was good to see all the young players asking for advice and listening to instructions that were given.
‘‘From a club point of view it was also good. To be able to represent Mathoura for the PDFL in any way is always something we all enjoy.’’