By LUCA REGO
After a month of finals football, the 2019 SANFL Juniors season will culminate in the top-age boys’ grand finals this weekend.
SANFL Juniors has seen over 13,000 girls and boys take to the field this year with matches officiated by over 500 umpires.
This weekend sees the boys’ Under 15s and Under 16.5s close out a great season, with Divisions 1, 2 and 3 showcasing their talents in grand finals across the weekend.
In an historic first for SANFL Juniors, the Division 1 grand finals will be fought out in a blockbuster double-header under lights at Campbelltown Oval tonight.
The Under 16.5s season-decider is anticipated to be a tight, hard-fought contest, with both teams tasting victory against one another during the minor rounds.
The Plympton Bulldogs will carry a marginal ‘favourites’ tag heading into the match, managing to hold off the Unley Jets by just two points in the Semi Final two weeks ago.
In what has been a fantastic rivalry all season, the Unley Jets Under 16.5s will be aiming to go back-to-back after claiming the 2018 premiership.
Unley Jets coach Trent Bromley said the two teams have had “great battles” this season and his boys would need to play well for four quarters against an in-form Plympton.
“The two teams are very close, we were up at three-quarter time in that semi-final game but they ran over us in the last quarter, so our aim will be to do it better for a bit longer on Friday night,” Bromley said.
He said that with many of the boys having played junior football together since under 8s, this was a special year of football for them.
“They take their Jets football very seriously and this year really is the pinnacle for them and the finish of their junior football career,” he said.
Plympton coach Neville Smith said he was expecting the grand final to be another close game between the two sides, but was hopeful of a repeat of the semi final.
“We’ve got a good depth of players, a really even spread and in our games if one player has been down a bit, another has been able to step up and get us over the line,” Smith said.
“I’ve spoken to the boys about just focusing on our game, trying to play a good team game with a good work rate and to stay with our team structure and how we like to play.”
The Under 15s Division 1 Grand Final will kick off proceedings on Friday night which is also expected to be a tight contest, with Glenunga only narrowly defeating 2018 premiers Payneham in the Semi Final.
This weekend’s SANFL Juniors Grand Final match schedule is as follows:
TONIGHT – Friday, September 13 | Campbelltown Memorial Oval
Under 15 Division 1
Glenunga v Payneham | 6:10pm
Under 16.5 Division 1
Plympton v Unley | 8:00pm
Sunday, September 15 | Unley Oval
Under 15 Division 3
Salisbury West v Hectorville | 9:00am
Under 15 Division 2
Goodwood v Unley | 10:50am
Under 16.5 Division 3
Salisbury North v Marion | 12:40pm
Under 16.5 Division 2
Modbury v Broadview | 2:30pm