Youth Girls Grand Final Preview


Following a dominant display in the first three games of the Metro-National Sports Museum Junior Championships, the South East Juniors’ Youth Girls squad earned themselves a berth in the grand final against the Yarra Junior Football League.

A quick glance at the ladder will tell you that the girls’ performance was nothing short of spectacular as they escaped the group stage having only conceded six points and earned a percentage in excess of 4,000%.

However, things won’t be as easy for this Saturday’s clash against Yarra who had a similarly impressive run to the big day as they also arrive undefeated with a healthy percentage of their own.

It will be the second time in two years that these two squads face off in the interleague grand final with Yarra running out easy 85-point winners last year. The team’s coach, Keith Edwards, isn’t thinking about last year and doesn’t think anyone else on his team is either.

“The girls are hungry for the ball [this year] and that makes all the difference,” he said.

“A few of them are a bit anxious because they haven’t been here before but that’s a good thing – if they’re not nervous you’d be wondering what’s going on.”

In order to win the game, which Edwards concedes will be a tough slog, the girls will need to move the ball quickly which was something they struggled to do late in their last game against the South Metro Junior Football League. While they won by 77 points their coach was concerned that their play was a little too congested.

“We have to move the ball quickly but also be front and centre once we reset the ball,” explained Edwards.

“Basically, make sure we keep our structure and move the ball more freely than we did to end the last game.”

He will also continue his rotation of Kayla Ripari, Courtney De Kroon and Karina Diaz through the ruck and full forward positions. All three girls have kicked multiple goals throughout the competition by taking their chances when resting forward.

“Don’t change something if it’s not broken because their intensity and strength around the packs is great,” said Edwards.

Unfortunately the girls will be without one of their best players, Georgia Walker, who will be overseas when the game takes place. According to Edwards however, it does present an opportunity for others to stand up in her absence – something he believes will happen seamlessly.

One player the girls will need to keep an eye on will be Katherine Smith who leads the competition in goals kicked and has been in the best three players on the ground in each of her encounters. Edwards maintains that if the girls play as a team then no single player can upset their dynamic.

Intensity is Edwards’s main message to the girls and his methods in instilling it are unique. Well aware of their love for their phones (his daughters never put theirs down!) he instructed the girls to think of the football as a phone that the opposition has taken it off them. While he may not be entirely serious about his methods of motivation, one thing is sure, whatever he is saying is working as the girls head into a grand final full of steam.

“It’s going to be a pretty level playing field come Saturday… It all depends on who comes to the contest ready to play.

“It’s pretty exciting and I’d ask all the supporters to come down and watch a good game of footy.”