Official website of the Essendon District Football League

Interleague Report: Under 14 Boys Division 1

Match reports and highlights

The 2024 AFL Victoria Metro Junior Development Series recently wrapped up so we thought we'd catch up with the coaches of each side to review the carnival, and highlight some of the key moments and performers!

Next up, Under 14 Boys Division 1.


Coach: Brad Swain

Game One - EDFL 13.16 (94) def. NFNL 8.8 (56)

The players started the series incredibly well in a high quality hit out, with each player demonstrating a commitment to contest, offense, and defence and a desire to work together as a team. This started with Ollie Rados, Chase Byrne, Lyam Scroce, Ali Kassab, and Aiden Plunkett clearly understanding the way we wanted our midfield to set up, engage, and compete at stoppage enabling them to minimise NFNL’s exits and generate inside to outside ball movement. There was good connection to Max Hill, Nathan Wing, and Bradie Dorian on the wings to move the ball to the advantage of our forwards including tall targets Lugh Kavanagh, Ollie Chatfield, Brock Fletcher, and Anton Kupper who all provided great contests. This allowed Oscar McIntosh and Harvey Stevens to get busy at ground level showing clean hands and linking up as high forwards regularly.

Our players adjusted their ball movement incredibly well into and against the wind, able to change between more of a run and carry style into the wind and an open side style when kicking with it. It was Ali Merhi and Josh Evans playing as small forwards who were able to capitalise on the team’s good work up the field and hit the scoreboard with nine goals between them.

The backs including Robbie Filazzola, George Barber, and Archie Huddart were terrific to aggressively defend their player and work across to help one another third up, while Dash Di Felice, Logan Purcell, Ben Verzaci, and Christian La Porta defended first and then provided important overlap run off turnover, particularly into the wind.

Across the course of this first game the players were amazing to share game time through in excess of eighty rotations and to play the game at a higher standard than they’ve experienced before, with many embracing playing in unfamiliar positions on the ground.

Goal Kickers: Ali Merhi 6, Joshua Evans 3, Antonius Kupper 2, Ollie Chatfield, Oscar McIntosh.
Best Players: Lyam Skroce, Nathan Wing, Ali Merhi, Christian La Porta, Joshua Evans, Chase Byrne.

Game Two - RDFNL 2.3 (15) def. by EDFL 20.22 (142)

To maximise the opportunity for the players to develop, in game two we started fifteen players in different positions to where they had played in game one, but still in roles where they could express their strengths. Our backline held up strongly to start the game with Ollie Chatfield, Brock Fletcher, Max Hill, Anton Kupper, Christian La Porta, and Logan Purcell regularly repelling any RDFNL forward thrusts and Robbie Filazzola expressing high quality spoils and last line pressure.

Lugh Kavanagh started in the ruck and provided excellent follow up work around the ground with clean hands and sharing the ball to running midfielders including Oscar McIntosh, Lyam Skroce, Nathan Wing, and Ali Kassab. Initially we were able to take relatively straight-line territory through the opposition defence so our wings of Dash Di Felice, Bradie Dorian, and Harvey Stevens weren’t required in offence as much as game one but were able to setup well defensively. Our forwards were able to hit the scoreboard repeatedly with strong aerial contests from George Barber, Archie Huddart, and Ollie Rados allowing close-to-goal pressure and scoring from Chase Byrne and Ali Merhi.

We continued to shuffle the magnets all day, including trying Fletcher, Chatfield, and Barber as taller wingers and arguably our player of the series, Lyam Skroce playing well as a key defender. After kicking six goals in game one and hitting the scoreboard early in this game, Merhi provided excellent second-half run off half back. Ben Verzaci and Aiden Plunkett, as strong bodied medium forwards, capitalised on our high volume of forward entries by kicking 10 goals between them in three quarters of footy in those roles.

Despite the scoreline, the players’ willingness to play their roles and share the ball to best option was impressive.  

Goal Kickers: Aidan Plunkett 5, Ben Verzaci 5, Archie Huddart 2, Ali Merhi 2, Chase Byrne, Robert Filazzola, Ali Kassab, Oliver Rados.
Best Players: Lugh Kavanagh, Robert Filazzola, Aidan Plunkett, Ben Verzaci, George Barber, Max Hill.

Game Three - WFNL 10.10 (70) def. EDFL 7.8 (50)

Our final game was played in stunning winter sun at Caroline Springs and had a finals-like atmosphere. Most importantly the players knew this was our third and final opportunity to play together this year and were grateful for the privilege and excited for the opportunity to express themselves against the WFNL. It was wonderful to recognise Marcus Gagliardi before the game in front of his peers, as an injury had prevented him from playing at all in the series, yet he was there every game supporting and very much a part of the team.

We were a little slow starting in this game, with the backline of Robbie Filazzola, Anton Kupper, Ollie Chatfield, Archie Huddart, and Ali Merhi under early pressure. In this game we rotated our half back and wings together, allowing Oscar McIntosh, Dash De Felice, Harvey Stevens, Nathan Wing, and Max Hill to experience this in-game variable with McIntosh, Stevens, Hill, and Wing having their best games of the series.

Logan Purcell grabbed his opportunity as an inside mid and was supported by Ben Verzaci, Chase Byrne, and Lyam Skroce. Ollie Rados performed well in the ruck with support from Lugh Kavanagh. Up forward Josh Evans was brave while George Barber, Brock Fletcher, and Aiden Plunkett provided strong targets with Bradie Dorian, Ali Kassab and Christian La Porta went to work at ground level. Plunkett was our most versatile player of the day, playing forward, inside mid, and key back for a period.

This was a cracking game of footy with excellent commitment to contest and defence from both teams and each team having waves of momentum in offense. Quarter one and two were split between the two teams and then the WFNL edged ahead in the third before we came strongly in last without capitalising on the scoreboard.

Goal Kickers: Brock Fletcher 2, Christian La Porta, Aidan Plunkett, Logan Purcell, Harvey Stevens, Ben Verzaci.
Best Players: Nathan Wing, Lyam Skroce, Harvey Stevens, Oscar McIntosh, Max Hill, Robert Filazzola.

An amazing series for all involved. Enormously proud of all players who attended try outs from across the competition, with such an excellent attitude that focussed on enjoying the experience and learning rapidly. Those who made the final squad of 48 performed brilliantly.

An enormous thank you to the EDFL for the opportunity to coach these incredible young players and to all the parents who supported their sons’ participation. Thank you to those parents who assisted with match day roles, this series wouldn’t be possible without you.

The program has delivered incredible football education for the players and this is largely thanks to the wonderful coaching team including Will Wright and Paul Dorian from Aberfeldie, Matt Robertson from Essendon Doutta Stars, Travis Featherby from Moonee Valley, Nathan Taylor from Greenvale, and Marcus Lynch from Maribyrnong Park.  

EDFL Partners