Season Summaries

Below are a series of Season Summaries written by some of our Coaches and other members. They are represented here to illustrate the culture of our club and a reminder of why we do what we do. All opinions are those of the author, and we endeavour to write in a style that is neutral and fair for all, but keep the summary’s in the spirit of the group and individual author. 

Thank you all for a wonderful year of junior footy. 

Under 10 BOYS

Our U10 season began all the way back in November last year with the Academy, led by Darren Mead, where 15-odd boys attended and were put through their paces. We got into the real stuff in early-March over at Jubilee Reserve. With so many new faces to get to know, coaches started with simple skill-building activities and asked all players and parents to write down goals for the season-ahead. We used these answers to create our U10 Culture, which centred on Fun, Friends & Teamwork.

Our U10 Maroon team included all 42 U10 players at one point or another. It was great to see so many different kids play with each other and is a testament to the club’s philosophy of allowing all kids to play in each team. It’s fair to say we had a successful season. Our successes on the field related to the development and confidence that we try, as coaches, to instil in our playing group. We had many close games and some extremely close games – games decided by a kick within 30 seconds of the siren two weeks in a row, which illustrates the resilience, never give up attitude, and positive nature of our U10 squad.

Footy is a team sport and our U10 Maroon team showed a willingness to help out their team-mates by sharing the ball by hand often. We looked for our team-mates that were open, no matter if we went to school with them, or had hardly ever met them before (especially in the case of our newer players). One of the better plays from U10 Maroon was against Woody South, where the boys went coast-to-coast from an opposition behind. Most of the boys got involved with the play by running in numbers, moving the ball by hand and hitting targets by foot. The ball went to ground in the forward zone but was quickly snapped up and goaled for a great team goal.

Our season culminated with the carnival at Woodville Oval. The conditions were pretty tough and it’s probably fair to say that we didn’t always play our best football in the lightning format. But what I noticed personally, were a lot of smiling faces between games, which is really the kind of culture that we want to be leading and typifies our U10 Culture set at the start of the season with fun, friends and teamwork.

Nate Baker
2019 SMOSH West Lakes Junior (U8-U11) Football Co-ordinator


Under 10 GIRLS

The under 10 girls have had an excellent introduction to Aussie Rules Footy this year. All of our players were brand new to football and the development has been brilliant. When we started pre-season with ‘2 players’ I thought it would be an uphill battle to field a team but with the expert help of Darren and Deanna Watson I was able to get a nice little group of players just in time and so keen to do well.

At training we really focused on developing the basic skills and it has been so rewarding to see, by the end of the year, the girls were putting all the skills into place. All of the parents and friends watching games on a regular basis were impressed with the girl’s improvement. I thank the girls for being so attentive at training and very keen to improve.

We also had three players who would regularly come down and help us out. Asha, Bonnie and Courtney not only brought experience but also fast tracked a number of our players to be better. I thank the girls and their parents for always making themselves available to help out.

The basics we have worked on all this season will be developed so much further next year and I think we will see running football with team mates brought into the game with handball and accurate kicking. I am already looking forward to it.

Thank you to everyone who has helped with the running of the team this year. To those that are going to run around again in under 10s next year I look forward to helping with your footy development again. To those girls moving up to SMOSH WL U12 Girls good luck and I will see you all around the club in 2020.

Thanks for a rewarding season.

Paul KAFTAN | Coach

Under 11 BOYS

This year’s under 11 group have been looking forward to playing this year for quite a while. Playing ‘real’ football on the entire oval was definitely exciting. The assistant’s in Mark Hocking, Dave O’Brien and myself have been with this group for a few year’s now and teaching all the football fundamentals into these boys is starting to pay off.

We had an amazing season, playing amazing team-first football and showing great improvement.

We were invited to a grading carnival at Brighton football club at year’s end playing against some of the best under 11 team’s in Adelaide. All the boys created a massive impression by playing impressive football and won the grand final on the day. The boys played hard, tough and very fluent football. The entire squad were presented with medals on the day, which the boy’s deserved after a memorable season. 

As a group, we are very aware of the challenges for next year and beyond. I have always said that this group will do the club, the parenting group and themselves proud, but there will be a lot of hard work to be done between now and round 1 next year.

A big thankyou to our magnificent and much loved team manager Tania Marshall Bates. This year could not have run as smooth and successful as it did without Tania. Tania definitely had a lot to do with the success this group has enjoyed this year.

Brad Robertson (under 11 coach)

Under 12 BOYS

Season 2019 for the Under 12’s Boys began in late 2018 with a well-attended football skills clinic run by Darren Mead. Despite the hot conditions the boys showed a commitment to their personal development and to the club by giving it their all at these sessions.

We then moved into our preseason schedule, which involved some fitness and skills testing. All the boys showed improvement in their 1km time trials, as well as their strength and conditioning through various physical challenges.

Our season opened with a controversial loss to Unley but to the boy’s credit they kept their heads up and strung together some really strong performances early in the season including a thrilling win on Friday night against Port Districts.

As we progressed through the season our only losses were to Unley, Lockleys and Port Districts, which meant we were the only side to beat every team in our division.

Midway through the season we had a good showing at the U12 State trials with 4 boys attending a massive trial of over 250 players. Congratulations to Lachlan Sands and James Chalubek for making the top 50 cut. It was fantastic news to have Lachlan make the final team along with Elliot Stubbing from the U13’s who represented themselves and SMOSH WL exceptionally well at the tournament in WA where they picked up the silver medal.

We finished the season with a couple of tough must-win games to qualify for finals in fourth spot. We can’t overlook the effort of Anthony Beracci who came from full back to kick a match-winning goal in the dying minutes against Henley.

In our elimination final we were narrowly beaten by 3 points in a low scoring affair against Port Districts. Once again the boys kept their heads up after a disappointing result and will learn a lot from this emotional loss going into season 2020.

We received some great post-season news that 4 players had been invited to the SANFL Association medal count. Congratulations to Logan Hughes, Jamie Russel, Kalan Palmer and the overall winner Lachlan Sands for being recognised for their performances during the year.

A huge thanks to my assistant coaches David Sands and Damon Hughes, my runner Kev Keeler and team manager Nerissa Sands who go above and beyond to ensure a smooth running of the team.

We all look forward to another successful and competitive season next year.

Paul Chalubek | Coach

Under 12 GIRLS


Our pre-season started late January, with really good numbers on the training track from the outset. With over 20 girls, two under 12 sides were entered but in different zones. Bodie Gale and I were in charge of the zone 3 girls – all girls in their first year of U12 footy, and their very taste of tackling and playing for premiership points.

The majority of our team had all played together last year in our U10 side, so we had a really good base to build from. All our preseason sessions were well attended, and the girls were more than ready to go, when round 1 arrived in early April. Our first 2 games were a great introduction to U12 footy, against quality teams (one of them being the eventual premiers, Mitcham). Even though we lost on both occasions, you could see that the girls had a great attitude, and were not going to be phased by bigger and stronger opponents.

Round 3 we travelled up to Blackwood and broke through for our first win. It was a great reward for plenty of hard work by the girls, and showed them just what they are capable of. A thrilling 8 point win had all of us – players, coaches and parents – pretty excited!  The win really kick-started our season, and the girls started to believe they could match it, if not beat, any of the teams we played against.

We had some really good wins against Unley (eventual grand finalists), Edwardstown (finished 3rd), and both Blackwood teams. Add to this a couple of narrow losses to Goodwood (another finalist), and there wasn’t many games we weren’t – at the least – very competitive in. Mitcham were the stand out team all year, with a team consisting of 3-4 exceptionally tall and skilful girls. Even though we were comprehensively beaten on the scoreboard by them, the girls didn’t take a backward step at any stage.

Our season came down to having to win the last game against Unley to make the finals. The girls threw everything they had at their more fancied opponent, and we jumped out to an early lead. In what was a cracking game of footy, we just couldn’t hang on in the last quarter, and went down by 15 points. It was an unbelievable effort, against a team who would eventually make a grand final.

Overall, we had 18 girls play for us during the year but our core group was 15. All these girls were in their first year of U12s, 4 of them were still eligible for U10s. Basically, we were an U11 team competing in an U12 competition. From a coaching point of view, we were most impressed by our tackling and defensive efforts. I feel we were the best tackling team in our zone, and any sides that played us knew they were in for a tough tussle. At times it appeared there was a sea of maroon/yellow out there, surrounding and engulfing opposition players whenever they got the ball. It was awesome to watch. Our goal this year was to give the girls a solid defensive base, with good tackling technique. We also wanted the girls to be able to absorb tackles, and protect themselves from the bumps and collisions that occur during games. We definitely feel the girls have achieved this. They are a tough group, and I heard someone describe them during the year as ‘annoying’ – we take that as a compliment, as it’s exactly how we wanted them to play – tough, relentless, and never-give-up.

Next year opens up a whole new opportunity for this group – they will all come back stronger, faster, and taller. Add some more attacking skills to their game and they will be a formidable team next year !

Bodie and I would like to thank everyone who has helped up this year –

  • Our team manager Yolette, who makes our job so much easier by handling all the boring admin stuff ! She does an awesome job of keeping everyone in the loop, and us coaches up-to-date !
  • Jason and Shane, who helped us at trainings and on game days. Also thanks to Nerissa for taking over the team manager reigns while Yolette was away.
  • All the parents who have been goal umpires, match day officials, timekeepers, bbqers, orange suppliers etc. We are very lucky to have an awesome group of parents / grandparents / supporters who show up every week and support these girls, and us.
  • Tara, Anthony and the whole junior committee for supporting us.

Bring on 2020 !

Cheers, Rob Van Dijk | Coach

Under 14 BOYS

2019 has been a roller-coaster (yet fantastic) year for the U14 squad.

Pre-season really began back in December with a few running sessions, then kicked off in earnest in late January. The mood in the squad was so positive, and everyone took to the hard sessions with great attitudes.

The squad grew from struggling for numbers in 2018 to 29 players overall in 2019. New faces brought excitement and competition to trainings which elevated everyone’s’ efforts. The addition of their families to our club has been a highlight of the year.

We also asked the lads to make a promise to what our group stood for and how they could contribute. That was summarised by “Effort + Belief + Trust + Friendship = Success”.

The first trial game showed the impact of the new players at the club, with elevated performances from all players, and got us excited for the year ahead. After Round 4, we were 3 and 1 and looking great, however it was here our season dipped, only winning 1 of the next 7 games.

It was at this point we decided to ‘lighten the load’ and have a fun session at AFL Max. All players that attended not only had a lot of fun, but I think they bonded as a whole group just through relaxing and engaging in a different environment with different voices instructing them.

From here it was simple – we had to win our last 4 to play finals…. And that we did, and we now face the challenge of a preliminary final against a side we haven’t beaten this year….. YET.

It’s here I go back to our motto we created before the season. The on field success has been great, and we are enjoying the ride, but regardless of ladder position, this year has been a huge success in terms of the “effort” the lads have put in, the “belief” and “trust” they have in each other and themselves, and most importantly, the stronger bonds of “friendship” they have developed.

Overall, I firstly have to thank the players and their parents for their support this year. Rotating 7 players a match has been a huge learning curve for all, but I think it has actually brought us all closer together, with every player making massive contributions with the opportunities they had – I can’t thank them enough for that, for their patience, and their positivity. As I’ve said all year, we will be defined by the 29 players in our squad, not the 22 playing on match day. We have prided ourselves as an inclusive club, and I know our group has done everything to live up to that.

Special thanks to my Team manager Lisa Farnsworth for her tireless work behind the scenes, Paul Palmer as Assistant/Runner, Jason Morgan as MDO, Darren and Ethan Kelsey as BU’s, Nick Bickford as FA, with contributions from Marty Edmunds & Shane Capogreco along the way. Of course, to all parents who helped with goal umpiring, bbq and timekeeping also.

We also have to thank David Sands for his support as Football Director – his liaison with the SANFL on my behalf alone has been extraordinary, let alone the other grades.

 Many thanks also to Tara and our club committee for their support.

The year is not over yet….. there is more to be written by this group in the near future. Stay tuned…….

Josh Netchitowsky | Coach

Under 15 BOYS

What a year, our ambition was to get these young lads to play with the understanding about accountability on the training track and football field Sundays. “A big tick. ” Secondly to be the hardest side in the comp head over the ball and absolutely ferocious at the contest once again a big “tick”. To see these lads playing with these non-negotiables is what makes it all worth the time and effort we put in as a coach, so thankyou lads. For this group to make and play a final this year is a testament to their hard work and their patience in being prepared to listen and believe in systems, themselves and their team-mates. There is no turning back for these boys now, as I believe, and more importantly they believe, in the ingredients of hard work to take the next step. To my assistant coaches Ryan Fitzy, Bruce Bennett, Nugget,  Simon Markwick and of course the best team manager going around Jayson Priest – a huge thankyou. You guys played a vital role in help develop this team of young gentlemen to become SMOSH West Lakes FC’s next young guns. 

” What a year”

“Up the den “

Joe ‘Joey’ Menta | Coach