KIDS' CORNER | Essendon Royals Under-14 Reds seal league title with final-day triumph
Essendon Royals under-14 Reds capped off an outstanding season by being confirmed as Under-14 B North League Champions on Sunday.
The team, coached by Ash Peshin, enjoyed a fantastic season, finishing on top of the table by three points, following an incredibly tight 1-0 win away from home against Fawkner.
The win was enough to keep second-placed FC Birrarung Blue at bay, which also enjoyed a 1-0 win on the final day of the season.
While the Royals entered the division expecting to be one of the teams to beat, being the favourites and delivering a premiership at the end of the season are two completely different things.
For this Royals team, the eventual triumph was well deserved.
The uneven nature of the draw saw the Royals play almost every other top-half team twice and many of the bottom sides just once.
On the way to their success, the Royals averaged 3.7 goals per game, and conceded less than one goal per game.
Team Manager Mark Lister was full of praise for the team and coach Peshin, who he says helped inspire the boys to achieve the consistency required to finish the season on top.
“He deserves a lot of credit. The bond between coach and players was obvious and a big contributor to the team's success, with the team working closely both on and off the field,” Lister said.
“It was a real team effort all year, with a number of players like Leon Borrelli, James Caputo and Ziggy Christofides making huge improvements to their game over the season.
“Defenders Julian Daquino, Declan Smith, Julian De Luca and Beau Sacco were solid at the back all year.
“Tom Droege, Marcus Petrolo and Yousef Hawli consistently brought the skills to control the midfield, while Matteo Parissi provided the engine and never stopped running.
“And when goal-scoring machine Massimo Gibilisco missed a long period through a broken wrist injury, others like Louis Yates, Talan Ristevski, Josh Comerford and Curtis Kleinitz Lister stepped up for goalscoring duties.”
Finishing the season as champions means the team’s season will be extended for another week as they take on Spring Hill Stallions FC - which won the West division - in a play-off final next weekend.
“Thanks should go to all the parents who supported the commitment of their boys and contributed to this very successful season,” Lister said.
“They go into next week's playoff match hungry for further success!”