A 101-point win headlined a successful day out for the Ballarat Football Netball League's junior interleague sides, retaining the Goldfields Shield on countback over the Bendigo Football League at the weekend.
The BFNL's rep sides travelled to Strathfieldsaye, where they won three out of the six games and due to possessing a higher total overall score, regained the shield.
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Both the under 16, under 14 and under 13 boys sides were victorious, while the under 15 boys, under 16 and under 18 Youth Girls were gallant in defeat
Bacchus Marsh junior Joel Freeman was the player of the day, kicking 11 goals in the under 16 side's 17.22 (124) to 3.5 (23) win.
He backed that performance up with six goals for Bacchus Marsh on Sunday in its 75-point win over Mount Clear.
It takes his season tally to 28, two clear in first place.
Darley's Mitchell Gardiner was best-on-ground in the under 15 side's 8.8 (56) to 4.7 (43) loss.
The under 14 boys won strongly, 8.15 (63) to 5.7 (37).
North Ballarat's Baxter Horsburgh was adjudged best-on-ground.
The under 13 boys side won a tough game 6.10 (46) to 4.4 (28), Cole Hutchinson from Mount Clear given the best-on-ground medal.
The under 16 Youth Girls side lost in a close contest, 6.5 (41) to 4.3 (27).
Redan's Bindi Cabtree was awarded the best-on-ground medal.
The under 18 side was overrun by a strong Bendigo side 7.6 (48) to 1.1 (7).
East Point's Delta Greenhalgh received best-on-ground honours.
BFNL operations manager Shane Anwyl Carey told The Courier it was great to be back playing representative footy again.
"I think the really exciting thing for us was to be back playing interleague football after two years," he said.
"There was a massive buy in to it, the players really supported it, the coaches were well organised and Bendigo put on a good day, so it was a good showcase for us.
"Particularly I think what was really good was having the first girls' interleague program under the BFLW banner as well."
The junior program won't play a second interleague game, something the league is hoping to change in 2022.
"The feedback out of the weekend was we really need to expand our rep program around the interleague," Anwyl said.
"We're going to look to see if there's other opportunities next year to have some more games.
"The boys and girls only had two training sessions and then played on the weekend. It was a really short, sharp program.
"With some more work that we're doing trying to tie in a bit closer with (the GWV) Rebels and their development prgrams, it's going to be a terrific pathway for juniors ... to come through the BFNL into Rebels."
Anwyl added that the league is hoping to bring back the senior interleague program in 2022.
"We think there is an appetite to get back into it," he said.
"We're now in a position to say that it's back on the radar and something that we'll definitely be looking forward to."
Under 13 boys full time: Ballarat 6.10 (46) def Bendigo 4.4 (28). Best - Cole Hutchinson (Mount Clear)
Under 14 boys full time: Ballarat 8.15 (63) def Bendigo 5.7 (37). Best - Baxter Horsburgh (North Ballarat)
Under 15 boys full time: Bendigo 8.8 (56) def Ballarat 4.7 (43). Best - Mitchell Gardiner (Darley)
Under 16 boys full time: Ballarat 17.22 (124) def Bendigo 3.5 (23). Best - Joel Freeman (Bacchus Marsh)
Under 16 Youth Girls full time: Bendigo 6.5 (41) def Ballarat 4.3 (27). Best - Bindi Crabtree (Redan)
Under 18 Youth Girls full time: Bendigo 7.6 (48) def Ballarat 1.1 (7). Best - Delta Greenhalgh (East Point)
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