Boys were pitted against men in the second division Futsal (five-a-side soccer) grand final recently.
Last year’s defending champions, the aptly named Jaggerbabes, which featured four Premier League soccer players, was pitted against a team of young contenders called e-lemon-8erz.
The e-lemon-8erz are made up of seven talented 15-year-old boys. Most are either NSW or Far North Coast representative Futsal players.
The ‘young guns’ finished the competition as pointscore champions but the preliminary round games between the teams were hard fought. They each won two games from their four encounters.
In the final the youngsters had to play without their goalkeeper, Layton Barton, who was badly injured in an exhibition match the week before.
There were plenty of fans to see the grand final and it turned out to be the best game of the season.
The fancy footwork and tricks from the players were amazing – something you never see in the outdoor game, even at Premier League level.
One spectator remarked: “If football is called the ‘beautiful game’, Futsal must be the ‘gorgeous game’.
The teams traded shot for shot and Jaggerbabes goalkeeper Matt Rixon was put under intense pressure from the start with balls ricocheting off the metalwork time and again.
The young lads were missing their ‘keeper and had to rotate their strikers as goalkeepers.
The much larger Jaggerbabes made the most of their experience and size but e-lemon-8erz put their fitness and intensive representative training to good use and traded goal for goal.
It was anybody’s game right up until the last few minutes when Jaggerbabes put a shot past replacement keeper Tim Knight, taking the score to 6-5 and setting the scene for an intense final few minutes.
Jaggerbabes hung on to defend their title, but some admitted it may have been a different result if Layton had been able to play.
Six of the e-lemon-8erz line-up are in the regional Futsal team that won its age division at the Queensland Country championships and Queensland City titles earlier in the season.
The week after the final the boys competed in the Pacific region championships in Brisbane. With their specialist ‘keeper still injured and unable to play in the three-day tournament, they amazed everyone by taking the silver medal.