After a dominant season in which they remained undefeated, the Southern Tablelands United are the premiers of the Capital Football Open Under 14s Division One competition.
From nine matches, the side claimed seven wins and two draws to sit comfortably on top of the ladder by the time the competition was ended by COVID-19 lockdowns.
In second and third place were both Gungahlin United teams, who trailed STU by six and eight points respectively. Similarly, the Southern Tablelands' goal differential was 33, 12 more than Belsouth with the next-best tally.
"They were brilliant all year," STU president, Graham Eddy, said.
"Last year they were Under 13s but they played in an Under 15s comp, and they ended up coming second on the ladder and third in the competition. So they're a good side with a lot of good players, and they played really well together."
Considering the team's strong run in an older age group last season, their success in 2021 came as no surprise to Eddy.
In fact, he believes that the experience playing up a division helped prepare the players for their unbeaten run this year.
"The Canberra competition's a lot harder physically," Eddy said.
"It's a very pushy-type competition up there, and playing against bigger kids would've given them a good head-start, that's for sure."
Players in their early teens are often just discovering what style of play suits them best, and are generally in the process of developing their skills, so it is rare for one side to be as dominant as this Southern Tablelands team.
However, Eddy said the kids have spent years playing alongside one another, and that experience has led to great team cohesion.
"I think they're a good bunch of kids who get on well together," he said.
"They've been playing together for a while and the will there is to do well. They're good, talented players and they play well as a team, and that's what it is, the team effort."
Next year, the STU team will move into the Under 16s division where they will face a sterner test against sides who are more physically developed. However, Eddy is confident the side has what it takes to remain competitive.
"I think they'll still do well, because they're a good, solid unit," he said.
"That makes a big difference, not relying on one or two players to do the work."
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