Doveton Eagles and Highett face off in the 2018 Southern Football Netball League Grand Final with promotion to Division 1 waiting for the winners, while heartbreak awaits the losers.
Doveton Eagles v Highett
Saturday 15 September - Jack Barker Oval
Doveton Eagles 13.19 (97) def Highett 9.5 (59)
Highett 13.7 (85) def Doveton Eagles 10.15 (75)
Second Semi Final:
Doveton Eagles 18.20 (128) def Highett 10.9 (69)
Logic dictates that this blockbuster Grand Final clash will go the way of the Eagles, given their form against the Dogs and the fact they’ve been the team to beat all season.
But that would be writing Highett off far too easily, especially considering its one of just two teams (Murrumbeena being the other) to have knocked off the minor premier this season.
Accuracy in front of goal will be the key to this match, with both sides guilty of miscues inside 50 on several occasions during the season.
Early form in front of goal will be telling, especially for the Dogs who, if they fire early, can stick with the Eagles who have the firepower to boot commanding scores, something we’ve seen from them all season.
That firepower comes from forward trio Peter Dye, Russell Robertson and Darren Sheen who, combined, have kicked 139 goals for the season.
The X factor amongst that group is undoubtedly Robertson, with the former Melbourne star still capable of kicking a bag after taking a mark of the year winner.
As such, the Doggies backline, led by Vice Captain and 2018 B&F winner Yianni Pasialis, will need to be at its absolute best to restrict the Eagles’ scoring output.
Doveton’s midfield group is just as dangerous as its forwards, with the likes of Nick Battle, Michael Callinan and ruckman Cameron Carmody amongst the best players in the competition through the guts.
The likes of Nick Beer, Cory Wilson and Enayte Samadi have also enjoyed strong years for the Eagles.
The one question mark surrounding the favourites is how they will perform having only played one game in the last month.
For Highett, its strength lies in its ability to run through the midfield and the likes of Tom Brown, Sam Jackson, Jack Prosser and Jordan Thompson have enjoyed impressive finals series so far.
The Dogs also have their own forward trio consisting of Ed Turner, Brett Collins and Kyle Hendy who have combined to boot 122 goals between them.
The X factor that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Mitch Hoar, a commanding centre half forward type who is a livewire with the ball in his hands, as shown by his six-goal, best afield performance against Murrumbeena in the Qualifying Final.
While the question surrounding the Eagles is about not enough football, the question surrounding the Dogs is have they played too much.
Highett has played in every week of the finals series, and while most players would prefer continuity during finals, will the extra two games and solid, hard and tough football take a toll.
It will certainly be fun to find out, but for me, I can’t go past the Eagles who have been premiership favourites since round one and should be able to get the job done.
Doveton Eagles by 17 points.
Nick Battle (Doveton Eagles)