By Jason Barbin
Springvale Districts v Doveton Eagles
Springvale Districts 14.12 (96) def Doveton Eagles 9.8 (62)
Doveton Eagles 14.13 (97) def Springvale Districts 13.9 (87)
While it may not be the grand final some people may have predicted, it’s a sure-fire blockbuster with Springvale Districts taking on Doveton Eagles at Jack Barker Oval on Saturday, with the winner booking their place in division one next season.
The Districts enjoyed the easy route to the grand final, defeating Murrumbeena in the second semi-final, but have only played one game of footy in the last month.
Doveton on the other hand did it the hard way, coming from fourth on the ladder and are in ripping form having dispatched Hampton, Keysborough and Murrumbeena along the way.
While Springvale were the minor premiers and will be the deserved favourites going into the game, Doveton at its best has the ability to beat anyone and its showed the last three weeks.
The Districts have winners all over the ground however, and it starts in the midfield with the likes of Sam Raru making the team of the year and in the midst of an excellent season, while David Monaghan and Mladen Josic have also been impressive.
In defence the Districts are led by the experienced Brody Ledder, along with fellow team of the year members Nathan Brown and Ben Stacey, with the trio likely to play significant roles in keeping the likes of Eagles’ goalsneaks Russell Robertson, Jarrod O’Neill, Adam Read and Jye Sigersma quiet.
Inside forward 50 the Districts have their own juggernaut with Matt Wetering proving he’s arguably the best forward in the competition, having booted 64 goals for the year, while Stefan Feehan is also a strong target having kicked 46.
For the Eagles, it starts with star midfielder and reigning Bennett medallist Nick Battle who has once again stood out from the crowd with his ability to win the ball while also going forward and booting 27 goals for the season.
Battle, along with fellow team of the year midfielder Nick Beer will work in tandem with team of the year ruckman Cameron Carmody, who should have the advantage in the middle.
In defence, the job on Wetering could fall to the likes of Michael Duke or Mitchell Forgiarini, with the other likely to contend with Feehan.
As mentioned before, Doveton’s forward half possesses a number of options with former AFL star Russell Robertson showing he still has the smarts and the skills to kick a back, while O’Neill (35 goals), Read (34) and Sigersma (23 goals) potentially taking a back seat to GameFace footy show host.
The result of this one is hard to pick, but if the footy gods are kind, it will go right down to the wire and have supporters with hearts in their mouths right until the final siren.
For me, the Districts will take it out and progress back to division one
Springvale Districts by five points