Round 1 – Hampton Park 21.22 (148) def Clayton 1.2 (8)
Round 6 – Hampton Park 14.6 (90) def Clayton 10.3 (63)
Round 11 – Clayton 7.4 (46) def Hampton Park 5.5 (35)
Round 16 – Hampton Park 12.14 (86) def Clayton 11.14 (80)
Second Semi Final – Hampton Park 11.13 (79) def Clayton 4.10 (34)
The two best sides in Division 3 will deservedly square off in the grand final, with Hampton Park going up against Clayton at Ross Street Reserve on Sunday.
The Redbacks will go into the game as overwhelming favourites, having only lost one game for the season, albeit against Sunday’s opponent.
That one loss won’t cast a lot of doubt on their ability, but it will give Clayton confidence knowing it beat them once, and they can do so again.
But there is a reason why Hampton Park was the minor premier and the team to beat all season, and they’ve displayed a strong foundation throughout the season.
Led by star Shannon Henwood, the Redbacks move the ball precisely through the middle and feature a number of efficient ball users, while defensively, the Redbacks are led by the likes of Jackson Fry, Jackson Philpin and Sean Winsall.
They also boast the most dangerous and effective forward line in the competition, with five players with 20 or more goals on the season. Leading the charge is former Doveton Eagle Peter Dye who has 69 goals for the year, while Travis Davis (35 goals) and Nathan Carver (27 goals) also feature regularly.
Clayton has a bevy of its own talented players, but none are better than Jesse Henderson, who is one of the competition's most dominant ruckman arguably their most important for Sunday’s game.
Alongside Henderson are the duo of Chris Morrison and Byron Hoe, with all three featuring among the side’s best in the cast majority of games this season, Nick Parisi has also enjoyed a stellar back half of the season, and looms as a danger.,
While the Clays may not have as potent a forward line as Hampton Park, they are led by one of the strongest and toughest players in Division 3 in stalwart Jayden Gilmour.
A former star defender, Gilmour knows how to make position and is capable of kicking a bag, having booted 37 goals for the season.
Another one to watch out for is Jack Coutts who bobbed up for four goals in last week’s Preliminary Final win against Endeavour Hills and he could be a live wire for the Clays alongside Gilmour.
This game is sure to attract plenty of attention and rightly so, as the two sides battle it out to gain promotion to Division 2 next season.
The tip in this one is easy and, despite tipping Clayton to win the Semi Final clash two weeks ago, I’m going with the Redbacks to win this one and claim the premiership they thoroughly deserve.
Hampton Park by 21 points.