Round 1 – Lyndhurst 13.5 (83) def South Yarra 2.4 (16) Round 8 – South Yarra 10.8 (68) def Lyndhurst 9.4 (58) Round 15 – South Yarra 18.10 (118) def Lyndhurst 9.3 (57) Second Semi Final - Lyndhurst 5.13 (43) def South Yarra 2.8 (20)
Minor premiers Lyndhurst are in the box seat for its maiden Southern Football Netball League premiership and will take on South Yarra at Keysborough Reserve for the honour on Saturday.
These two sides have been the best teams throughout the last month and have rarely failed to create excitement when they have met during the season.
While they have split their last four meetings at two apiece, Lyndhurst took out the Semi Final clash in convincing fashion, keeping a potent Yarras’ forward line to just two goals on the afternoon.
The Lightning will need to be at the same level again if it’s going to exact the same result and it all starts in the engine room, where they’re led by superstar David Ford, the runaway favourite for the Division 4 league best and fairest in my eye.
Ford is a superb user of the footy and is able to play that utility role for coach Jamie Gaspero and line up anywhere on the park and alongside him has been Jarrod Murphy who has enjoyed a solid season.
While South Yarra’s forward line may be potent, Lyndhurst’s is just as talented with Hamish Browning the star, finishing second on the league goalkicking table with 56 for the season, while Ford, Jarryd McGrath and gun Charlie Gardiner have been targets with 30, 29 and 19 goals respectively.
Defensively, the Lightning are led by Jesse Walia, who has enjoyed a fine season and is a genuine leader in the back half.
If David Ford is the runaway favourite for the league medal, than South Yarra playing coach Scott Stegehuis isn’t far behind and has had yet another stellar season for the Lions.
Stegehuis leads from the front in the midfield and teams up with star ruckman Julian Belfrage to gain first use of the footy, where he almost always uses effectively.
Alongside him is jet Zac Maher, who can play through defence or in the midfield and has continued to improve and is now a genuine star of the competition, while Tom Rogers is a stone wall in defence.
One of South Yarra’s biggest assets however, is it’s even spread inside 50, with four players with 30 or more goals on the season.
Amazingly those four players are separated by just two goals, with Brandon Bird and Shaun Falla leading the way with 33 goals each, while Jack Callaway has 32 and Eamon Hanney 31.
If two of the four can get off the leash, South Yarra should be able to kick a winning score and secure the victory, meaning the job for Jesse Walia and his teammates in defence will be mightily important.
Another blockbuster matchup in a Grand Final, this game should go down to the wire and although the Lightning won the last match up, I still believe it could go either way.