ROUND 14 PREVIEW
Chelsea Heights V East Malvern (Beazley Reserve)
The Panthers have now slipped out of the top three following three successive losses, and would be desperate to arrest its slide and reassert itself as a leading premiership threat.
It will get no better opportunity to do just that than this week when it travels out to play the bottom ranked Chelsea Heights.
The Heighters haven’t sung their song since Round 6 and have been subjected to several hefty defeats along the way. This will likely be another as East Malvern look to make a statement.
East Malvern by 54 points.
Mordialloc V St Kilda City (Ben Kavanagh Reserve)
An exciting contest awaits as the two most potent offensive sides in the competition go head to head at Ben Kavanagh Reserve.
St Kilda City have risen into the top three on the back of an impressive month of football but would be eager to claim a big scalp in order to establish itself as a genuine contender for the flag. Mordialloc will be a very difficult assignment, but the Saints aren’t without a chance.
The Bloods continue to rack up the wins with 11 now on the trot and, having beaten every other side in the competition, are the clear front runners for the flag. As such, they will deservedly go in as favourites here.
City’s leg speed has been one of its greatest weapons in 2018 and will look to hurt the Bloods on the transition and score from quick forward entries. However, if Mordi can lock the ball in, their strong midfield bulls should dominate possession.
There won’t be much in it come the final siren, and rest assured the Saints will up for the challenge, but it’s impossible to tip against the Bloods at home.
Mordialloc by 12 points.
Bentleigh V Dingley (Bentleigh Reserve)
A massive eight-point clash between two teams looking to secure the last remaining spot in the top five.
It is also a hugely historic day for the Bentleigh Football Netball Club, with the Demons set to play their 1000th senior competition match.
Bentleigh currently occupies that coveted fifth position, one win clear of sixth-placed Dingley, however, the Dingoes superior percentage means that victory on Saturday will see the two teams trade places.
It’s been a year of mixed results for the Demons, who have sorely missed the impact of big men Matt Troutbeck and Mitch Smart for extended periods. Smart returned to the side last week, brushing out the cob-webs after a six-week absence, and is set to play a key role in the ruck opposing the in-form Simon Hallsworth.
Dingley’s narrow loss to Bentleigh in Round 5 began a horror run that resulted in six losses from seven matches, with a galaxy of stars missing from the side at various stages. Many of these guns have since returned, and so it comes as no surprise the Dingoes have recaptured it form over the last fortnight as a result.
Only one Division 1 premier has ever missed finals the following year (St Kilda City way back in 2003) and victory here will go a long way to helping the Dingoes avoid the ignominy of becoming the second.
Expect a big crowd and a great contest for Bentleigh’s milestone match, but the in-form Dingoes may just spoil the Demons’ party.
Dingley by six points.
Cheltenham V Port Melbourne Colts (Jack Barker Oval)
The Rosellas will be riding a high after last week’s tremendous victory over East Malvern that has kept the club’s season alive.
But the job is not yet done, and victory over Port Colts at home this week is a must if they are to see finals action in 2018.
Cheltenham just snuck over the line in their previous head to head meeting at JL Murphy Reserve, but there is no question both sides have improved since then. As such, this looms as an intriguing encounter.
The Colts sit second bottom, and one more victory should give it enough breathing space over the Heighters to avoid relegation.
Port will take plenty of positives out of last week’s loss to St Pauls, but at Jack Barker Oval, the Rosellas will have the edge.
Cheltenham by 15 points.
St Pauls V Oakleigh District (McKinnon Reserve)
A great response from the Districts last Saturday, who were highly competitive against the competition’s benchmark side after being thrashed by the Saints the previous week.
Their physicality at the contest was exceptional, and they are perhaps a better side than eighth place suggests. If they can maintain that same level of intensity again this week, they are a chance at knocking off St Pauls for the second time this year.
The second-placed Doggies have made a habit of coming from behind to win games this season but fell short against the Oaks in Round 5. They will do everything to ensure they don’t make the same mistake twice and should reverse the previous result at home to keep afloat their minor premiership hopes.
St Pauls by 21 points.