ROUND 16 PREVIEW
With the home and away season nearing its end, round 16 is highlighted by a couple of clashes between top-four sides.
Hampton Park vs Ashwood (Robert Booth Reserve)
Whilst Ashwood deserves its place amongst this year’s finalists, the Magpies appear set to enter the post-season period as firm outsiders.
None of The 5th Quarter radio crew, this member included, expects Ashwood to hold aloft the premiership cup.
Opinion is divided on which club will experience grand final glory. But Springvale Districts, Hampton Park and Endeavour Hills are the only clubs perceived to be in the running for promotion to Division 2.
However, it must be noted the Mick Rossborough coached Magpies have proved they can challenge the big three.
They have beaten Endeavour Hills once this season and have pushed Springvale Districts and Hampton Park.
In the Round 9 clash with this week’s opponent, Hampton Park, Ashwood went down by just five points.
With games against bottom sides in Rounds 17 and 18, this week offers the last chance for the Magpies to spruik their premiership credentials ahead of the finals.
Hampton Park will be determined to maintain its psychological advantage over this week’s foe by knocking off Ashwood for the third time this season.
The Redbacks enjoyed a 55-point win over the Magpies in Round 2.
Hampton Park starts as a worthy favourite in what will be a competitive and entertaining match.
Springvale Districts vs Endeavour Hills (Springvale Reserve)
Top of the table Springvale Districts hosts third-placed Endeavour Hills.
These sides have evenly split their two 2018 clashes.
Endeavour Hills won by seven points at home in round 2, but the Demons triumphed by three goals at Springvale Reserve in the return bout.
That is the setting for this week’s contest.
Interestingly, both battles between these sides have been characterised by low scoring, with Springvale Districts 6.8 (44) in round 9 the highest total achieved.
Expect finals-like intensity this week and goals to again come at a premium.
This will be a cracker, but Springvale Districts will have a marginal edge at home.
Heatherton vs Hallam (Ross Street Reserve)
Last time Heatherton hosted Hallam, the home side was fortunate to hang on by a point, with a last-moment Hawks’ kick registering just a behind.
Although it failed to reap any reward in that match, Hallam demonstrated vast improvement, having been spanked by 65 points when the Tunners visited earlier in the season.
The concern for the Hawks remains their over reliance on skipper Jonathan Daly and Rory McIvor.
Since Hallam almost got the better of Heatherton in Round 9, the Tunners have strengthened their line up with the addition of classy midfielder Reagan Maddaford.
That makes it significantly more challenging for the Hawks to match Heatherton in the centre.
The Tunners will be determined not to leave the outcome to chance this time and should achieve a comfortable win.
Black Rock vs South Yarra (MacDonald Reserve)
Black Rock has won both its 2018 encounters with South Yarra, by 57 and 24 points.
To South Yarra’s credit it fought out that second clash, despite early injuries leaving it severely disadvantaged in terms of rotations.
The Jets were not able to shake off the stubborn Yarras until the third term.
Still, for all South Yarra’s determination it has won just two games this season, both against bottom side Hallam.
Black Rock will ensure that remains the case, boosting the Jets’ hopes of finishing the season as the best of the non-finalists.