ROUND 15 PREVIEW
Endeavour Hills vs Heatherton (Barry Simon Reserve)
Endeavour Hills and Heatherton meet for the third time this season.
The Falcons won the sides’ Round 1 clash at Ross Street Reserve by over 15 goals, but prevailed by only 19 points when these teams met again in Round 8.
That second clash took place on Endeavour Hills’ turf.
On that occasion, Heatherton’s determined efforts in defence and the Falcons’ wayward 6.15 (51) kept the contest tight throughout the day.
The Tunners threatened to cause an upset when they briefly hit the lead in the third term.
Still, Endeavour Hills finished with 21 scoring shots to Heatherton’s seven.
It is unlikely the Falcons will be so wasteful this time.
Tunners Ben Clark-Henry and Mehdi Daoud excelled last time against Endeavour Hills and have been in hot form recently.
Reagan Maddaford, who was yet to return to the club when Heatherton last played Endeavour Hills, will assist them in the centre.
Clark-Henry, Maddaford and Daoud will benefit from the superb form of Callum Cusack in the ruck and the Tunners can match the Falcons in the midfield.
However, Endeavour Hills will be too strong overall in an entertaining match.
Ashwood vs Black Rock (Essex Heights Reserve)
Ashwood’s injury blows have forced the Magpies to promote a number of regular reserves players to senior level recently.
These have included Noah and Declan Brooks, Anthony Ticca and Mitch Rossborough.
Even allowing for such challenges, Ashwood’s form of late has been poor and it must improve dramatically in the run to the finals.
This week’s foe, Black Rock, has been unable to get the better of the Magpies in either of the sides’ 2018 encounters.
At the start of the season, Ashwood steamed to a 53-point victory at Black Rock.
The Jets gave a much better account of themselves when they visited the Magpies’ nest in round 8.
Then, they dominated stoppages and impressed coach Lachie Batt with the pressure they applied to their Ashwood opponents.
As has often been the case this season, Black Rock lacked the polish to finish its good work on the scoreboard.
The Magpies did enough to win by three goals in a low scoring affair.
This time, Black Rock enters the contest full of confidence having been competitive against powerhouse Hampton Park last round.
Ashwood though, comes into this match after a confidence-sapping loss to Springvale Districts, in which the Magpies struggled to hit targets.
They were particularly inefficient clearing defence.
Black Rock is likely to do well in the stoppages again this time.
If the Jets seize their forward line opportunities and keep pressure on their Ashwood opponents around the ground, a Black Rock win is a distinct possibility.
That becomes all the more likely should Magpies’ star midfielder Paddy Carroll be suspended after being reported and sent off late in last week’s match.
South Yarra vs Springvale Districts (Fritsch Holzer Park)
A commanding display against Ashwood propelled Springvale Districts to the top of the ladder, edging out Hampton Park on percentage.
The Demons have won their last 11 matches and will make it 12 on the trot against South Yarra.
Springvale Districts won its previous 2018 meetings with the Yarras by margins of 55 and 72 points.
Since the last meeting of these sides, South Yarra’s injury list has grown substantially.
That has greatly eroded the Yarras’ ability to be competitive.
Even allowing for the fact this week’s match is being played at the tricky Fritsch Holzer Park, Springvale Districts should dispatch the Yarras by over 100 points.
Hallam vs Hampton Park (Hallam Reserve)
Hampton Park has restricted Hallam to a total of just nine scoring shots in two matches this season.
In contrast, the Redbacks registered a combined 71 scoring shots in those games, winning by 117 and 115 points.
The relegation-bound Hawks will cop another hiding this week, despite their best efforts and the continued excellent form of Rory McIvor and skipper Jonathan Daly.