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SFNL MATCH OF THE DAY
Bentleigh Reserve, Arthur Stretet, Bentleigh – 2:15pm
Listen to the SFNL Radio Team’s commentary live on 88.3 Southern FM from 2:00pm or live stream the radio broadcast and get all live scores at sfnllive.com.au
DIVISION 1 – Round 16 Preview
With Good Will Hunter
BENTLEIGH vs DINGLEY (Bentleigh Reserve)
This top-of-the-table clash is easily the match of the round, if not the year, and could very well be a preview of the Division 1 Grand Final.
The Demons were systematically dismantled in their previous clash at Souter Oval back in Round 7, but you can bank on a much more competitive showing from them this time around, especially on their home track.
Despite a hiccup last week, Dingley remains the team to beat and are just one win away from securing the minor premiership. They should claim the points here, although Bentleigh will ensure they won’t have it all their own way.
CHELTENHAM vs EAST MALVERN (Jack Barker Oval)
Although last week’s loss draws the curtain on the Rosellas’ 2016 finals aspirations, the future nevertheless looks pretty rosy down at Jack Barker Oval.
Meanwhile, somebody at East Malvern must have smashed a mirror while walking under a ladder in front of a black cat, such has been the horrendous run of injuries that has decimated the club.
On form, Cheltenham are a huge chance to cause an upset here, but with a top-three berth still within reach, this is a game the Panthers cannot afford to lose.
East Malvern just.
CLAYTON vs MORDIALLOC (Meade Reserve)
A big test of the Clays’ finals credentials as they take on premiership contenders Mordialloc.
Currently out of the five on percentage only, a loss would be a body blow to Clayton’s finals chances. Conversely, a win would make Mordi hard to dislodge from the top three.
It will be interesting to see how the Bloods adapt to the narrow confines of Meade Reserve, and you’d think Clayton will again use the ground’s dimensions to great effect.
This will be a terrific contest, but Mordialloc should get the job done.
ST KILDA CITY vs ST PAULS (Peanut Farm)
A huge day down at the Peanut Farm with the Saints and the Dogs playing for the inaugural Pride Shield in support of the LGBTI community.
And there is much more at stake than just the silverware for St Pauls as they seek a victory to maintain its finals dream.
City were surprise winners in their last head to head clash, but with so much at stake for the Dogs they would be odds-on to reverse that result on Saturday.
OAKLEIGH DISTRICT vs EAST BRIGHTON (Princes Highway Reserve)
There is no better way to stake your claim for a finals berth than wins over the top two sides in consecutive weeks.
The Districts’ form of late has been as impressive as any in the competition, and will be hoping for a big win over the bottom-placed Vampires to maintain its percentage buffer over finals aspirants Clayton and St Pauls.
This could get ugly for East Brighton.
DIVISION 2 – Round 18 Preview
With Jason Barbin
Round 18 is upon us and several clubs enter the round with must win games on their hands with spots in the top five still up for grabs.
SKYE vs HAMPTON (Carrum Downs Reserve)
These two sides face very different situations heading into this clash. While Skye is almost assured a finals spot with three rounds remaining, it has a strong chance to finish in the top three and earn a double chance. But to do that the Bombers must defeat a Hampton side which is fighting tooth and nail for a finals berth and, sitting two games outside of fifth spot, need a win to stay alive. Could be another heartbreaker for the Hammers.
Skye by one point.
PORT MELBOURNE COLTS vs BLACK ROCK (Murphy Reserve)
There isn’t much to say about this game as Black Rock could again struggle against the top ranked team from Port Melbourne. The Colts will look to freshen up their playing list with finals drawing nearer so don’t be surprised if a few players are rested. Regardless, they should be able to notch up another win.
Port Melbourne Colts by 44 points.
MURRUMBEENA vs CHELSEA HEIGHTS (Murrumbeena Park)
If you thought the Skye/Hampton game had a lot riding on it, then get down to Murrumbeena Park to see what will be a very important clash for the home side. With Highett breathing down their necks and going into Round 18 with a winnable game, the Beena need to win to keep their finals hopes alive. Their poor percentage hasn’t hurt them yet, but with Highett enjoying a far superior percentage, it’s win or go home for the Beena. But on the bright side this may be the right time to face the Heighters who are likely to finish second and may look to rest a few players also.
Murrumbeena by two points.
HEATHERTON vs CAULFIELD (Ross Street Reserve)
The Bears have hit a lull at the wrong time of the season and need a win to find some form again before finals. Skye has overtaken them and Caulfield now sits outside the top three for the first time in months and need a win to keep its double chance aspirations alive. Heatherton will be disappointed with last week’s effort and will look to find some good form again to finish the season.
Caulfield by 29 points.
HIGHETT vs SPRINGVALE DISTRICTS (Turner Road Reserve)
This is a game Highett simply cannot afford to lose. With a tough clash against Caulfield next round, a loss here has the potential danger to end their season. But that’s looking too far ahead and the Dogs have been able to win the games they should this season for the most part. Springvale has shown glimpses of good form but the Dogs should be able to claim the four points at home.
Highett by 32 points.
DIVISION 3 – Round 17 Preview
With Andrew Paloczi
LYNDALE vs MOUNT WAVERLEY (Barry Powell Reserve)
Lyndale sits seventh on the ladder, but is only out of the five on percentage.
Although playing at home, the Pumas face a massive challenge against Mount Waverley.
Mount Waverley will remain unbeaten.
James Gough needs eight goals to reach 100 this season.
SOUTH YARRA vs ENDEAVOUR HILLS (Fritsch Holzer Park)
If South Yarra defeats Endeavour Hills, the Lions should experience finals action.
They occupy the fifth rung on the ladder, courtesy of having a superior percentage to Hallam and Lyndale.
The third-placed Falcons will be a stern test.
Endeavour Hills’ spearhead, Daniel Morrison sits fourth on the division’s goal kicking table, with 55 for the season. He has a capable assistant in Shane Peake who has contributed 37 majors in 2016.
Cory Brady leads South Yarra’s goal kicking with 33, but the side has a good spread of players able to make an impact on the scoreboard.
This will be a game featuring finals-like intensity and may be low scoring, but certainly not low on interest.
The Lions will edge out the Falcons and sneak past them on the ladder.
HALLAM vs SANDOWN (Hallam Reserve)
Hallam did too much work early in the season to allow its bid for a finals spot to be ended by Sandown.
The Hawks will need some luck with other results to make the five, but will keep the pressure on other teams in the mix with a comprehensive victory over the Cobras.
LYNDHURST vs ASHWOOD (Marriott Waters Reserve)
Injuries to key players have hurt Ashwood and it is not yet certain to feature in the finals.
The Magpies are just a game ahead of sixth-placed Hallam and seventh-placed Lyndale, and there is very little percentage difference between the three sides.
Fortunately for the Magpies, this week’s opponent is the inexperienced Lyndhurst.
Ashwood will win.
DOVETON EAGLES vs DANDENONG (Power Reserve)
There is little prospect of Dandenong mounting a challenge to Doveton.
It will essentially be a training run for the Eagles and an ideal chance to rest players, and try out others who may play a role in the finals.
Doveton will win this by a big margin.
MOORABBIN vs CARRUM PATTERSON LAKES (Widdop Crescent Reserve)
This is the only game of the round not featuring at least one side with finals aspirations.
Some may consider it a dead rubber, but a win is always worth celebrating and this is likely to be the last realistic hope for either of these sides to accomplish that feat in 2016.
The Kangaroos will do enough to make their final home game for the season a happy occasion.