Mordialloc V Dingley (Ben Kavanagh Reserve)
ROUND 4 PREVIEW
By Will Hunter
Division 1 is the gift that keeps on giving, with four evenly-match contests line up in Round 4.
Undoubtedly the match of the round, the Bloods and the Dingoes resume hostilities in a top-of-the-table blockbuster at Ben Kavanagh Reserve.
Encounters between Mordialloc and Dingley have produced some cracking matches in recent seasons, and with both teams coming off huge wins last week, it sets up another tantalising contest between two genuine premiership contenders.
The midfield battle looms as an intriguing one, as these teams possess two of the more powerful on-ball brigades in the SFNL. Both sides bat deep in this key area, with each armed with a number of gun ball-winners that are able to rotate through the middle and provide an influence around the stoppages.
There are several quality footballers at either end of the ground that can impact the scoreboard, too. And given both the Dingoes and the Bloods have a plethora of scoring options at their disposal, winning the midfield is key to taking the four points.
This could be an early contender for the game, and may well be a preview of the 2017 Grand Final. Expect this match to go down to the wire, but Mordialloc’s home ground advantage may see it sneak across the line and keep its unbeaten record intact.
Mordialloc by five points.
East Malvern were widely tipped to emerge as one of the leading premiership contenders, however, its start to the season has left plenty to be desired. It has two losses from its opening three matches, with its only victory coming against the lowly Clayton.
However, they have a chance to return to the winners’ list this weekend as they take on an improving Cheltenham.
The Rosellas blew a golden opportunity to claim its second victory of the season last week, so you can expect them to do everything in their power to make amends this week. We expected some mixed performances from them throughout the season, but there are enough quality players in their line up to mix it with the best teams.
Cheltenham are always a tough proposition at Jack Barker Oval, and should take the fight right up to the powerful East Malvern. That said, it seems unfathomable that the Panthers could start the season 1-3, so they should bounce back here and square the ledger in a close one.
East Malvern by 12 points.
St Kilda City’s boom recruits are making every post a winner so far in 2017, and after victories over the 2016 grand finalists in consecutive weeks they sit third on ladder with a healthy percentage.
As such, the Saints are widely expected to be 2017’s big improvers, provided they can keep their senior team on the park.
Oakleigh, meanwhile, sits one rung below St Kilda, and have impressed in its early wins. However, the Peanut Farm is a daunting venue for visiting sides, so expect the Saints to use that to full advantage.
St Kilda City by 27 points.
Few would have tipped the Colts and the Demons to sit in the bottom three, but that is what has transpired. Both teams have lost their last two on the trot, and would be desperate to arrest the slide.
Bentleigh still have several key players to return to the side, but whether they make their return this week or after the Interleague bye remains to be seen. The Colts look like they will be without Mitch Clarke after an injury last weekend, which is a huge loss.
This is another clash that could go either way, but expect the class of this young Bentleigh outfit to prevail in a hard-fought affair.
Bentleigh by eight points.
St Pauls have surprised early in the season, producing two sparkling performances in a row to defeat higher-ranked opponents. Although it’s too early to tell if finals are a reality, the early form of their young pups is heartening.
Conversely, three consecutive thrashings have all but confirmed fears that it will be a long year at Meade Reserve, with the Dogs to inflict more pain on the struggling Clays on Saturday.
St Pauls by 45 points.
ROUND 5 PREVIEW
By Jason Barbin
Round 5 action kicks off this weekend before teams enjoy a week off with interleague footy around the corner.
Easily the two best teams so far this year, despite Skye’s loss to Highett last week, easily making this the game of the round and it should pan out into an absolute thriller.
The Bombers will be disappointed to drop the match to Highett and will be keen to bounce back against Chelsea Heights, with top spot on the line for the winner.
The Heighters are 4-0 and have started to click into gear, making them all the more dangerous, especially at their home deck.
Chelsea Heights by 15 points.
The Dogs are coming off a high after knocking off the Bombers for their first win of their season, while the Vampires are in good form after winning their last two.
Both of these sides consider themselves finals contenders and both will probably be fighting for the fifth and final spot on the ladder come the end of the season.
If that ends up being the case, a win in this round will go a long way in determining who ends up there come seasons end.
East Brighton by 21 points.
Another potentially exciting contest that would likely be match of the round any other week, the Burra host the Bears with each side coming off opposite ends of the spectrum.
Keysborough are 2-1 coming off an excellent win against Murrumbeena while Caulfield is also 2-1, but lost to the upstart Mount Waverley last week.
The Bears will be eager to atone for their disappointing performance last week and will be keen be aggressive at the ball early, but the Burra will be ready for the challenge.
Caulfield by three points.
The Beena remain the only winless team in 2017, but perhaps their best chance for victory comes this week when they host the Districts.
Springvale, however, is coming off the bye and will be raring to go as it looks for its second win of the season.
The Beena arena as always been kind to the host club and I feel like Murrumbeena has played well without getting the reward, a trend that won’t continue this week.
Murrumbeena by 22 points.
This could also be a potentially exciting contest with both sides similarly matched heading into Round 5.
The Tonners had their moments against the Vampires last week, but were unable to get on top while the Lions were excellent against the Bears.
Heatherton always likes playing at home, but there is something about Mount Waverley and its good form that I like.
Mount Waverley by 10 points.
ROUND 4 PREVIEW
By Andrew Paloczi
Whilst Doveton enhanced its reputation with a commanding Round 3 win over Endeavour Hills, Lyndale had a forgettable day against Hallam.
The Pumas will need to raise their standards considerably to be in with a chance against the Eagles.
Better delivery into the forward line is essential.
Doveton is a firm favourite to win this clash.
Sandown coach Ange Sammartino’s aim this season was to turn the Cobras into a competitive unit.
So far his side hasn’t met the challenge, losing its three games by an average of 119 points.
Facing top-placed Ashwood is a daunting prospect, and a Sandown win is out of the question.
The Cobras need to show some spirit for the home fans.
Dandenong is looking to rebuild under coach Nathan Boyd.
Increased competitiveness is the focus this season, but there has been no sign of it yet.
The Redlegs have lost by an average of 121 points so far in 2017.
Endeavour Hills presents another imposing obstacle.
The Falcons will win, but Dandenong must make them work hard.
Carrum Patterson Lakes brings the confidence gained from its first win of the season when it visits Hallam.
The Lions are on track to improve on a disappointing 2016.
Hallam presents a good opportunity for CPL to learn from one of the division’s best sides.
The Hawks will win convincingly, but the Lions should continue to show some positive signs for the future.
Black Rock and Lyndhurst enter their clash with just one win apiece.
Lightning sits seventh, with the Jets 10th.
Both sides would have expected to be better placed and will be desperate not to fall further off the pace.
This has the potential to be the match of the round.
Black Rock should prevail at home.
Moorabbin is yet to prove itself against a strong side and has an opportunity to do so against unbeaten South Yarra.
The Kangaroos need to be at their best to challenge the Lions.
South Yarra’s wins have impressed, with a couple coming at the expense of teams forecast to make the finals.
Playing at home offers Moorabbin encouragement, but the Lions will be too accomplished.
ROUND 4 PREVIEW
By Britt Goldsmith
Bentleigh and Hampton will be looking to bounce back from disappointing losses as they clash with Endeavour Hills and St Pauls respectively, while St Kilda City will host Skye at the Peanut Farm.
Doveton will take on an unbeaten Dingley at Power Reserve, and should relish playing on their home turf.
Hallam will be hoping to continue their impressive form as they do battle against CPL/Keysborough, while Parkmore/Springvale Districts will venture over to the Jack Barker Oval as Cheltenham will be looking to rebound off a disappointing loss to Oakleigh District.
Oakleigh District will sit back and relax this weekend as it is their turn for the fixtured bye.