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Division 1 – Semi Final Review
With Good Will Hunter
SECOND SEMI FINAL
Dingley 9.11 (65) def Oakleigh District 8.7 (55)
The Dingoes are the first team through to the 2016 Division 1 Grand Final after eclipsing Oakleigh District by 10 points in Saturday’s Second Semi Final at Springvale Reserve.
Little separated the two teams for most of the afternoon in a high-quality contest, but the defending Division 1 champions rose to the occasion in the last quarter to see off the challenge from the upstart Oaks.
Oakleigh started the stronger of the two sides and did much of the early attacking. Their persistence was rewarded with the opening goal of the game, which was promptly followed up with another a minute later to a jump out to a 12-point lead at the nine-minute mark.
Kristen Feehan set up Marcus Freeman for the Dingoes’ only major of the term in the shadows of time on, but their wasteful 1.6 saw them face a narrow deficit at the first change. However, this was eradicated minutes after the resumption with two goals in less than 60 seconds.
More than 13 minutes of end to end footy ensued before a Dave Velardo special from 50m out on the boundary line inspired the Districts, who went on to reclaim a two-point lead at half time.
The two sides traded goals for much of the third before two in a minute to the Oaks late in the term pushed them out to an 11-point lead with a quarter to play.
The Oaks were hoping for a positive start to the final stanza, and their prayers were answered when Ryan Pearson sharked a boundary throw in and sent a left-foot snap sailing between the uprights. They were out to a game-high 15-point lead just five minutes into the last and an upset was on the cards.
But Dingley refused to accept defeat and duly lifted its intensity. Oakleigh had no answer to their midfield dominance, and the Dingoes stormed home with the last four goals of the game to secure a well-deserved victory.
Trav La Rocca and Tony Lavars won heaps of the footy and provided plenty of drive out of the back half for the winners, while up the other end Marcus Freeman starred with three goals, two of which came late in the last quarter to seal victory.
Through the midfield, Kane Davidson was simply unstoppable with his outside run and Chris Horton-Milne provided the grunt at the stoppages.
But perhaps the most influential player on the ground was ruckman Stu Cleeve, who not only outclassed his opposite number in Yaz Malcolm, but also did a power of work around the ground with ball in hand.
For the Oaks, it was again Brody Hodic and Pat Carroll standing tall down back and Pearson and Andy Howison showing their class around the stoppages.
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Pat Carroll looks for a target.[/caption]
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Stu Cleeve wins another hitout.[/caption]
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Chris Horton-Milne clears the ball.[/caption]
FIRST SEMI FINAL
Bentleigh 7.13 (55) def East Malvern 7.8 (50)
This was a game that was far from pretty, but Bentleigh did enough to hold off a fast-finishing East Malvern and record a five-point victory in their do-or-die Semi Final at Springvale Reserve on Sunday.
It was a dour and intensely physical contest that was highlight by a ferocious, almost kamikaze attack on the ball from both teams. As a result of the aggression and physicality around the contest, neither side could settle into a rhythm and get any flow throughout the midfield.
However, the Demons and the Panthers did themselves no favours as they approached the forward arcs, frequently turning the ball over with haphazard disposal before they could put themselves in scoring positions. As a consequence, it took more than 14 minutes before East Malvern’s Lachie Dowling could break the deadlock with the game’s first major.
Bentleigh added two of their own just before the quarter time siren to give themselves an eight-point lead at the first change.
Unfortunately, there would be no addition to the goals tally in the second quarter as both combatants refused to concede any ground to their opponent. The low-scoring slug fest was far from compelling viewing, but it ensured the game was delicately poised at the half with the Demons holding an eight-point advantage.
Thankfully the game opening up greatly after the long break as both sides added a goal each within the opening minute of the third term.
But with Scott Lawry providing plenty of drive through the centre, Bentleigh hit their straps, adding three of the next four goals to blow their lead out to 25 points – a significant buffer in the context of the match.
Two Panthers then managed to breathe new life into the game with consecutive goals either side of three quarter time, and while Bentleigh squandered opportunities to put the game away in the last quarter, they defensive efforts helped hold the Panthers at bay.
Not even two late Lachie Dowling goals, including one on the final siren, could steal victory as the Demons held on in a heart stopper.
Lawry was a prolific ball winner and the clear standout for the Demons, while Barama Blow’s ferocity at the contest won him plenty of admirers.
The efforts of the McGarry boys, Josh and Sam, were also noteworthy around the ground and Brody Lawford’s two goals were also telling.
Nick McCann, Nick Barry and Lewis Fitzgerald were all impressive for East Malvern.
Listen back to the SFNL Radio Team's call of the Division 1 First Semi Final in the player below.
Division 2 – Semi Final Review
With Jason Barbin
The Southern Football Netball League enjoyed plenty of Semi Final action at Cheltenham’s Jack Barker Oval, but the two matches turned into one-sided contests with one team booking their spot in the Grand Final in two weeks’ time.
SECOND SEMI FINAL
Port Melbourne Colts 16.12 (108) def Caulfield 7.6 (48)
From start to finish Port Melbourne was simply too good for Caulfield and booked its spot in the 2016 division two grand final with relative ease against a side that probably didn’t perform at its absolute best.
But nonetheless the Colts deserved to win the game, with David McGregor the star up forward with four goals, while the ever reliable pair of Luke Mildenhall and Justin Taylor were awarded best on ground honours for their efforts.
The Colts took control of the game right from the outset, booting five goals in the first quarter while conceding just one to the Bears to take a 25-point lead in the first change.
The second term was slightly less entertaining with only one goal recorded by Port Melbourne before the minor premiers booted another three goals to two in the third term to give themselves a 41-point lead at the final break.
Port Melbourne turned it on again in the final term, booting seven goals and while Caulfield played a much better brand of football which resulted in four goals, the game was well and truly over with the Colts claiming a 60-point win.
Josh Lee and Christian Trumble were named as Caulfield’s best.
Listen back to the SFNL Radio Team's call of the Division 2 Second Semi Final in the player below.
FIRST SEMI FINAL
Chelsea Heights 19.8 (122) def Skye 11.11 (77)
Football is a funny game and it just goes to show that if you want to win, you need to play four quarters of good football.
That wasn’t the case for the Bombers as a lapse in the third quarter allowed Chelsea Heights turn this match from an exciting, pressure-filled thriller to a one-sided affair.
Skye only trailed the Heighters by one point at the half time interval but fell apart in the third term, conceding seven goals while kicking only one behind as the game slowly became out of reach.
Phil Smith again showed why he is the best forward in Division 2 with a second consecutive seven-goal haul in the finals while Jordan Peryman was again outstanding alongside Dale Hynes.
The first half was one of the most thrilling of the season with both sides going hammer and tong at the footy. Skye took a six-point lead into the first break with slight inaccuracy costing them a bigger advantage.
Chelsea Heights hit back in the second term to boot three goals to two, and taking a narrow one-point lead into half time.
It all fell part for Skye in the third term, with Chelsea Heights booting seven majors to one behind to take a 47-point lead into the final term which was entertaining in itself, despite the game being well and truly in hand, with both sides combining to kick 12 goals.
In the end though the Heighters had the game wrapped up, winning by 45 points.
James Bateman was Skye’s best on ground with three majors alongside Aaron Pacey.
Photos courtesy of Memento Sports.
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The high-flying Luke Behin.[/caption]
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Great hands from Lachy Dobson.[/caption]
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Tim Barr (right) celebrate one of his two goals with skipper Aaron Pacey.[/caption]
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Big Phil Smith bags one of his seven goals.[/caption]
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No matter what happens out on the field, Skye coach Ben Walker's hair remains immaculate.[/caption]
Division 3 – Preliminary Final Review
With Andrew Paloczi
Doveton Eagles 10.12 (72) def by Ashwood 13.8 (86)
Heatherton Recreation Reserve was to be the sole venue for the Division 3 finals series, but fickle Melbourne weather played its part.
Instead, the venue became the fifth location used in as many matches.
Ashwood coach Mick Rossborough ensured his players moved on quickly from a hefty Semi Final loss to Mount Waverley.
He told them they still had an opportunity in the Preliminary Final.
The Magpies wasted no time making amends, taking charge early against Doveton and not allowing the Eagles any momentum.
Three first quarter goals to Frank Martinicchio helped set the tone and the Magpies made good use of the breeze to grab a 26-point lead by the first break.
At the huddle, Rossborough stressed the need to capitalise on the good start.
“This is the big quarter,” he said.
So it proved, with his team booting four goals into the breeze.
Mitch Saunders got things going with a set-shot goal five minutes in and he added another later in the term.
His teammates Jake Chapman and Dale Carroll also contributed second-quarter goals, helping their side to a 46-point lead at the interval.
By that stage Doveton had just a couple of goals, one in each term.
The Eagles threatened to apply pressure in the third stanza, but squandered too many chances.
Martinicchio helped ensure they were punished for kicking behinds.
He added a couple more goals to his tally and Brad Hemphill and Jordan Gaylard also hit the target.
The Magpies kicked four goals straight for the term.
Eagles’ ruckman Clint Wilson worked hard throughout the game.
“Anything can happen,” he told his teammates at the final change.
When the action recommenced the Eagles showed positive signs, but quickly hit the same brick wall they struggled to get past all day.
That wall was Matt Maginnes who marked for Ashwood in the backline.
He was undoubtedly the best player on the ground and a major reason why his side held off a fast finishing Eagles’ unit.
That mark was one of many he took throughout the match. Doveton’s midfielders must have been fed up with seeing their speculative kicks into the forward line finish up in his hands.
Despite the challenge presented by Ashwood’s defence, the Eagles persisted.
This began to pay off when Darren Ramsdale nailed a goal at the four-minute mark of the final term.
While majors started coming for Doveton, they dried up for Ashwood.
When Eagle Emelio Williams was paid a free kick close to goal he made no mistake, bringing the margin back to just 14 points.
Still a couple of minutes short of time on, another quick goal could have given Doveton hope.
As it transpired there was very little time added. Another defensive mark from Maginnes in the dying stages ensured there would be no addition to the score.
Alex Salama was named the winner’s next best behind Maginnes.
Martinicchio’s five majors represented his best return for the season.
For the vanquished Eagles, Clint Wilson was named the best, ahead of Brett Hidgcock and the cheeky Ricky Johnson.
Johnson once again belied his youth, gathering a multitude of possessions. Not for the first time this season, he seemed unaware of his diminutive stature and was keen to yap away at a much larger opponent.
Another Eagle who deserves mention is Jarrod O’Neill who returned from injury to boot three goals.
Injuries have featured prominently in 2016 for both Preliminary Final sides and it is a credit to them they have prospered in spite of the setbacks.
Coach Rossborough has advised his players to enjoy the week and the build up to the Grand Final.
Challenges don’t come much tougher than Mount Waverley, but the beauty of a Grand Final is that it comes down to that one day.
Despite the odds, the Magpies will arrive on Saturday believing they can add a third senior premiership to the 31-year-old club’s trophy cabinet.
Under 19 – Semi Final Review
With Alex Charles
It was a closely-fought weekend of action reminding us of what finals is all about.
Hampton advanced to the Grand Final after a tense 15-point win over St Kilda City. The minor premiers have been a class above for the duration of the season and will be tough to beat on the last day in September. But after having the same amount of scoring shots as the Saints, Hampton will be wary of a rematch if the Saints are to be successful in the Prelim.
This game was incredibly up and down. While Hampton led at each change, the margins were a mere five, 11 and 15 points. The Saints were always on the edge of getting in front by couldn’t manage to do so when it mattered most. Nevertheless, they’ll be upbeat about the result and their chances of forcing a rematch.
The Hammers can thank some classy individual efforts for escaping with the win. James Gascard and Ryan Carroll’s two and four goals respectively were vital. However, stopping Mykelti Lefau and limiting him to just one goal proved to be most significant ultimately underpinned by a strong defensive and midfield effort.
Attention now turns to St Kilda City and Oakleigh District who will face off in the Preliminary Final. St Kilda, having won last season’s premiership, will be looking to use all of their finals experience to bounce back from a heartbreaking defeat to the Hammers.
For Oakleigh, they are every chance of winning this game after beating a red-hot St Pauls outfit. The Bulldogs were slight favourites despite finishing lower on the ladder. They were unfortunately surprised but you have to give credit to Oakleigh for their complete performance.
A 31-point win in a knockout final against one of the league’s strongest attacking times is evidence this side could go all the way. However, it wasn’t without a contest. The first half saw only seven goals between both sides as Oakleigh held a slim four-point lead. Their third term proved vital, with spearhead, Liam McCabe, standing up when it mattered most as his side took a 29-point lead into the final quarter. Both sides managed three goals each
As mentioned, McCabe, one of his side’s best players all season, was absolutely crucial when the game got tough on his way to a seven-goal haul. St Pauls were unable to bring their early-season scoring power to the most important fixture of the season but there is no doubt their talented list will be back in full force for 2017.
Oakleigh, having finished third behind St Kilda and Hampton during the regular season will be looking to leapfrog both on their way to a premiership. If conditions suit, there is no reason why this can’t occur.
Hampton will be eagerly awaiting the result and we’d like to wish the remaining sides the best of luck over the next two weeks!