By Will Hunter
The Panthers and the Districts began the day occupying the fifth and sixth positions on the ladder, both locked on 32 points apiece, with only the winner of this mini Elimination Final to extend its season into September.
And by 5:00pm it was elation for the former and despair for the latter, with East Malvern producing one of its best performances for season in its 39-point victory over Oakleigh District at Princes Highway Reserve.
The visitors shot out of the blocks with a six-goal-to-one opening stanza that ensured the Oaks were playing catch up footy all day. From there, the Panthers were never headed, with superstar Simon Taylor booting six goals in a best afield masterclass.
A further five goals in the final term put the exclamation mark on what was the sweetest of victories for East Malvern, who have endured a turbulent few weeks after much early-season promise.
While the usual suspects in Taylor, Ryan Mullett, Ed Sim, Dean Millhouse and Jimmy Dowling all fired, Panthers coach Ben Lockwood was pleased to see plenty of support provided by his mid-tier players, which will hold them in good stead come next week’s Elimination Final.
Jake Mullen booted three goals in a stellar performance for the Oaks, with Paul Fermanis, Pat Carroll and Dave Velardo also contributing.
It was a case of déjà vu for the Dingoes as St Pauls again came from behind to defeat the minor premiers, this time by nine points in a terrific contest at the Den.
Dingley had its nose in front for most of match, albeit by a slender margin, and clung to a three-point lead at the final change in what was an enthralling contest.
But as they have done for most of the season, St Pauls came home with a wet sail, booting the only two goals of the last quarter to steal an unlikely victory, while the Dingoes were left to rue several missed opportunities in front of goal.
It was an even team performance from the Doggies, with Brad Gilder, Rhys Peet, Trent McIntyre and Sandringham Zebra James Sziller leading the charge.
Cal McQueen dominated up forward for the vanquished Dingoes, booting six of his team’s seven goals to claim his second consecutive Division 1 Superboot Award, five goals clear of the next best Bulldog Steve Muller, who finished with just one for the day.
Cheltenham entered Round 18 as a mathematical chance, albeit at long odds, to sneak into the finals. And while the dominoes didn’t fall their way, they nevertheless finished season 2017 on high with a dominant 67-point win over the Colts at the Portress.
Port Melbourne were competitive early, and with Lewis Mildenhall, Jake Wood, Blake Twomey leading in the thick of the action, they stayed within three goals of the Rosellas at the major break.
But the visitors found another level after the oranges, piling on nine goals to one to blow the Colts out of the water.
Big Sean McLaren booted five majors in a sparkling best on ground performance, while Will McTaggart chimed in with three. Chris Bennetts, Jack Barclay and Daniel Vaughan were also influential.
St Kilda City’s topsy-turvy season has ending in dismal circumstances, thrashed by Mordialloc to the tune of 130 points at the Peanut Farm.
The woeful Saints could manage only two goals to three quarter time, by which stage the margin was already well beyond triple figures. While they gave their home fans something to cheer with four majors in the final term, the Bloods again stole the thunder with six up the other end.
Ben Humphrey and Scott Bradley shared nine goals between them, while the dynamic duo of Todd Bastion and Tom McMahon worked brilliantly in tandem around the contests.
Mark Tasiyan played a lone hand up forward with three goals for the Saints, with Tom Looi and Ray Lengyel also contributing around the ground.
The Demons will enter the 2017 Finals Series with a full head of steam after obliterating a demoralised Clayton by a mammoth 214 points at Bentleigh Reserve.
A lacklustre second term that yielded 3.8 was perhaps the only blot on the copybook for the home side, who were ruthless from start to finish as they registered a scarcely-believable 63 scoring shots to the Clays’ four.
No fewer than 15 Demons joined the goal-scoring party, with Sam McGarry topping the list with a bag of five. James Kiernan (four goals), Mitch Smart and Chris Yenofkian were all instrumental for Bentleigh, though winners could be found on every line.
Although they fought a losing battle, Joel Rigoni and Matt Wilson could hold their heads up high after their commendable performances.
By Jason Barbin
After 20 rounds of high octane action, the Southern Football Netball League Division 2 season is over and the top five officially settled.
After predicting several upsets, I was a little off the mark, but the one upset came at the hands of Springvale Districts against Skye.
Springvale went into the off-season on a high note after overcoming fifth-ranked side Skye with a spirited four-quarter performance.
The Districts took advantage during the first half, booting six goals to two to set up the seven-point win.
Stefan Feehan capped off an excellent season as a key forward, booting three goals to bring his tally to 42, while Peter Heng was best on ground.
The Bombers enjoyed the spoils in the first quarter, taking an eight-point lead into the first change, before the Districts hit back with five goals in the second to lead by 22.
Skye slowly started to inch its way back into the contest during the second half, outscoring Springvale six goals to four, but it wasn’t enough as it went down at the final siren.
Michael Kelly and Tim Barr were best afield for the Bombers.
Keysborough put the top five on notice with blistering performances from Tim Werner and Chris Bryan setting up a 62-point triumph.
The pair combined for 15 of the Burra’s 24 goals in the match, and were subsequently named the best players on the ground.
Keysborough started off strongly, with five goals in the first and a staggering nine goals in the second setting up a 51-point half time advantage.
The scoring slowed down marginally in the third, with each side kicking three apiece, before the Burra sealed the win with a seven-goal final term.
Mark Jamieson finished with four goals for the Vampires, while Andrew Jansen was best on.
Caulfield did its confidence the world of good heading into the finals, completing a stunning demolition of Hampton on Saturday.
After leading by 63 points at half time, the Bears piled on another 13 goals in the second half to win by triple figures.
Amazingly, 15 players kicked goals for the winners, with Tom Heagney the only player to kick three, with seven players bagging two.
Ned Lanyon and Chris Ryall were named best on.
Caulfield mildly set the tone early with a four goal opening term, before putting the Hammers to the sword in the second, with seven goals setting up a massive advantage.
Another nine goals in the third further exemplified their willingness to go into the finals at full speed, before settling with another four in the last.
Luke Hayes and Guy Timms finished as Hampton’s best.
Murrumbeena ensured it would go into its Elimination Final clash against Skye in winning form after a hard-fought win against Mount Waverley.
The upstart Lions, who surprised many including this columnist with their tenacity, pushed the Beena until the very end, but five goals to the victors in the last got the job done.
Jake Semmel was outstanding with four majors in a best on ground performance, while Jarrod Walker was also impressive.
Mount Waverley led at each of the first three breaks, kicking four goals to two in the first, before having its lead cut down to two by half time.
The two sides were on level pegging during the third term, but in the end Murrumbeena flew home with five goals to two in the last, setting up the 14-point win.
Alex Mullucks finished the match with four goals, while Michael Keem was in stellar form.
By Andrew Paloczi
By Daniel Ewart
Bentleigh finished off their home and away season with a 24-point win over Hampton that was, perhaps, a bit kind on the scoreboard to the away side.
Up until half time the game was a close one with neither side able to get on top for an extended period leading to a six-point margin to the Demons at the main break.
The game was blown open in the third with Bentleigh managing 2.6 to Hampton’s measly two behinds and in what was a low scoring game, there was no way back for the visitors.
Ryan Nankervis was among the best for Bentleigh, kicking two goals, while Corey Hesline was also influential for the home side. For Hampton, Troy Smith was again a standout, continuing his good form.
Skye were handed a sound defeat in their last game before the finals by another finals bound team in the form of Parkmore/Springvale.
Parkmore/Springvale shot out of the gate with a dominant first quarter of six goals to lead by 22 at quarter time before the second and third quarters provided no further goals for either side.
It wasn’t until the final term when Parkmore/Springvale killed the game off led by Moevao Lega Frost, who kicked five goals, and Jordan Waite, who kicked two to add to his lead atop the goal kicking charts. In what was a disappointing day for Skye, Ashley Burks and Erem Vaipo were the best players.
St Kilda City finished off the home and away season with a demolition job of Endeavour Hills, emerging as 93-point victors at the Peanut Farm.
Ralton Williams and Ayang Nyanjok were among the best for the Saints, kicking eight goals between them and providing a constant attacking threat.
For the visitors, Alex Doran and Harrison Malone were the standouts on an otherwise underwhelming day.
The closest game of the final round took place down in Oakleigh, where Hallam defeated the home side by just three points.
The game was close throughout with Oakleigh District holding the lead at half time by just a goal and by two points at three-quarter time.
It was Hallam’s three goals in the last quarter that gave them the victory, in what was a must-win game in order to ensure a second-place finish
Dingley were too strong for a St Pauls team that has been up and down all season, coming away 39-point winners at Souter Oval.
A second quarter barrage of goals set up the win for the Dingoes and from there St Pauls were no match.
The Doggies had a small resurgence in the third quarter, but ultimately the margin was too large for them to reel it back all the way.
Carmine Scimia was best on ground for Dingley, kicking three goals, and he was well supported by Justin Frappier and Sebastian Zammit. For St Pauls, Ben Lindsey and Ben Gowland were among the best.