Round 17 Previews
DIVISION 1 with JASON BARBIN
With only 2 rounds of the Home and Away season left, only the top 2 spots on the ladder seem to be decided. With several critical games featured, expect the ladder to shake up a bit.
East Brighton vs Cheltenham
East Brighton have been the best team in the comp for the last 2 months and are the ones to watch come finals time. Cheltenham have been up and down yet still sit in 5th place, but the pressure is coming from below. A critical game for the Rosellas, but the Vampires should be too strong.
East Brighton by 32 points.
St Pauls vs Clayton
St Pauls are just cruising along in the last few rounds as they prepare for their finals campaign. As they are 2 games clear of the rest, donít be surprised if they rest a few bodies ahead of the finals. This could result in an upset as the Clays must win this game if they are any chance to play finals.
St Pauls by 16 points.
St Kilda City vs East Malvern
This looms as an intriguing contest as the Saints could potentially jump two ladder positions and into the 5 if other results go their way. Percentage will also play a part as they trail Cheltenham by 5%. East Malvern have all but assured they will not be relegated and could potentially play spoilers.
St Kilda City by 24 points.
Heatherton vs Highett
Though not an exciting contest on paper this is one of the games of the round, purely because the team who wins has the best chance of remaining in Division 1 for the 2014 season. Highett are sitting last but have improved their play recently while Heathertonís form has been better but not good enough to get them into winning positions. Heatherton has the advantage of being at home and that could be enough.
Heatherton by 12 points.
Chelsea Heights vs Dingley
Clearly the match of the round in Round 17, the winner of this game will finish top 3 and have the double chance come finals time. Chelsea Heights have the advantage, winning their only other encounter this year, but the Dingoes will be looking to redeem themselves after being easily dealt with by the Vampires. Going to be a close one.
Dingley by 2 points.
DIVISION 2 with THE FOOTY TRAGIC†
Mordialloc vs Springvale Districts
5th place at home to 3rd. Plenty of teams will be keen on the outcome of this game. These two teams should play finals and this game should be a cracker! I think Springy might get up here; they had a percentage booster against South Yarra last week and Mordi struggled against Bentleigh. Springvale to just about sew up 3rd spot with a win here.
Caulfield vs Bentleigh
Bentleigh should not have too much trouble against the Bears.† In saying that, Bentleigh has put in a couple of shockers during the season and wonít want to take Caulfield lightly. The Bears would love to get a scalp before the season ends! Too close to finals for Bentleigh to falter though.
Hampton vs†South Yarra
Hampton should win this. South Yarra will try hard and would love to get a win on the board before season's end, but I donít think they can win the last match at home against Mordialloc, so this is probably their last chance for a victory. Wonít happen though, unfortunately for them.
Oakleigh District vs Murrumbeena
A must win game for Murrumbeena; their season could depend on this match, which should be a humdinger! Oakleighís finals spot is not up for grabs, but they only just got home against Hampton last week and will be keen to bounce back into Premiership contention. I think Oakleigh will win and make Round 18 a real nail biting round for Murrumbeena and Skye.
Skye vs Moorabbin
Skye are taking on all comers and are determined to hold their Final 5 spot. Moorabbin should not be a major obstacle this week, but still need to be beaten. Moorabbin are never easy beats, but Skye should maintain their rich vein of form and will go into Round 18 still in the top 5.
DIVISION 3 with GOOD WILL HUNTER
With the minor premiership and wooden spoon already decided, all the action in Round 17 focuses on that all-important fifth spot.
Lyndale absolutely must win this week if they are to leapfrog Ashwood into the five. And it will not be easy as they travel to Mayfield Reserve to play Mount Waverley. A loss here will almost certainly see them out of business for 2013, so Iím expecting them to come out firing. An upset is certainly a possibility; particularly given Mount Waverley are not playing spectacular footy. The Pumas did cause an upset when the two sides met in Round 8, but the Mountain Lions are a much better side at home and Iím tipping they will get over the line here.
A win for Ashwood this week will also make it very difficult for the Pumas. They take on the ever-improving Black Rock at Essex Heights Reserve and will be keen to shore up a finals berth as soon as they can. The Jets will certainly not make it easy for them, and they have a knack of upsetting finals contenders. Having said that, the Magpies have much to play for and I reckon they will win in a close one.
Sandown hosts Carrum Patterson Lakes at Edinburgh Reserve in a clash that both sides are capable of winning. The Cobras are a talented side, but will be September spectators after dropping some winnable games during the year. With the Lions having now put themselves in a position to challenge for the flag, I thing they will get the points in this one.
Over at Greaves Reserve, Dandenong takes on Endeavour Hills. The winless Falcons fought hard last week, but I donít think the Redlegs will take them as lightly. Dandenong will win this easily.
The final game sees Hallam host Doveton at Hallam Reserve. The Eagles are one of the most dominant sides Division 3 has seen in years and unfortunately this will be another blowout Ė Doveton to win by plenty.
UNDER 19s with GOOD WILL HUNTER†
Kicking off Round 17 is an important clash between St Pauls and Clayton at McKinnon Reserve. A win here for the Doggies will eliminate Chelsea Heights from the finals race. Claytonís form hasnít been too flash in recent weeks, so I think the Doggies will get up here.
Chelsea Heightsí slim finals hopes hinge on a win this week over Dingley at Beazley Reserve. The Dingoes looked very good last Saturday and unfortunately for the Heighters, they should win this.
Down at the Hangar, Skye takes on Murrumbeena. Beena are trying to get into some solid form before their finals campaign and will be keen for a win here. But the Bombers are a strong side, and fresh off the bye will be too good at home.
The final game sees Hampton clash with Bentleigh at the Toolbox. The Hammers have had a good month, but had a disappointing outing last week at the Den. Bentleigh, on the other hand, are going from strength to strength and are looking increasingly likely to be there in the premiership decider. Iím tipping a big win here for the Demons.