Division 1 – Round One Preview
It’s been a long wait but at last footy in the SFNL is back! With the appetite for local footy sky high, the 2021 season promises to be a cracker with plenty of big games to sink the teeth into in Round One.
Friday Night’s clash between St Kilda City and Port Melbourne Colts is befitting of the big stage, with numerous former AFL players headlining both sides. With names such as Aaron Edwards, Dane Swan and Marley Williams on both teams lists, this is one clash you won’t want to miss!
The Colts are coming off a thumping Good Friday win over Oakleigh District and will head to the Peanut Farm full of confidence. All eyes will be on several of St Kilda City’s recruits and we’ll find out whether the Saints can put together four quarters of consistent footy.
East Malvern play host to Oakleigh District on Saturday afternoon with the Panthers looking to build on strong campaigns in their two previously completed seasons. Big bodied midfielder Ed Sim returns to the Zoo after a few seasons away and will provide some much-needed extra grunt for the Panthers.
District endured a tough 2019 season, finishing with just the one win and a bottom of the table finish. Unfortunately, they didn’t fare any better in their recent standalone Good Friday clash going down in a 102-point drubbing at the hands of the Colts. They’ll be eager to put in a better show this weekend.
Reigning premiers Dingley will finally get the chance to unfurl their 2019 flag when they welcome Mordialloc to Souter Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Dingoes last competitive appearance saw them lift their fourth premiership cup in five years, solidifying a golden era in Southern history. It seems only Covid can stop them from adding to the trophy cabinet in recent times.
They’ll face a stern test against the Bloods first up however, with several big signings making their way down to Ben Kavanagh Reserve. The headline act is former Karingal and MPNFL star Callan Dixon putting pen to paper for season 2021, with the rebounding defender sure to add a touch of class to the Bloods lineup. Young defender Dylan Gregson has also made the switch from Karingal to Mordi and will slot in nicely to a formidable looking back six. This one should be a belter!
Highett kick off their season with a clash against the 2019 runners up, Cheltenham at Turner Road Reserve. The Doggies endured a tough season two years back, with just two wins in their campaign despite being competitive in patches.
Cheltenham on the other hand have endured a torturous wait to avenge their 2019 Grand Final defeat to the Dingoes. The Rosellas have been perennial teasers in Division 1 but finally seemed to put the pieces together in a scintillating 2019 season. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t cap it off with a well deserved flag, but the building blocks are still very much in place for them to have another red-hot crack in 2021.
Bentleigh host St Paul’s in a Saturday night local derby, with both sides pushing for finals appearances in 2021. The Demons just missed out on September action in their last campaign, finishing with a win-loss record of 9-9 and will be keen to take the next step in 2021. St Paul’s will be looking to rebound from a shattering elimination final loss to the Colts, with the Premiership window still well and truly ajar for the Doggies. This should be a cracking match up with the four points always so crucial in the first game of the season.
Division 2 – Round One Preview
The first full round of Division 2 football gets underway this weekend with several teams eager to stamp their authority on the competition for 2021.
The Easter weekend saw both East Brighton and Springvale Districts chalk up thumping wins and they’ll be looking to continue that good form on Saturday afternoon.
Still smarting from their uncharacteristic poor loss to Doveton in the 2019 Grand Final, Springy had too much class for an understrength Hampton Park and will be looking to make it two from two when they travel to face Caulfield at Koornang Park.
Whilst the Bears finished 6th
on the table in 2019, the fact that they finished five games outside of the top five shows the gap between themselves and the top sides. Nonetheless they have a fantastic opportunity to claim a big scalp first up on their home deck.
East Brighton host Murrumbeena in an intriguing matchup that should give us an indication of where both teams are at early doors. Coming off a crushing win over the Tunners, the Vampires will be full of confidence taking on one of the stronger sides in recent years.
Whilst Beena have had some talent go out the door they’ve managed to attract able replacements and should be looking at another successful season on field.
Keysborough kick off their season against a wounded Hampton Park in what shapes as the match of the round. The Redbacks were competitive in patches in their loss to Springvale but will be desperate to avoid going 0-2 in their start to life as a Division 2 club.
Keysborough once again look like one of the premier sides this season and should be setting their sights on a top two finish.
Chelsea Heights host Heatherton at Beazley Reserve in what looks a fairly lopsided match up on paper. The Demons have been busy in the off season with an influx of players making their way across to Thames Promenade from the MPNFL.
With plenty of expectation on the Heighters to turn their fortunes around after a dismal 2019 campaign, nothing but a win here will do against the Tunners.
The final match of the round sees Skye play host to Hampton. After finishing 5th
in 2019, the Hammers have gone through a transitional phase off the field with changes to both the coaching and leadership group set up.
The Bombers will be looking to improve following just four victories in 2019 and have the perfect opportunity to get off the mark here.