With week one of the finals out of the way, four teams lock heads, each fighting to play on that last day of football in September.
St Pauls vs East Brighton
Round 2 – St Pauls defeated East Brighton 17.17.119 to 9.6.60
Round 11 – East Brighton defeated St Pauls 7.13.55 to 6.8.44
This is the match we have all been waiting for. 1st vs 2nd for a spot in the 2013 grand final. With both teams expecting key players to return from injury, this game could be one for the ages. East Brighton will be looking for their 14th win in a row and are currently playing their best football for the year. This will hold them in good stead against a St Pauls side who had the week off. It will be interesting to see if the week off will help or hinder the Bulldogs who will be relying on key forward Luke James to get on top early. Vampire defender Liam Bowman should get first crack at the gun forward and he should have plenty of help from the likes of Tait Sabec and Nathan Stewart. Vampire half forward Matt Jamieson is in superb form coming off a 6 goal haul and will take advantage of the attention Dean Francis will get from the Dogs backline. It will be interesting to see if returning midfielders Dean Williamson and Jay Bruno match up against each other as both players have match winning ability. Hard to split these two teams and it should be close.
East Brighton by 9 points.
Dingley vs Chelsea Heights
Round 9 – Chelsea Heights defeated Dingley 8.11.59 to 6.9.45
Round 17 – Dingley defeated Chelsea Heights 14.14.98 to 5.10.40
Dingley take on Chelsea Heights in what will be an interesting Semi Final clash. The Dingoes are coming off a comprehensive loss to the Vampires while the Heighters are coming off a come from behind win. The Dingoes should regain Luke Bartholomew from injury while Matt Terech should return for Chelsea Heights. This is a hard contest to judge. Both teams have good midfields that can kick goals, dependable key forwards with good marking ability and solid fullbacks who can easily hold their own. This contest could be run and won in the ruck. The potential battle between Terech and Chris Morgan could be crucial in deciding the winner. The big open spaces at Springvale Reserve will make for an interesting and entertaining game.
Dingley by 15 points.
DIVISION 2 with THE FOOTY TRAGIC
First Semi Final - Mordialloc vs Murrumbeena
Both these teams finished full of running and will be extremely confident of the outcome this week. One team will be disappointed though as there are no draws in SFL Finals!
These teams played each other throughout the season; the first time, Mordialloc were the home team and Murrumbeena won by 3 goals. The return bout at Murrumbeena saw Mordialloc victors by 5 goals! Statistically, they go into this match pretty evenly poised.
In a game where it is an “all or nothing, take no prisoners” affair, I am tipping Mordialloc to win this, but I’m sure Murrumbeena will be happy with that because they thrive on proving me wrong!
Second Semi Final - Bentleigh vs Oakleigh District
Bentleigh returns to the fray after a well-earned rest, allowing their troops to freshen up and get rid of any “niggles” that may have been lingering. Oakleigh got a major fright last week and certainly won’t be able to rest on their laurels here. The prize is big here; a week off and a spot in the Grand Final! Losing isn’t an absolute disaster as the loser gets another chance through the Prelim, but given both options, the week off next week sounds much better.
These teams also had mixed results during the season. Round 1 at Bentleigh, Oakleigh won by 9 points. The return match at Oakleigh saw Bentleigh victors by 14 points (so much for home ground advantage during the season for all four finalists this week).
This week we are on neutral territory and I think Bentleigh will make it through and enjoy another week’s rest. For Oakleigh District to get into Division 1, they’re looking at doing it the hard way, but they’re made of the stuff that can get them through and I’m sure they’ll come out fighting.
DIVISION 3 with GOOD WILL HUNTER
This Saturday Doveton and Carrum Patterson Lakes have a chance to book a place in the 2013 Grand Final when they clash in the second Semi Final. The Eagles have been the team to beat this season as undefeated minor premiers. They boast a forward line capable of kicking big scores and Peter Dye and Ricky Ramsdale will prove a handful for Lions defenders. On the other hand, Carrum Patterson Lakes had performers all over the park last week and are more than capable of pulling off an upset here. That said, it’s hard to go past a team that has won 18 straight – Doveton will win by four goals.
Dandenong and Mount Waverley clash on Sunday in the cut-throat first Semi Final. The Redlegs’ playmakers in Hatfield, Tosin, Matt Van Schajik and Dylan Bracebridge have been in terrific form in recent weeks and will need to be kept quiet if Mount Waverley is to get up. Conversely, Dandenong will be desperate to nullify Gough and Wilkin, both of whom are very difficult to match up on and can turn a game in a quarter. This is a game that could easily go either way, but I’m tipping it will be the Dandenong quartet that gets their side into the Preliminary Final.
UNDER 19s with GOOD WILL HUNTER
This Saturday sees minor premier Bentleigh take on Skye in the second Semi Final for a place in the decider. This will be a tremendous clash between the two best sides in the competition. Skye plays this ground pretty well, and with their running players taking the game on they will make a good contest of this. But Bentleigh are the team to beat again this year and after a well-earned week off last week they will take the chocolates here.
On Sunday Murrumbeena plays St Pauls in a cut-throat first Semi Final. Beena have some obvious talent but without a full bench they will struggle to run out a game at Springvale. St Pauls surprised me last week and a repeat performance will see them through to the Preliminary Final. This could go either way, but I’m tipping the Doggies after last week’s efforts.