Round 17/18: Men's Football Preview
Division 1 – Round 17:
The finals fixture is falling into place after some big results last weekend and with just two weeks to go, there’s still plenty of scope for movement within the top five.
The penultimate round of the home and away season gets underway at Livingston Reserve with Cranbourne taking on Port Melbourne Colts.
The Eagles returned to the winners list with a solid win over Mordialloc last round and they’ll be looking to build up a head of steam and secure a double chance before seasons end.
The Eagles returned to some of their earlier season form, dominating the air with 88 more marks to control the tempo to their liking.
Kirk Dickson led the way with 15 clunks and three goals, while Michael Boland fought hard in the ruck with 23 hit outs and 15 touches.
The Colts felt the wrath of the Rosellas last round and will be eyeing off a big response in their second last appearance of the season.
Easier said than done against one of the premiership contenders on their home deck.
St Kilda City’s quest for the double chance suffered a big blow last weekend, the Saints no match for St Paul’s McKinnon in the last quarter after an arm-wrestle in the first three terms.
The visitors were beaten convincingly in contested possession (-22), marks (-31) and clearances (-9), and will be looking to clean this up before the pressure goes up a notch in September.
With their top three destiny now out of their control, all the Saints can do is win their remaining fixtures and hope some sides ahead of them stumble late.
While they should get the job done against the winless Panthers, their final fixture against Cheltenham will be a far greater assignment and could determine who they play week one of finals.
The match of the round takes place at Souter Oval with the fifth placed Dingoes hosting the third placed Doggies.
Both clubs have been in excellent form of late, stringing together three wins in a row, and there’s plenty on the line with both sides looking to secure their ladder position.
Whilst Dingley are technically not locked into finals just yet, it’d take a minor miracle for them to fall out of the top five and they’re mathematically still in the hunt for the double chance.
Of course, they’ll need to knock off the Doggies to keep their slim top three hopes alive but no matter where the Dingoes finish, they’ll have plenty of sides hoping they don’t cross paths in September.
The team appears to be peaking at the right of the season once again and they looked slick and silky in their 26-goal effort against the Demons last round.
St Paul’s McKinnon registered one of their best wins of the year last Saturday, a seven-goal last quarter seeing them sink the Saints in an excellent game of Southern footy.
The victory could be season-defining for the Doggies, providing some breathing space inside the top three with the double chance of theirs to lose from here.
Sharpshooter and competition leading goal-kicker Stephen Muller was instrumental in the victory with five goals, while Matt O’Brien had the ball on a string with 37 disposals.
These two clubs met back in Round 8 with the Doggies getting the job done by four goals and the Dingoes will be determined to flip the script here.
It’s season on the line for Springvale Districts when they take on Cheltenham at Springvale Reserve.
With mathematically still a chance for September action, realistically sitting two games and a decent percentage outside the top five, the Districts chances are next to nothing.
That’s before you factor in their opponent, who haven’t tasted defeated since Round 2 way back in April.
The Rosellas are the clear premiership favourites at the pointy end of the season and produced another compelling display last weekend in their 105-point demolition of the Colts.
They are an extremely well drilled unit with no clear weakness across the ground and plenty of contributors playing their role each time they pull on the jumper.
That was evident last round with 12 players finding the big sticks in their 24-goal effort.
Jack Worrell, Dylan Weickhardt and Alecsander McComb all starred last weekend and even without Will McTaggart and Josh Fox up forward the team consistently finds a way to pile on big scores.
It’s this versatility and potency that will see the Rosellas go deep into September and take the four points here.
Round 17 comes to a close with Mordialloc and Bentleigh playing for pride in their second meeting of the season.
With both clubs looking towards season 2023, their second last hit out will revolve around building some confidence and finishing the year on a positive note.
The Bloodhounds have not recorded a victory since Round 10 back in June, while the Demons last dub also came two months ago against the Panthers in Round 11.
The previous meeting between these two sides in Round 8 was a cracking contest, with just one-point splitting the sides at the three quarter time huddle.
Ultimately it was the Bloodhounds who pocketed the four points with a narrow nine-point victory and if this clash follows a similar script, it should be an entertaining contest.
Division 2 – Round 18:
It all comes down to the final round of the season to determine the final five in Division 2.
While we know the top four is just about set in stone, fifth spot is yet to be determined with the clash at Beazley Reserve between Chelsea Heights and East Brighton set to determine the visitor's fate.
The equation for the Vampires is simple, win and they are in.
Simple enough until you factor that their opponent has dropped just one game all season.
The Demons only blemish came back in Round 6 and they have piled on ten wins since to lead the premiership race.
They were ruthless against the Tunners last round and will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak heading into finals.
The Vampires should be fresh after a week off and will throw absolutely everything they have at the home side given what’s at stake.
Will the home side put the final nail in the Vampire’s coffin? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Skye and Heatherton fight it out for one final time in 2022 when they meet at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve.
With just one win between the two clubs, it’s fair to say it’s been a tough campaign for all involved.
While the Bombers have been competitive, it’s been the same old frustrating story week after week.
They get the chance to end the season arm in arm but will be wary of the visitor's desperation to break their duck.
With the chance to rebuild down in Division 3, greener pastures lie ahead for the Tunners after a turbulent 2022.
A ripping contest awaits Division 2 fans at Koornang Park with Caulfield hosting Doveton.
Both sides will be big players in September and the Bears will be seeking a big scalp to build belief before their likely elimination final.
They enter in good form off the back of three consecutive victories, admittedly against teams lower on the ladder, but will face a stern test against the second placed Doves.
Doveton has dropped just two games this season and will finish the home and away season in second spot unless the Demons stumble badly against the Vampires.
Given that’s unlikely, the coaching staff can tinker with a few plans in what should be a great pre-finals tune up.
The Doves did the job convincingly in their previous Round 9 meeting and will be aiming to repeat the dose when they hit the road this Saturday.
Highett and Keysborough square off at Turner Road to bring the home and away season to its conclusion.
While the Dogs season stops here, the Burras are gearing up for yet another big finals campaign after securing the double chance yet again.
The team rebounded last weekend with a strong win over the Bombers and they’ll back themselves to inflict a similar result when they run out onto enemy turf.
Tim Werner was in great touch last round with three goals and Simon Marchese hit the scoreboard twice in a best afield display.
It’s been a disappointing return to Division 2 for the Dogs and they’ll be determined to finish off the year with a strong performance in front of their fans.
Hampton Park faces a nervous wait on the sidelines this weekend and it would be no surprise if their supporters ventured to Beazley Reserve to cheer on the Demons.
Whether their season continues into the first week of finals, we’ll find out on Saturday afternoon.
Division 3 – Round 18:
After a topsy turvy season, we finally know which four teams will feature in finals in Division 3.
Ashwood and Murrumbeena are two clubs who will fight it out for the flag and they meet in a pre-finals appetizer in their Round 18 clash at Essex Heights Reserve.
Beena showed no mercy to Clayton last round with a 120-point triumph and they’ll be determined to continue their strong form with the minor premiership in sight.
More than half the side hit the scoreboard last round with 13 individual goal-kickers and the club will hope that trend continues.
The Pies have also been in excellent form of late, winning five of their past six to present themselves as a genuine force come September.
While the result here doesn’t change their ladder position, the home side will be hoping to enter their elimination clash full of confidence in a week’s time.
These two clubs have met twice this season, splitting the points in close affairs with neither final margin crossing the three-goal mark.
Expect a similar theme here.
Black Rock can claim the minor premiership if they pull off a big win against Souths Yarra in their clash at Leigh Park.
Sitting equal on premiership points with Murrumbeena, the Jets need to make up more than 7% to claim top spot at the close of the home and away season.
Coming up against a side that has leaked goals left, right and centre, there’s genuine reason to believe that the Jets could come from the clouds and leapfrog the Lions.
The team was in ominous touch last round, smashing the Falcons by 11 goals in a dominant second half.
They pulverized the Yarras in both meetings this season, racking up a 128-point victory in Round 4 and a 153-point drubbing in Round 11.
Another similar blowout here and the minor premiership is theirs.
Carrum Patterson Lakes will look to keep the ball rolling when they travel up to Meade Reserve to face Clayton.
CPL confirmed their qualification with a whopping win over the Yarra's last weekend and can turn their attention to finals preparation with their final home and away clash.
While their sights will firmly be set on their elimination knockout against Ashwood in a fortnight’s time, the visitors will be eager to enter the clash following a solid block of form.
Rohan Bleeker was everywhere up forward last round with eight goals and Anthony Giuliano also chipped in with a handful.
The Clays have lost three on the trot and will be determined to finish the season on a high in front of their home fans.
The Division 3 home and away season draws to a close with a dead rubber between Endeavour Hills and Nare South Saints at Barry Simon Reserve.
Both sides have endured a rollercoaster of a season, looking like finals contenders during some fixtures before coughing up crucial results which ultimately saw them fall short of September action.
Regardless, there’s plenty of potential on both lists and if they can recruit well and recalibrate in the offseason, there’s plenty of promise for season 2023.
The Falcons finals hopes were officially finished last week with a 66-point drubbing against the Jets and they’ll be determined to hold onto fifth spot with one game to play.
The Saints put up gallant efforts in the past fortnight against Ashwood and Black Rock but came up short on both occasions.
It’s symbolic of their season, competitive with moments of brilliance but ultimately just lacking that extra bit of polish found in the top sides.
With the minor carrot of fifth spot on the line, there’s a bit more than just pride on the line for both club’s final four quarters of season 2022.
Division 4 – Round 18:
South Mornington will be looking to continue their strong form into finals when they host Doveton at Citation Reserve this weekend.
The Tigers are locked into an elimination clash against Hallam but will be focusing on recording their sixth win in a row before turning their attention to the Hawks.
The Tigers are a dangerous prospect and they’ve been building nicely towards September with heavy wins in recent weeks.
Last round saw them easily break the 200-point barrier with a 36-goal effort away from home against Moorabbin.
Josh Abela was the focal point in front of goal with a bag of ten majors, while Sam Shaw booted seven in a ripping performance.
Doveton is destined for the wooden spoon after falling to Cerberus last week and their tough season could come to a brutal end when they make the trip down the Peninsula.
Hallam will need to dust themselves off quickly after they were humbled by Frankston to the tune of 133-points last round.
The bruising result is likely to dent confidence levels in the group on the eve of finals but they have the chance to rebound this weekend against the fifth placed Redlegs.
Dandenong will be up for the fight however, coming off back-to-back wins with the aim of leveling their win-loss ledger to 9-9 very much in sight.
There’s plenty to like about the Redlegs season, with their percentage above 100% to go with their highest ladder finish in recent memory.
The Hawks got the job done in convincing fashion when these two clubs clashed back in Round 9, but it will be interesting to see if last week’s result did more than just scoreboard damage for the Hawks.
Cerberus and Hampton get the chance to finish their season on a high when they square off for a second meeting in 2022.
The Three-Headed Dogs look certain to dodge the wooden spoon after a solid win over the Eagles last weekend and they’ll be licking their lips at the rare prospect of two wins in a row.
The Hammers have had a tough year on all fronts but have shown glimpses throughout the season.
The group has not sung the song since Round 13 but will rate their chances when they hit the road down to the navy base.
Blake Insall, Corey Smith and Leo Grenville have given their all for the club and will be looking to put in one final effort for 2022.
Frankston can join rare company by finishing the home and away season undefeated when they face Lyndale at Overport Park.
The premiership favourites have been downright scary this season and would challenge plenty of sides in Division 3.
They bullied the Hawks last round, leaving the Pumas little to no hope when they make the most feared road trip this weekend.
Andrew Mathers has been awesome all season and should be right up in contention for the league Best & Fairest.
Up forward it’s been the Mathers of a different kind dominating, with 76 goals coming off Richard Mathers boot.
And if the Mathers’ don’t get you, Liam O’Donnell probably will with 53 snags from just 11 appearances.
The Pumas recent form has dried up with three heavy losses against the top sides, and the worst may be saved for last against the brutal Dolphins.
The home and away season wraps up with Lyndhurst taking on Moorabbin at Marriott Waters Reserve.
The Lightning were white hot last round with a crushing 138-point win over the Pumas.
With a top two spot locked up, the team will be determined to build as much momentum as possible before they run into the juggernaut that is Frankston.
Key forwards Jarryd McGrath and Hamish Browning will be key to the orange army’s hopes with the duo the team’s most reliable source to goal with 123 majors between them.
With plenty of contributors across the field, the Lightning will give themselves every chance of going deep into September.
The Kangaroos were crushed against the Tigers last round and will be determined to avoid back-to-back drubbings to end their season.