Division 2 Grand Final – Saturday 19th September
Oakleigh District vs Murrumbeena
Jack Barker Oval, Weatherall Road, Cheltenham – 2:30pm
88.3 Southern FM Match of the Day Broadcast
Listen to Hammers, Johnny Tak and the team call the big game live on 88.3 Southern FM or via sfnllive.com.au.
Broadcast time 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Click HERE to download the Division 2 Grand Final Edition of the SFNL Record.
Division 2 Grand Final Preview
With Jason Barbin
Round 7 (Murrumbeena Park)
Oakleigh District 14.7 (91) def Murrumbeena 11.10 (76)
Round 16 (Princes Highway Reserve)
Oakleigh District 12.11 (83) def Murrumbeena 8.4 (52)
Second Semi Final (Jack Barker Oval)
Oakleigh District 15.15 (105) def Murrumbeena 8.12 (60)
1958. In case you’re wondering what that year means to the Oakleigh District Football Club here is the answer. It is the last time it celebrated a premiership win. In the 57 years since that glorious day Oakleigh have been runner-up on 11 occasions but will be out to try and turn the tables around with arguably the best team they have put on the park. Ironically enough, the last team the Oaks defeated in a Grand Final – you guessed it – Murrumbeena.
Murrumbeena, on the other hand, are the Cinderella story of the season. A team a lot of people thought would be fighting off relegation but instead dug in and battled its way into the Grand Final. For the players and coaches, the Grand Final is a reward for determination and hard work and they will go into the match with a never-say-die attitude knowing that they have nothing to lose, that in the eyes of their supporters they are already winners.
It will be a day of celebration for one team and heartbreak for another.
Let’s delve into what could make or break the Southern Football Netball League Division 2 Grand Final.
Oakleigh will undoubtedly go into the match as heavy favourites after defeating Murrumbeena three times throughout the season and comfortably winning its way into the decider.
The minor premiers will be coming off only one game in the last four weeks and the players look to be fresh, but will there be a question mark over match fitness considering the lack of football the side has played in recent years.
I am reminded of the 2010 Division 3 Grand Final between Mount Waverley and Hampton. Similar to Murrumbeena, Hampton went into the match as underdogs, but through grit and determination overcame a lacklustre Mount Waverley who faced the same situation as Oakleigh and came off second best.
There is no doubt in my mind that both sides have the ability to win this game so let’s look at some of the potential key players for Oakleigh and Murrumbeena.
Dave Velardo – Oakleigh District
The power forward has been the Oaks most damaging player this season and will be the focal point inside 50. He has kicked 64 goals this season to top the League and has shown the ability to turn the game on its head and stand up for Oakleigh when required.
He is a tough matchup for any defender and could prove to be a handful for the Beena. Look for an outside the box matchup of Sam Moloney who has the athletic ability to keep up with Velardo. He is a player who is loved by the coaching staff at Murrumbeena and has had an impressive season.
Mitch Walder – Murrumbeena
Captain courageous lifted his side to victory with a stunning second half performance to drag his side over the line against a gallant Caulfield. His two final-quarter goals sparked his side to victory and he has become a proven match-winner and genuine tough nut.
His size combined with his running ability makes him a difficult player to stop and could take the likes of experienced Oakleigh defender Luke Casey to try and shut him down or even Marty Gurry who is capable of using his body to win the stoppages.
Dan Kiellerup – Oakleigh District
The medium-sized forward turned half back runner has starred in that role for the Oaks in the last few years and can be a game-breaker when on form. He provides Oakleigh with hard running and clean disposal off the half back line and has proven to be a smart user of the ball.
Murrumbeena could look at having a forward play a defensive role on Kiellerup to restrict his run and carry. Alex Moloney is a livewire forward who would force Kiellerup to be accountable going in the other direction and though he isn’t the biggest player for the Beena, he has lightning speed and good goal sense.
Dean Spanos – Murrumbeena
I have been big on Spanos all year but so far he has been underwhelming in the finals. Spanos is a versatile player who can play in the midfield and then pinch hit up forward and is also a proven match-winner, having done so against Caulfield earlier in the year.
If Spanos gets off the leash he is a damaging player and could be the spark that gets Murrumbeena over the line. Look for a possible matchup against Gurry as the two big bodied players could clash in the middle, making for an entertaining midfield battle.
Overall this game has a bit of everything and Oakleigh will deservedly go into this match as favourites. But as I said earlier, Murrumbeena will go into the match with nothing to lose as the underdogs.
Oakleigh has the firepower to win the game and win reasonably comfortably but an upset on Grand Final day is always on the cards. Will the Oaks cave in again under the pressure as Murrumbeena defy the odds and claim the flag, or will they finally deliver after 57 years?
The two Grand Final Captains Brody Hodic (Oakleigh District) and Mitch Walder (Murrumbeena) pose with the coveted premiership cup.
Click here to read Will Hunter's preview of Sunday's Division 1 Grand Final between Dingley and Mordialloc.