Division 3 Grand Final Preview

By Liam Vertigan

In a season, where we have seen so much intrigue and back and forward momentum swings with our top of the table leading sides in Frankston Dolphins & Endeavour Hills, we finally come to the final battle between these two sides in season 2023 to decide our SFNL Division Three premier.

The Dolphins will be absolutely hell bent on writing the wrong on last year’s grand final defeat to Lyndhurst while the Falcons will be looking to win their first piece of silverware to add as a senior club.

The Dolphins will go into the grand final as slim favorites after their last month of the season was nothing short of superb as they were piling on scores of 200+ on two occasions against Narre South & Heatherton in round 16 & 17. As we now enter a Grand Final, the Dolphins may have a slight edge in the head to head however Grand Finals are always a different story. This Frankston side has quality players all over the ground from the back line right into the forward line and especially in the middle. Jordan Waite’s 64 goals throughout the season aren’t to be laughed at as his presence is known from the start and his silky skills are second to none. While Richard Mathers & Tyler Black will also be lurking in the forward line too as they have 74 goals between them in 2023. Nick Christoforou, Jak Nardino & Tyler Wooster will provide plenty of run and carry throughout the afternoon and will provide their forwards with first use.

While for the Falcons, who’s season started off like a shot out of a cannon winning 12 on the trot and looked likely they could go the whole season undefeated, they met this Dolphins side on a miserable July afternoon at Overport Park where they were kept to two goals and the streak was over. But as any good side does, they bounced back hard, winning all bar one of their remaining games in the back half of season with just one minor slip up against Carrum Patterson Lakes as the one asterisk in a solid season. One of the best players in the division in John Rafferty will make his presence more than known around the football and with help from hard edged skipper Nathan Reid they will get the footy from star ruckman Sean Van Velsen more often than not. The Falcons goal kickers aren’t all done by one or two players with an even share around the ground with Ryan Johnson & Sam McLean leading the way for them with over 65 goals between them but goal sneak Liam Hasler loves a goal and will be making his claim known down forward. But if none of those names mentioned get involved there is always plenty of others that will fill that goal kicking void. While the Falcons, who would have been hurt a tad from that loss, had to go the hard way and play Ashwood in last week’s preliminary final where they were too classy, winning to the tune of 49 points.

These two sides met twice in the regular home and away season and with one win a piece going into finals. In round 6, the Falcons got the cherries after a 25 point win led by a five goal effort to Sam McLean. While in the previously mentioned return bout in round 13, it was the Dolphins who were too good with Jak Nardino’s four goal and best on ground effort along with the superb efforts of Nick Christoforou helping the Dolphins snap the previously undefeated streak of the Falcons.

Both sides finished the season 16-2 and percentage was the only thing that separated the two sides coming into finals. The Dolphins won the right to enter the grand final first knocking off the Falcons by 7 points in the semi final albeit very inaccurate with a score of 8 goals and 24 behinds.

Given they have experience before in big Grand Finals, you would feel the Dolphins will be in very good stead right from the first bounce. The Falcons, who were the hunted in the first half of the season, they can now do the hunting themselves as the Dolphins were the hottest side in division three in the back end of August leading into finals footy in September. One thing that is almost certain this will be a cracking match up against two very deserving grand finalists with a margin very hard to pin down but I feel it wont be as big as that round 13 game and maybe more around their semi final meeting two weeks ago.

When tipping a winner overall it will be very hard to go past the current form of this Dolphins side but will this week off they’ve had be their downfall? Given the Falcons have been off and running two weeks straight now they will be hungry and ready to go.

Tip: Dolphins by 9

You watch the Division Three Grand Final on Sunday from 2:15pm on Southern TV by following the link here: https://sites.clubzone.com.au/sfnl/livestreams

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