Elastoplast Division 1 Round Preview

By Will Hunter



Bentleigh V East Malvern (Bentleigh Reserve)


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A massive battle is set to unfold at Arthur Street on Saturday with the all-conquering East Malvern taking on the in-form Bentleigh.

Remarkably, just one win separates the top-of-the-ladder Panthers and the sixth-placed Bentleigh, further highlighting the evenness of the Division 1 competition.

The Demons will be cock-a-hoop after their stirring victory over the reigning premiers a fortnight ago, and they will enter this clash confident they can knock over another premiership contender. However, they will need to increase its scoring output (its 300 points for in five games trails the five sides above it) if it is to best the highest scoring team in the competition.

East Malvern have been very impressive so far in 2018, with their disappointing loss to St Pauls in Round 3 the only blot on the copybook. Their top-end talent continues to lead the charge and get the job done, with Chris Carey and Luke Duffy among the best afield for Southern in last week’s interleague victory over North Central.

If Bentleigh brings the same intensity at the contest it did last round, and convert its chances in front of goal, it is a big chance to win the game, however, the gut feel says East Malvern in a close one.

East Malvern by six points.


Cheltenham V Oakleigh District (Jack Barker Oval)


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Cheltenham and Oakleigh District are two sides that have found the going tough early doors, but both are now on the board following last-start victories.

For the Rosellas it was sweet relief. Tipped by many as likely finalists in 2018, they suffered some disappointing losses in the first four weeks, and they would be hoping their victory over Port Colts is the catalyst to turn their season around.

The Districts have had inconsistencies, both week to week and within games, as they look to blood kids into the senior side, however, their incredible victory over the previously unbeaten St Pauls is the sort of thing that can really galvanise a playing group.

If Cheltenham are fair dinkum about playing finals this season, then this is a game they simply cannot afford to lose. Oakleigh will no doubt give a good account of themselves, particularly if they can bring they same manic pressure as last week, but at home the Rosellas should be too good.

Cheltenham by 13 points.


St Pauls V Mordialloc (McKinnon Reserve)


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After four impressive wins to start the year, St Pauls were brought back to earth with a shock loss to bottom-placed Oakleigh District. This is a loss the club would be desperate to put behind them and bounce back from.

Mordi, meanwhile, look as though they are finally beginning to gel, with their victory over the strong St Kilda City two weeks ago their best of the year to date.

St Pauls are one of the most dangerous teams in the League if they can get the game played on their terms and are able to run and spread. The Bloods, however, will look to take a leaf out of Oakleigh’s book by bringing the defensive pressure and trying to lock the ball in at every opportunity, which will not only bring their big-bodied mids into the game but also restrict the space available for the Dogs.

Given their ability to run over the top of sides in the last quarter, if St Pauls are within a kick or two at the final change, you’d just about back them in the get the chocolates, however, I reckon Mordi will have done enough in the first half to hold on in a thriller.

Mordialloc by 10 points.


Dingley V St Kilda City (Souter Oval)


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The Saints failed their biggest test last week, dropping their first game for the year on home soil against last year’s runners-up, and the degree of difficulty is lifted again this week as they travel to the Village to take on the reigning premiers.

The Dingoes are also coming off a surprise home loss to Bentleigh, and you would have to go back a fair way to find the last time this side dropped two consecutive games at the Den. Expect there to be no complacency this week as they look to return to the winner’s list.

City’s form has certainly been a surprise this year, and a win here would establish Richard Houston’s men as legitimate contenders, but it’s tough to see them rolling the Dingoes on their home deck.

Dingley by 24 points.


Chelsea Heights V Port Melbourne Colts (Beazley Reserve)


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This standalone Sunday match is not only an important clash for both Chelsea Heights and Port Colts, but it also has plenty of off-field significance.

The Heighters will be hosting a Kick It for Cancer fundraiser in support of the Peter MacCallum Foundation, an initiative driven by Callum Dodson following his own personal cancer battle.

On the field, however, this one looms as an interesting battle between the last two Division 2 premiers. Both sides sit in the bottom four – they are two of the four sides with a 1-4 record – and the four points here would be very advantageous in the battle to avoid relegation.

The Colts will be competitive, but Chelsea Heights have proven a tough side to beat at Beazley Reserve, and this home ground advantage should see them over the line.

Chelsea Heights by 19 points.

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