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SFNL MATCH OF THE DAY
SATURDAY 17th SEPTEMBER - DIVISION 3 GRAND FINAL
MOUNT WAVERLEY vs ASHWOOD
Heatherton Recreation Reserve, Ross Street, Heatherton – 2:30pm
SUNDAY 18th SEPTEMBER - DIVISION 1 PRELIMINARY FINAL
BENTLEIGH vs OAKLEIGH DISTRICT
Springvale Reserve, Newcomen Road, Springvale – 2:15pm
Listen to the SFNL Radio Team’s commentary of both of these matches live on 88.3 Southern FM from 2:00pm or live stream the radio broadcast and get all live scores at sfnllive.com.au
DIVISION 1 – Preliminary Final Preview
With Good Will Hunter
BENTLEIGH vs OAKLEIGH DISTRICT
Sunday 18th September, Springvale Reserve, 2:15pm
While the Dingoes put their feet up over the weekend, it’s two potential Grand Final opponents, Bentleigh and Oakleigh District, will duke it out on Sunday in the hope of winning through to the last day of September.
The Demons and the Districts have fought out some epic encounters this season, with both home and away clashes going down to the wire. But Oakleigh were sizzling in their 27-point Qualifying Final victory over Bentleigh a fortnight ago, and arguably should have won by a greater margin.
The Demons’ looked at times hamstrung by the well-documented omissions from its forward line against the Panthers, a point that could be exacerbated by Oakleigh’s strong defensive line on Sunday. They will again need to rely on a wide spread of goalkickers to kick a winning score.
The Districts, meanwhile, have no such worries, with a plethora of attacking options that may again cause headaches for the Bentleigh back six.
Another cause for concern could be the fitness of ruckman Andrew Walsh, who seemed troubled at times on Sunday and spent periods of the game deep in attack. Should he again share much of the ruck duties, it presents an opportunity for the Oaks to capitalise around the stoppages, particularly if their number one ruck Brent Crawley makes his return.
But Bentleigh’s key play makers continue to stand up when needed, with Scott Lawry, Brody Lawford and Sam McGarry all in great form. This will make for an interesting battle through the midfield, with their opposite numbers in Andy Howison, Ryan Pearson and Jake Mullen all capable of turning a game in Oakleigh’s favour.
The key for the Districts’ flag chances, however, is the fitness of veteran Paul Fermanis. His experience, class and versatility makes him a major weapon, and should he be ready to go on Sunday, the Oaks could be hard to contain.
This match is again looming as an absolutely classic. Expect a fierce contest, but the all-round strength of this Oakleigh District side should see it qualify for its first ever SFNL Division 1 Grand Final.
DIVISION 2 – Preliminary Final Preview
With Jason Barbin
The Preliminary Final is here, for two teams it's do or die for a spot in the Grand Final against Port Melbourne.
CHELSEA HEIGHTS vs CAULFIELD
Saturday 17th September, Jack Barker Oval, 2:15pm
The last time these two teams met in the qualifying final, Caulfield put together one of its best performances of the season to claim the victory.
Andrew Sheed was a clear difference maker on the day with eight goals but didn’t have much of an impact last week against the Colts.
If the likes of Sheed and star recruit Nick Gilbert are able to form a dangerous combination inside 50 there is no reason why they can’t produce a similar result in the prelim.
Tom Heagney and Chris Dove were also impressive but both failed to have an impact last week and Caulfield will be looking towards those two players, along with the likes of Jason Twirdy and Jake Buggy to perform.
For the Heighters, much of their attack relies on key forward Phil Smith but the big man has delivered time and again this season, forming a key partnership with Lachlan Dobson in the process.
Former Melbourne star Travis Johnstone provides leadership on the ground while Luke Behin has been crucial to their success alongside young gun Jordan Peryman.
As is with most games, the engine room will likely be the deciding factor with the team able to get first use in the midfield the best chance of taking home a grand final berth.
Chelsea Heights by 10 points.