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SFNL MATCH OF THE DAY
SATURDAY 10th SEPTEMBER - DIVISION 2 SECOND SEMI FINAL
PORT MELBOURNE COLTS vs CAULFIELD (Jack Barker Oval)
Jack Barker Oval, Weatherall Road, Cheltenham – 2:15pm
SUNDAY 11th SEPTEMBER - DIVISION 1 FIRST SEMI FINAL
BENTLEIGH vs EAST MALVERN
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 – Semi Final Preview
With Good Will Hunter
Second Semi Final – Saturday 10th September
Dingley V Oakleigh District (Springvale Reserve)
Minor premiers Dingley get their first taste of finals footy in 2016 as they take on the resurgent Oakleigh District, with the winner to become the first team through to the last Sunday in September.
Dingley have once again been the competition pace-setters this year with a galaxy of stars on every single line. But, more importantly, this is an incredibly well-drilled team with each of the starting 22 performing their role.
Notably, the Dingoes possess the most damaging midfield group in the comp with the perfect blend of grunt and polish. Josh Ferguson, Chris Horton-Milne, Jack Ades and Luke Bartholomew are all valuable contributors both inside and out, with several others capable of rotating through the midfield when required.
Up forward, Cal McQueen looms as the game-breaker, but expect an even spread of goalkickers including Dan Farmer and Kristen Feehan as well as a host of onballers.
The Districts also possess a phenomenally potent forward line, with Dave Velardo, Khaled Kandakji and Aaron Henneman among a host of players capable of bagging multiple goals. Unfortunately, the club will likely be deprived one of their most important and versatile players through the injury-enforced withdrawal of Paul Fermanis.
Expect Oaks midfielders Andy Howison and Jake Mullen to also have an impact.
Dingley will be raring to go after the week off, and expect them to come out all guns blazing from the opening bounce. Meanwhile Oakleigh District plays an exciting brand of footy capable of beating the competition’s best and looks to be peaking at just the right time.
This will be a magnificent contest between two powerful teams, but it’s hard to go past Dingley, who should qualify for their third consecutive Division 1 Grand Final in an absolute thriller.
First Semi Final – Sunday 11th September
Bentleigh V East Malvern (Springvale Reserve)
High stakes in this cut-throat semi with a Preliminary Final berth on offer for the victor, while Mad Monday awaits the loser.
East Malvern were most impressive in destroying Clayton last week, and seem to have regained the sparkling form from them that we saw from them in the early part of the season. With their big-name stars in Ed Sim, Jimmy Dowling, Tremaine Tohiariki and Nathan Robinson finally regaining their touch after injury-interrupted seasons, they could once again pose a massive threat both in the guts and up forward.
Dominant Panthers ruckman Matt Terech is also likely to miss one more week with a shoulder injury, meaning Luke Poustie and Andrew Johnson will probably be called upon to combat the aerial dominance of Bentleigh’s Andrew Walsh. Although the pair battled manfully in tandem against the Clays, Walsh, one of the preeminent big men in the competition, will be a much more formidable adversary.
But Bentleigh’s biggest worry will be its ability to kick a winning score. It’s forward line depth will be tested on Sunday as it will likely be missing it’s two biggest attacking weapons. With Pat Nicholls unavailable, and Matty Troutbeck unlikely to take the field after injuring his shoulder last week, the Demons will be forced to find goals from other sources.
Nevertheless, expect its established stars in Scott Lawry, Sam McGarry and James Robertson to step up when required.
This looms as a real physical encounter between two sides fighting to stay alive in 2016. The Demons will be full of run on the outside, but the Panthers should have their measure with their strength in the trenches. That harder edge should propel East Malvern to victory, and in the process consign Bentleigh to a straight-sets finals exit.
DIVISION 2 – Semi Final Preview
With Jason Barbin
Second Semi Final – Saturday 10th September
Port Melbourne Colts V Caulfield (Jack Barker Oval)
The undefeated juggernaut of Division 2 takes on the upstart Bears who seem to have hit their best form at the absolute right time of the year.
The Colts will go into this match as favourites and deservedly so having been rarely bothered throughout the year.
Its dual-threat attack up forward consisting of Mitchell Clarke (54 goals) and Jason Butty (50 goals) have rarely put a foot wrong this season and provide the Colts with two reliable and strong targets inside 50.
The engine room as been dangerous throughout the season with the likes of Justin Taylor and Lewis Mildenhall among the best in the competition.
For the Bears, Andrew Sheed is an obvious selection for in-form players after his eight-goal haul last week, but Nick Gilbert has also been a dangerous commodity and will be someone the Colts need to put work in to.
Josh Wood and Mick Harrington have enjoyed strong seasons in 2016 and will look to perform again on the big stage this weekend.
Tough game to pick but it is hard to go past Port Melbourne booking a spot in the Grand Final.
Port Melbourne by 21 points.
First Semi Final - Sunday 11th September
Chelsea Heights v Skye (Jack Barker Oval)
The Heighters will be disappointed with last week’s effort against Caulfield and will be out for redemption, while Skye will be riding halfway to cloud nine after fighting back against Highett.
The two sides have split their meetings this year with each winning on their home deck making this contest on neutral ground all the more interesting.
Key forward Phil Smith has proven to be effective whenever he has lined up for the Heighters and been a reliable forward option with 65 goals from 13 games, while Lachlan Dobson has also been impressive with 42 goals.
In the midfield, the return of Travis Johnstone has been important while Luke Behin and Jordan Peryman are vital to Chelsea Height’s success.
For the Bombers, they have relied on a forward line by committee approach with the likes of Kyle Gascoigne, Ben Evans and Ben Walker each proving they can take a game by the scruff of the neck in attack.
James Bateman and Jordan Thomas have also been important to Skye’s success this season while the return of captain Aaron Pacey has been inspirational.
I like both teams in this one but there can only be one winner so I’ll go with Chelsea Heights; it will have just too much firepower in this one.
Chelsea Heights by 10 points.
DIVISION 3 – Preliminary Final Preview
With Andrew Paloczi
Preliminary Final – Saturday 10th September
Doveton Eagles vs Ashwood (Heatherton Recreation Reserve)
When Doveton and Ashwood clashed in week one of the finals, the Magpies punished the Eagles for their inaccuracy.
Ashwood capitalised when it had the wind in the second term, after the Eagles kicked a wasteful 3.8 in the opening quarter.
The Eagles failed to erase a half time deficit by the last change.
With injury problems and kicking into a strong breeze there was no realistic hope of overcoming the confident Magpies in the final term.
Ashwood prevailed by 25 points.
Matt Maginnes helped an organised Magpies’ backline keep pressure on Doveton's forwards.
The Eagles were unable to contain Mitch Saunders who was productive in the midfield and up forward.
Paul Wineberg booted four goals for the Magpies, just two less than the entire Doveton team.
No Eagles managed more than a single major.
Doveton's forward line will pose a sterner test for the Magpies in the Preliminary Final if Peter Dye is fit.
His ability to be a major contributor in the Eagles’ semi final win over Hallam was commendable.
The concern is whether or not his troublesome knee will enable him to be as effective this week, having returned from a lengthy layoff.
For Ashwood there may be mental scars to overcome after it was humbled by a dominant Mount Waverley last week.
Expect an intriguing Preliminary Final as feathers fly in this avian battle.
Awaiting the winner is a Grand Final place against the hungry Mountain Lions.
The old cliché of taking it one week at a time has rarely been more apt.
Tipping this one is about as tough as calling the recent Federal election. At least there is bound to be a worthy winner on this occasion.
Expect the result to go Doveton's way, but it won't be a landslide.