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DIVISION 1 – Round 5 Preview
With Good Will Hunter
EAST BRIGHTON vs ST KILDA CITY (Widdop Crescent Reserve)
The Vampires last week played their best game of the season and would be confident of causing an upset against the improving St Kilda City.
The match is East Brighton’s first at their new ‘home’ venue, and the limited confines of Widdop Crescent may assist Pete Larsen’s boys in their defensive efforts.
They aren’t without a chance here, but it would take a brave man to tip the Vampires. St Kilda City should get the chocolates in this one.
MORDIALLOC vs CHELTENHAM (Ben Kavanagh Reserve)
Granted, the Kennel is a tough venue for visiting sides to claim the four points at, but nevertheless the Bloods would be filthy with their efforts last Saturday. You can bet on a much improved performance from them this week.
Cheltenham have shown glimpses of their improvement in patches this season, but haven’t yet been able to string together four quarters of consistent footy. Expect more of the same this week.
The Rosellas will be highly-competitive for a quarter or two, but Mordi will be too polished when the game is there to be won.
BENTLEIGH vs OAKLEIGH DISTRICT (Bentleigh Reserve)
Oakleigh District performed magnificently last week, and really should have come away with the points had they not shot themselves in the foot in front of goal. Despite this, they still find themselves inside the top four with an enviable 3-1 record.
The Demons, meanwhile, are living up to their pre-season billing as Division 1’s big improvers, with their old hands leading the resurgence. Their new recruits are also delivering in spades.
This will be a tremendous contest between two in-form sides, but Bentleigh will prevail at home.
EAST MALVERN vs ST PAULS (Dunlop Reserve)
SFNL MATCH OF THE DAY
Listen live on 88.3 Southern FM or via sfnllive.com.au.
East Malvern haven’t set the world on fire in their opening four games, with injuries playing their part, but are still finding ways to get the job done. They won’t be too disappointed sitting third on the ladder.
St Pauls, though, have had a topsy-turvy start to the year. Smashed by Dingley and downed by Bentleigh in the opening two rounds, the Dogs have played some tremendous football in the past fortnight to square the ledger.
Strangely, due to fixture quirks, this will be East Malvern’s fourth match at the Zoo in five weeks, which is no doubt advantageous. The Dogs are starting to fire, but it’s hard to go past East Malvern at home.
DINGLEY vs CLAYTON (Souter Oval)
After a pre-season that promised so much, the Clay’s 2016 campaign is now starting to unravel. Their perilous 1-3 record has been exacerbated by injuries to key personnel, which only makes their journey back into contention even harder. And this week they face the toughest task in Southern League footy – the Dingoes at Souter Oval.
Dingley fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition with their demolition of the Saints, and are looking like a well-oiled machine with a few of last year’s reserves premiership players now stepping up and making an impact at senior level.
This could get ugly for Clayton.
DIVISION 2 – Round 6 Preview
With Jason Barbin
The two best teams in Division 2 clash for the first time this season in Round 6 in what shapes to be the biggest match of the year.
KEYSBOROUGH vs BLACK ROCK (Keysborough Reserve)
The Burra will be keen to atone for its embarrassing loss to Caulfield a week ago and with the Jets yet to win a game this season, this may be the best chance for Keysy to get their season back on track. Black Rock has proven it’s not an easy beat so Keysborough will have to work for a win.
Keysborough by 19 points.
PORT MELBOURNE COLTS vs CAULFIELD (JL Murphy Reserve)
First plays second in the match of the season so far in what will be a match full of intensity. Colts are undefeated in their first season in the SFNL while Caulfield has seemingly taken the next step towards premiership contention. A win for Colts here and they can more or less consider themselves undisputed premiership favourites.
Port Melbourne by 10 points.
MURRUMBEENA vs HAMPTON (Murrumbeena Park)
If last year’s grand finalists are going to be anywhere near the finals in 2016 then this is a must win game. I won’t go as far as writing Murrumbeena off if it loses, but it will be a lot harder for it if it does. Hampton are going strong early in the season and will go into the match as favourites but I think this game could be closer than the forms of the two sides indicates.
Murrumbeena by five points.
SPRINGVALE DISTRICTS vs CHELSEA HEIGHTS (Springvale Reserve)
Chelsea Heights have been on a roll since its Round 1 loss to Caulfield, but there is still plenty of room for improvement for the boys from Beazley Reserve. Springvale only has the one win on the board so far this season and will be keen for number two but it may be tough against the Heighters.
Chelsea Heights by 32 points.
HIGHETT vs HEATHERTON (Turner Road Reserve)
The Dogs have been up to its old tricks as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde over the last few weeks but have shown they have the potential to be a top five contender. Highett has a chance to show what it’s all about against a Heatherton side which is still proving it has what it takes to make a run at the finals. Should be a ripping contest.
Highett by 22 points.
DIVISION 3 – Round 5 Preview
With Andrew Paloczi
ENDEAVOUR HILLS vs SOUTH YARRA (Barry Simon Reserve)
Percentage separates fourth-placed South Yarra from seventh-placed Endeavour Hills. Both sides are in form and this promises to be a fierce contest.
It’s a tough one to pick, but the Falcons can fight their way up the ladder with a narrow win.
SANDOWN vs HALLAM (Edinburgh Reserve)
Sandown sank to a new low in Round 5, losing by 188 points. Hallam has a golden opportunity to continue its unbeaten run in 2016 and the bottom of the ladder Cobras will be licking their wounds again after this game.
ASHWOOD vs LYNDHURST (Essex Heights Reserve)
Ashwood is flying after a confidence-building victory over Doveton in Round 5. The Magpies won’t let this match against Lyndhurst slip. It will be the first time Lightning tastes defeat in an away match.
DANDENONG vs DOVETON EAGLES (Greaves Reserve)
After charging out of the blocks with three straight wins, Doveton has hit a couple of hurdles, going down to Mount Waverley and Ashwood in successive weeks.
The Eagles will be determined to hit back hard and unfortunately Dandenong will feel the full force of a Doveton resurgence. This one will get ugly.
MOUNT WAVERLEY vs LYNDALE (Mayfield Park)
Unbeaten Mount Waverley hosts Lyndale, which has lost just once.
It promises to be an exciting game, with a possible shootout between the division’s leading goal kickers, Mount Waverley’s Luke Galle and Lyndale’s Trevor Kumetaitis.
The Mountain Lions start as favourites, but need to improve their goal kicking after an inaccurate display last round. The Pumas can win, but the Mountain Lions should do so.
Carrum Patterson Lakes vs Moorabbin (Roy Dore Reserve)
Moorabbin has won just a couple of games this season.
The Kangaroos have a chance to improve their form when they take on Carrum Patterson Lakes.
CPL’s performances in the last couple of rounds have been better than its first three games, but that doesn’t mean they have been good.
The Kangaroos will win well.