Men's Football: 10th September Finals Preview

Division 1:

Preliminary Final – Cranbourne Eagles v St Kilda City, Saturday 10 September, 2:10pm – RSEA Park

A heavyweight preliminary final awaits with the winner of Cranbourne and St Kilda City to earn their way through to a Grand Final clash against Cheltenham.

The Eagles have been forced to take the long road to the big dance after falling to the Rosellas in their Semi-Final clash last weekend.

Frustratingly for Steve O’Brien’s men they matched, if not outplayed, the Rosellas for several periods throughout the game but suffered costly lapses in the second and fourth term to cough up a golden opportunity.

The Eagles can credit Marc Holt for keeping them in the game, with the spearhead’s six goal effort helping keep his side within reach at the three-quarter time huddle.

Ultimately it wasn’t to be and the Eagles will need to put their disappointment behind them if they are to rebound with the prospect of another crack at the Rosellas the following weekend.

The Saints meanwhile pulled off a miraculous victory over St Paul’s last weekend, with City kicking the last three goals of the game to pinch a thrilling three-point epic against the Doggies.

They had to do it without marquee players Dane Swan and Brendan Fevola, who both went down with injury during the clash and are in significant doubt to feature this weekend.

While it was a blow with two of big guns out and the writing on the wall, the team dug deep and pulled off an inspirational victory that is sure to boost their belief even further.

Luke Potts stepped up when it mattered most with a superb performance to drag his side over the line and similar heroics will be required again this weekend.

Judd Rowell has also important with two majors and James Magner continued his stretch of fine performances.

The Saints took the spoils in their last meeting by five goals back in July, but that was off the back of excellent performances by Swan and Fevola.

The Eagles were also in somewhat of a form slump and won’t be reading too much into the result with plenty of water under the bridge since then.

Both sides have two of the best key forwards in the competition with Aaron Edwards and Marc Holt set to play huge roles at either end of the ground.

Edwards has been in ripping form with 26 goals in his past month, and the former AFL sharpshooter booted five goals against the Eagles back in the Saints Round 12 victory.

Holt meanwhile showed what a force he is when on song, almost single-handedly dragging his team back to parity from a five-goal half time deficit last weekend.

Ryan Jones also popped up with three important majors and the Eagles will need a good spread up forward to boot a winning score.

They only need to look at the blueprint from their Round 2 demolition of the Saints for inspiration, where they had seven players boot multiple majors in a nine-goal thrashing.

With no Swan and Fevola in that game, the Eagles put their foot on the throat early to establish their dominance and they’ll be hoping for a similar outcome here.

The Eagles will enter as slight favourites but the banged-up Saints have defied the odds so far this finals series and they will be determined to keep their underdog story alive.

As last weekend’s clash against the Doggies proved, bad kicking is bad football and neither side can afford to squander their chances in front of goal.

In games of high pressure and intensity, it often comes down to who can execute the basics for longer.

Cheltenham will wait from the sidelines not bothered which way the result falls, but they’ll be hoping both sides burn plenty of petrol tickets in their road to the last game in September.

By 5pm, we’ll have our two Division 1 Grand Finalists.

Division 2:

Grand Final Doveton Doves V Chelsea Heights, Saturday 10 September, 2:15pm – Ben Kavanagh Reserve

The fight for the flag comes down to the two best teams, with Doveton Doves and Chelsea Heights renewing hostilities with the greatest prize on the line.

Both clubs have compiled premiership worthy campaigns with many tipping this contest to be the likely Grand Final match up at the half way mark of the season.

Now we’re finally here, fans can expect a cracking contest that will crown the Division 2 premiers for season 2022.

Despite producing a dominant home and away season with a minor premiership next to their name, the Demons finals campaign has been a rollercoaster ride with results on both sides of the coin.

After enduring a humbling 93-point loss to the Doves in the first Semi-Final, the Heighters hit back hard last weekend with a dominant second quarter putting their preliminary final to bed against the Bears.

The result was a positive return to form and sets them up for a shot at the ultimate revenge against the team that pulled their pants down a fortnight ago.

Luke Tapscott thrived on the big stage last weekend, slotting four goals in a dominant display to see him take best on ground honours.

The Dees will be banking on the former 48-game AFL player to replicate a similar showing from the first bounce, with Jake O’Neill and Jessie Odell also showing solid form in finals thus far.

Cameron Gates and Aaron Rhodes were also in the thick of things last weekend and Brad Gilder is always a threat in front of goal with 47 majors from 14 games.

Jordan Peryman has had a superb season for the Demons featuring amongst the best most weeks whilst consistently hitting the scoreboard to average a goal a game, and the Doves need to keep a close eye on him.

Factor in Shaun Chaseling who has also put through 27 snags for the season, and the Demons have plenty of contributors capable of booting a winning score.

Doveton has been sensational since their inception into the competition and their confidence will be sky high heading into the big dance.

Their finals campaign has been flawless, with big wins over Keysborough and Chelsea Heights earning them a week's rest before the premiership decider.

Naturally they’ll take great belief from their Semi-Final drubbing over the Demons but will be need to be on their toes for the expected counterpunch.

Max Shepard, Travis Woodfield and Michael Cardamone did the damage in front of the big sticks last meeting with ten goals between the trio, while Jake Ingaliso has been unstoppable in his past two appearances.

With eight players booting 11+ goals for the season and 26 players hitting the scoreboard at least once, the Doves have consistently proved they don’t rely on any one player to kick a winning score.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have some key targets, with Michael Cardamone bagging 51 goals and Travis Woodfield 37 majors respectively.

With plenty of firepower and even contributors across both sides, it’ll be about nailing the basics and executing under pressure to set the scoreboard in motion.

With both sides suffering just three losses each for the season, it’s hard to get a read on which way the result will fall.

The Doves hold a 2-1 record over the Demons from their three meetings and factoring in their impressive display just a fortnight ago, will enter this as slight favourites.

But the Demons have been a force all season and will be determined to avenge their Semi-Final horror show in the sweetest fashion.

If the Heighters can start well early and banish the ghosts of August 27, they’ll be more than confident of lifting the premiership cup around 5pm.

With one final chapter in 2022 to be written, who will walk away with the happy ending?

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