Preliminary Final Previews
DIVISION 1 with JASON BARBIN
Preliminary Final week features one match, with the winner to play for the ultimate glory.
St Pauls vs Dingley
Round 7 – St Pauls defeated Dingley 11.10.76 to 10.4.64
Round 15 – St Pauls defeated Dingley 8.12.60 to 7.10.52
This match-up features two very talented teams, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Dogs feature a classy midfield with superb skills both by hand and by foot. With Luke James leading the charge, their forward line is formidable and tough to hold in check and with Mark Marasco down back, their defence is much improved. The Dingoes boast a young midfield full of run with the ability to drift forward and kick goals. Phil Ball has proven to be a very capable forward while Darren Andrews has had another good year at full back.
The key to this game is the inevitable war of attrition. As both teams like to run the ball from half back, the team that is able to reduce the amount of errors that come with that style of play will win. It’s an obvious assumption but after 19 weeks of footy, both sides will suffer from fatigue at stages throughout the game and this will be important. St Pauls struggled a little bit down the stretch last week with fatigue and East Brighton were able to capitalise. I don’t think Paul Howroyd and co will let that happen again. With a grand final spot up for grabs, expect a tough contest that will go down to the wire.
St Pauls by 7 points.
DIVISION 2 with THE FOOTY TRAGIC
And now there are 3! As the season end approaches, Murrumbeena bows out in style, Bentleigh gets another week off and Oakleigh District get to lock horns with Mordialloc again in the Preliminary Final, usually the best game of the year as it is an all or nothing affair.
There was nothing in their 1st semi final, with Oakleigh District just outlasting a fast finishing Mordialloc. Both these teams faced tough opposition last week. Bentleigh lead from go to woe over the District, whereas it was similar on Sunday, with Mordialloc leading at every change as well over the Beena.
Bentleigh will be sitting back this week, looking forward to watching a “bash’m and crash’m” Prelim as the remaining two sides fight it out for the final spot in the Grand Final and the chance of participating in Division 1 next year.
It is a difficult one to pick; one each during the season then a narrow win to Oakleigh in that first semi, but I’m tipping Mordialloc, as Oakleigh’s Premiership Curse continues for another year. Let’s hope for a good day weather-wise, as both teams give it their all in the penultimate game of Season 2013.
DIVISION 3 with GOOD WILL HUNTER
This Saturday is the highly-anticipated Preliminary Final between Carrum Patterson Lakes and Dandenong. These two sides would be very familiar with each other, having met in the Qualifying Final a fortnight ago. On that occasion, the Lions held off the fast-finishing Redlegs to win by just six points. In fact of their three previous meetings this season, each result has been decided by two goals or less and every indication is that this match will be similarly close.
This is a game that will be won and lost in the midfield. Warren Judd, who was quiet against Doveton, will need to lift if Carrum Patterson Lakes is to get over the line. But the form of Lions Nigel Scott, Stu Cormack and Brett Wilson over the last month has been outstanding, and will make for an enthralling battle with Redlegs onballers Matt Van Schajik, Matthew Doggett and Dylan Bracebridge.
Dandenong’s Levi Moss and Lions veteran Adam L’Hullier will also require close attention from their direct opponents. Both are key playmakers that regularly bob up with game-changing goals when their sides need it most, but the pair go about it in completely different ways. Moss is quick and agile, regularly taking the game on with flair and dancing around his opponents to create scoring opportunities. L’Hullier, on the other hand, is an old-school footballer with outstanding footy smarts and always seems to run to the right spots and find the ball in acres of space. These two certainly have that X-factor about them and will definitely be players to watch out for.
However, Chris Hatfield looms as the potential match-winner for Dandenong with his size, strength, athleticism and versatility. He is a hard man to match up on and a big performance from him could get the Redlegs over the line.
These two sides are so evenly matched it’s almost impossible to pick a winner here. But there can only be one victor and I’m tipping Dandenong by the barest of margins.
UNDER 19s with GOOD WILL HUNTER
This Saturday is a massive Preliminary Final between Skye and Murrumbeena. Harley Turkington’s form down back has been exemplary in recent weeks, and I reckon he will do another terrific job on Bombers’ spearhead Ryan McConville. But the keys to a Skye victory will be the impressive form of midfielder Luke Bailey-Kohne and Blake Bormann’s run and carry off halfback. Both players have the ability to turn a game in their favour and will need to be nullified if Beena is to cause an upset here. However, Beena has typically struggled to run out games on big grounds such as Springvale Reserve and although they will take the fight right up to Skye, I’m tipping the Bombers will repeat their Qualifying Final result and book themselves a date with Bentleigh in the premiership decider.