Round 11: Men's Football Preview
By Lincoln Edmunds
Another bumper weekend of football is in store for SFNL followers, with plenty of important clashes in Round 11 set to shape the ladder across all four divisions.
East Malvern and Bentleigh kick things off at Dunlop Reserve, both sides desperate to notch up a rare win in 2022.
The Demons sole win came back against the same opponent in Round 2 and they’ll be hopeful it’s a case of Déjà vu when they make the trip up north.
The visitors could receive a significant boost through former AFL number one pick Jack Watts, who has recently gone through the transfer process and is in line to pull on the red and blue once again.
Watt’s signing is a significant morale booster for the club, especially if his body lets him get on the park more than once.
The Panthers hung in against the Bloods last week and will be aiming to recreate that same fighting spirit right from the word go here.
Is this the week that the monkey finally comes off the back?
Over at JL Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne host Dingley in an important clash for both sides.
If the Colts go down in this one it’s all but curtains in season 2022 but a win would leave them just four points behind the fifth placed Dingoes.
The home side has not sung the song since mid-May and will be hurting following another drubbing last weekend.
The Dingoes aren’t without their issues either, and for the first time in recent memory are in a scrap to even qualify for finals.
The visitors were humbled on their home deck last weekend and will be eager to make a statement away from home right from the first bounce.
Statistically speaking both outfits are fairly evenly matched, averaging 86 points each per game.
With no doubts over eithers side's ability to score, it may come down to who defends best.
Cheltenham will be looking to make it eight wins on the trot when they host Mordialloc at Jack Barker Oval.
The Rosellas have been flawless since a 0-2 start to the year and continue to provide great entertainment and value for money to anyone in attendance.
After making light work of the Dingoes, the team will have little concern against the Bloods back on home turf, but will need to remain focused in the run home to September.
In saying that, the Bloods knocked them off way back in Round 2 and the hosts will be eager to right that wrong.
The visitors are still firmly in the mix for a finals spot and currently sit outside the top five on percentage alone.
But that may be their Achilles heel moving forward, with a clearly inferior percentage of 78 not likely to help their quest in the competition for spots.
Still the team has shown they can beat anyone on their day, as their win over the Rosellas earlier in the season proved.
They’ll be hoping that Brett O’Hanlon can repeat his heroics from last weekend after he starred with 22 disposals and eight goals.
An absolute beauty awaits Division 1 followers at McKinnon Reserve with third placed St Paul’s McKinnon hosting top of the table Cranbourne in a preview of some early finals action.
The Doggies have been in supreme touch, winning their last six games to entrench themselves in the top three.
Of course, it’ll be a much sterner task against the ladder leaders but the home side will be confident they can take it right up to the visitors.
The ever dangerous Stephen Muller will be key for the Dogs, the gun forward averaging four goals an outing in 2022.
The Eagles have barely put a foot wrong since entering the competition this season and will be looking to defend their hold on top spot.
The visitors convincingly took the points in this clash earlier in the season but much has changed since then and this should be a much tighter affair come the final siren Saturday.
Springvale Districts and St Kilda City close out the round, with their Round 11 meeting an important clash for differing reasons.
Despite sitting at 4-6, the Districts are still just one game behind fifth spot and far from out of the finals race.
However, a loss here would make their path to September just that little bit bumpier.
On the other side of the coin, the Saints will be eager to keep their foot down in pursuit of a top three spot.
With just one game and minimal percentage separating themselves and St Paul’s, the visitors will know they cannot afford to trip up in games they are expected to win.
The Saints have plenty of star power across the board and Aaron Edwards has made his presence felt with 26 goals in just six games giving opposition defenders plenty to think about.
The Saints should march away with the points here.
Fresh from a two week hiatus, Chelsea Heights return to action when they host Hampton Park at Beazley Reserve.
The home side is in a strong position with just one defeat after eight appearances, leaving them well placed in second spot on the ladder.
The team's success can be traced back to their strong defence, conceding just 318 points for the entire season at an average of just under 40 points per game.
Hampton Park is in the midst of a tough fixture, facing the top two sides in consecutive weeks, and they’ll need to bring their very best to keep their season alive.
Caulfield are roaring following their brilliant win over Keysborough last weekend, and the Bears will be hot favourites to make it back-to-back victories when they host Heatherton at Koornang Park Reserve.
The home side produced one of their best performances of the season against the Burras, with Chris Smith hauling his side over the line with an inspirational performance of six goals.
The result has the Bears firmly in the hunt for a finals spot and they’ll be eyeing off a percentage booster against the winless Tonners.
The end of the season can’t come soon enough for Heatherton after they were demolished by a massive margin once again, this time by the Dogs.
Unfortunately, more likely pain awaits when they hit the road on Saturday afternoon.
Robinson Reserve is the place to be this weekend, with the match of round between Doveton and Keysborough promising to be an absolute belter.
The Doves kept their unbeaten season alive with a professional win over the Redbacks and will be looking to inflict the visitors second loss in succession.
The Burras were humbled on their home deck against the Bears, running out of puff in the final stanza as Chris Smith and the Bears took charge.
They won’t have long to lick their wounds, with the toughest road trip in the competition suddenly a vital clash with their spot in the top four under pressure.
The visitors will need to be wary of the competition’s leading goal kicker Michael Cardamone, the Doves gun hitting the scoreboard every week to have 28 goals next to his name.
These two sides clashed back in Round 2, and it was a genuine arm wrestle for the majority of the afternoon before the Doves took flight in the last term.
The Burras will be hoping to flip the script this time around.
The round draws to a close at Highett, with the home side facing off against East Brighton in an important outing for both clubs.
The Dogs snapped their four-game losing streak in style with a thumping win last weekend and will be looking to carry on that form right from the first bounce.
Mitch Hoar continued his impressive season with another haul of five goals, taking his season tally to 28 majors to sit second on the competition leaderboard.
The Vampires are just two points clear of the Dogs on the ladder and will be desperate to maintain some breathing space as the run home heats up.
Highett got the better of them on their home turf earlier in the season, and the Vampires would love nothing more than to spoil the Dogs party.
Skye get the weekend off.
Black Rock will be looking to bounce back when they take on South Yarra at Macdonald Reserve.
The Jets were stunned in the second half against the Falcons and paid a heavy price with their second loss of the season knocking them from their perch on top of the ladder.
Despite the defeat, Ned Fallon was superb with four goals and added another glittering display to an already impressive season.
The Rockers should rebound quickly against the battling Lions and we could see a ruthless display in search of some much needed percentage to reclaim top spot.
A much closer affair is on the cards over at Murrumbeena Park with Beena hosting Ashwood in a big clash for both clubs.
The home side jumped up to top spot following last weekend’s results and will be determined to remain there for the rest of the season.
Steve Tolongs maintained his grip as the competition’s leading goal kicker with four majors last week, taking his tally to 44 for the year.
The Magpies are one of a few teams battling it out for fourth spot and will be under no illusions on how important this game is.
The Pies have put away the teams they’ve been expected to this season but need to claim a scalp or two on the run home to cement their place in finals.
A win on the road here against Beena would be a big statement.
Carrum Patterson Lakes look likely to salute when they host Clayton at the impressive Roy Dore Reserve.
The Lions snapped a two-game losing streak with a dominant display against the Yarras and will be looking to keep the ball rolling when they return to their home patch.
Their past couple of clashes on home turf have been heart-stopping finishes and their supporters will be hoping for a far less nervous finish this weekend.
The Clays hung in against the top side last weekend before fading in the second half.
Despite the loss, Paul Tsoucalas continues to be a force in the front half, booting three goals to take his season tally to 35.
He’ll need to be at his very best if the visitors are to walk away with the four points here.
The best is perhaps saved until last, with a cracking contest in store at Strathaird Reserve as Narre South and Endeavour Hills square off in a vital game for both clubs.
The Falcons are the form team of the competition and they showed their credentials with an impressive victory over premiership fancies Black Rock.
Their form line over the past three games is as good as it gets, with victories over the top three teams.
Nick Gay and Baron Grant have been instrumental in recent outings and will be key players for the Saints to watch.
The home side desperately need a win to keep them within reach of the top four.
With four wins to their name and only eight games remaining, time is running out for the Saints to pull it all together.
They’ll enter as underdogs but a win here could kick-start their charge towards September.
An intriguing clash between South Mornington and Hallam gets Division 4 underway, both sides eager to cement their spot inside the top four.
The Tigers got the fright of their life last weekend against the Hammers, hanging on by the skin of their teeth in an entertaining and high scoring affair.
Despite dodging a bullet there, they’ll know a more consistent effort is required against the third placed Hawks.
Hallam did what was expected of them last week and now they have a golden opportunity to create some breathing space on the ladder with a two-game cushion in third spot up for grabs.
The Hawks will take notice of the way the Tigers leaked goals last weekend and will look to exploit them up forward with Jack Sharlassian proving hard to stop this season with 43 majors.
Whichever way this goes, there will be big ramifications.
Dandenong is out to keep their faint finals hopes alive when they take on a plucky Lyndale outfit at Greaves Reserve.
The Redlegs were the latest team to feel the wrath of the Dolphins and are out to snap a two-game losing streak when they take to the field.
They’ll be up against a confident outfit after the Pumas produced a spirited second half to knock off the Kangaroos, recording their third win of the season.
Whilst finals are off the radar for the visitors, they have shown on several occasions this season that there’s plenty of fight and spirit in the camp.
Whether they can string two consistent performances together, is another question.
Lyndhurst, bar a catastrophe, should record their tenth win of the year when they host Hampton at Marriott Waters Reserve on the weekend.
The Lightning have been in sensational form all season, but have been particularly brutal in their past three appearances with an average winning margin of 147 points.
You’d be forgiven to think that a similar outcome is on the cards against the eighth placed Hammers, but last week’s spirited performance by the visitors gives reason to believe this could be closer than initially expected.
It might be a funny thing to say after a loss, but the Hammers heart-breaking defeat to the Tigers was one of their best showings of the season.
Against a quality opponent, the Hammers refused to go away all afternoon and booted their highest score of the season to almost pull off the upset of the year.
In a tough year for the club Corey Smith has stood up, while Reece Walker has hit the scoreboard in the past fortnight with four majors.
Another David against Golliath clash takes place over at McAuliffe Oval, with ninth placed Cerberus taking on the undefeated juggernaut in Frankston.
The Dolphins must feel like they are playing a video game on easy at the minute, the team has consistently toyed with other sides this year and have cracked 150+ points in four of their past six games.
With two months still to play out before finals, the coaching staff will be conscious of stamping out any form of complacency but right now it’s hard to see even that stopping them.
Their spread up forward was on display once again last weekend with ten individual goal kickers, with Lachlan Fielding producing a best on ground effort with five majors.
The Dogs were flattened by Hallam last Saturday and unfortunately a similar fate could be on the cards here.
The curtain comes down on Round 11 with Doveton Eagles and Moorabbin facing off at Power Reserve.
The Eagles will be looking to drag themselves off the bottom of the table, while the Kangaroos will be smarting following a six-goal defeat to the Pumas last round.
With finals off the table, both sides will be playing for pride in what should be a fairly even contest.
The Roos took the points by under a kick when they met back in Round 2 and the Eagles will be hoping a change in venue reverses their fortunes.
Sean Beath has been consistent all year for the Kangas and is sure to poll well in the club Best and Fairest, as is Josh Glover.
For the Eagles, Adam Machnikowski and Josh Johns have been reliable as ever and will be key to the home sides chances on Saturday.