Round 14: Men's Football Preview

By Lincoln Edmunds

Division 1:

Mordialloc and St Kilda City open proceedings in Round 14, the Saints expected to continue their hot form when they make the trip up Nepean Highway to Ben Kavanagh Reserve. 

The visitors have recorded back-to-back wins over top five contenders in the past fortnight and will be eyeing off a double chance in the remaining home and away fixtures.

Even on one foot, Dane Swan recorded yet another best on ground effort while Aaron Edwards and Brendan Fevola both booted four goals each.

The Bloodhounds have endured a rough patch in recent times and will be up against it facing one of the premiership contenders. 

Brett O’Hanlon has provided a strong target up forward for the Bloods with 28 goals this year, while Ben Stephenson and Dylan Gregson have put together consistent campaigns. 

All three will need to fire if they are to cause a major boilover here.

Springvale Districts season is still alive after a convincing win last weekend and they’ll be looking to bank another four points when they take on Bentleigh away from home.

The Districts produced a scintillating second half to run away with a much needed percentage booster, with Tyrone Vickery and Alex Derzekos both slotting three majors each.

With just five games left to make a push for the top five, the Districts cannot afford any slip ups in games they are expected to win.

The home side will be well aware of this and will be eager to deflate the Districts spirit. 

Bentleigh endured a heartbreaking five-point defeat to the Colts last round, but showed plenty of promise in an entertaining affair.

The story of the afternoon was Hudson Thomas, the ball magnet recording a staggering 50 disposals totaling 44 kicks, 15 marks at 82% disposal efficiency. 

Another Thomas, this time of the Bailey variety, also starred with five goals in an effort that almost got the Demons over the line.

If the home side can produce a similar effort for four quarters on Saturday, they’ll be sure to make the visitors sweat.

A David v Goliath battle awaits spectators at Dunlop Reserve with the winless Panthers taking on the second placed Rosellas in what should be a fairly predictable outcome.

East Malvern are in the midst of a horror draw, facing the top three sides in succession, with brutal results against St Paul’s and Cranbourne pointing to more pain here.

Cheltenham are looking to make it 12 wins in a row and should have no issues doing so, with their main task building enough percentage to reclaim top spot.

The team’s fluidity up forward is a sight to behold, with another even spread across the park with 11 individual goal-kickers in the 16-goal effort against St Paul’s.

If the Rosellas can make light work of the third placed Dogs, it’s scary to think what could happen here.

Perhaps the closest match of the round takes place at Livingston Reserve when Cranbourne host Dingley in a top five clash.

There’s plenty on the line for both clubs with the Eagles determined to retain top spot, while the Dingoes are far from cemented in the top five.

The home responded in empathic fashion with a massive win over the Panthers last weekend but will have to work harder to secure the win here.

Marc Holt and Kirk Dickson had games to remember, booting a whopping nine goals each with Dickson producing a best afield effort for the second week running.

The Dingoes endured another loss against a rival inside the top five, and even if they do enough to qualify for finals it’s hard to see them doing any real damage on current form. 

The club has been boosted by the signing of former top 10 AFL draft pick Nathan Freeman, who threw the boots on last weekend and will feature in the Dingoes midfield in the run home. 

As any Southern follower will know from the recent years, you can never completely write off this Dingoes outfit. 

If they can pull off a trademark backs against the wall victory here, who’s to say they can’t be a force when September rolls around.

St Paul’s McKinnon will be determined to put a dirty day behind them when they host Port Melbourne Colts to wrap up Round 14 action.

The Doggies were taught a lesson by the Rosellas last weekend and have plenty to work on ahead on their impending finals campaign. 

At risk of looking too far forward, the Dogs are in a huge battle to hold their ground in third spot with City snapping at their heels just 7% behind.

Their run home sees them enter as favourites in at least four of their remaining five fixtures, with the Round 16 clash against the Saints potentially deciding who gets the double chance.

Regardless, the Dogs cannot afford to take their eye off the ball and slip up against a danger side such as the Colts.

The visitors recorded their fifth win with a nail-biting finish against the Demons and will be out to spoil the home sides party when they make the trip.

If the Colts are to cause an upset, they’ll need to clean up their goal kicking after they booted just 12 goals from 36 scoring efforts last round.

There’s too much on the line for the home side here and they should bounce back.


Division 2:

Division 2 gets underway with a top four blockbuster between Chelsea Heights and Caulfield at Beazley Reserve.

The Demons hot form continued last week with another dominant display and the home side is in cherry ripe condition to take on another challenger on their home turf.

Bradley Gilder enters the match in sparkling form after six goals last Saturday and will be one player the visitors will need to keep an eye on. 

The Bears will enter with fresh legs after the bye last week and will be eager to test their game style against one of the competition front runners. 

In a match that could produce finals like intensity, fans are sure to be treated to a high quality spectacle right from the word go. 

Pride is on the line when Skye and Highett battle it out for a consolation victory in their Round 14 meeting at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve. 

Both clubs have combined for just five wins this season and will be looking to finish the season off strong with one eye already on 2023. 

Despite the tough season the Dogs will be wrapped with Sam Jackon’s form, with the heart and soul onballer never giving up.

Thomas Mackie has also chipped in with a solid year and Mitch Hoar leads the goal kicking with 26 majors.

Skye have only tasted victory once this season and should be fired up in their quest to double their win tally.

Like so many games this season, they were competitive without getting the chocolates last week and they’ll be determined to put in a four-quarter effort in front of their home crowd.

Hampton Park’s faint finals hopes remain alive after they triumphed over Skye last weekend and the Redbacks will be knocking on the door of the top five if they win against Heatherton this weekend. 

Despite tallying just four victories after 12 appearances, the Redbacks are remarkably just four premiership points behind East Brighton in fifth. 

While their percentage is 14% inferior, it’s not an insurmountable task to make up in the remaining fixtures. 

Jye King and Travis Davis both combined with six goals last week and have consistently chipped in for the Redbacks this season. 

It’s been a season of hardship for the Tunners and they’ll be aiming to put up a fight in the remaining games of the season. 

Division 2 wraps up with an intriguing top five clash between East Brighton and Keysborough at Hurlingham Reserve. 

There’s plenty at stake for the home side, who are clinging onto fifth spot with finals far from locked in.

They were competitive against the ladder leaders last week, but ultimately didn’t have the firepower to cause any damage on the scoreboard.

The Burras are in decent form, claiming their last three matches and will enter here as favourites despite being away from home.

Thomas Shaw turned heads last round with a 10-goal haul, moving him to the clubs leading goal scorer with 40 majors for the season.

With the ever-reliable Matt Carnelley also slotting 33 goals for the season, the Burras have a dangerous duo who are capable of causing plenty of damage. 

East Brighton will have to keep both quiet if they are to notch up a victory here.

The Doves get to rest their wings this weekend with the bye.


Division 3:

It’s third against fourth when Ashwood and Endeavour Hills face off at Essex Heights Reserve, with both clubs desperate to bank crucial premiership points as we approach finals.

The Falcons remarkable run continued last week with their victory over Clayton catapulting them inside the top four.

With five games remaining their challenge is to remain there, but having worked so hard to get into this position there’s no doubt the team will be up for the fight.

Alex Cann and Jayden Regan were dominant up forward with four goals each last week and will be eager to back it up against a quality opponent this weekend.

The Magpies are picking themselves up off the canvas after a heartbreaking two-point defeat to Black Rock last week.

The Pies came away with everything bar the victory and will be buoyed by the fact that their best football is clearly good enough to challenge any side. 

However, with just two premiership points separating third to sixth they’ll know that winning these 50/50 games could be the difference between a finals spot.

With so much on the line for both clubs, expect to see plenty of ferocity and desperation right from the first bounce. 

The match of the round takes shape in the form of a top two blockbuster between Black Rock and Murrumbeena at Macdonald Reserve. 

The Jets hung on for dear life with a gripping two-point triumph last week, setting them up beautifully with a two-game buffer at the top of the table.

With Byron Wright (39 goals) and Ned Fallon (27 goals) firing up forward, the ladder leaders have plenty of firepower inside their forward fifty.

Beena bounced back to form with a clinical display against CPL, and will be looking to ramp it up from here leading into September. 

Steve Tolongs took his season tally to 53 goals after four majors last week and Corey Hargrave made an impact in his first game of the year with two goals.

In what could be a preview of week one finals action, expect this to be a belter no matter what the final scoreboard reads.

It’s not a stretch to say both Narre South and Carrum Patterson Lakes seasons are on the line when they square off at Strathaird Reserve to close the round.

CPL’s second loss in succession saw them tumble down the ladder to sixth spot and the alarm bells are ringing with just five weeks left in the home and away fixtures.

The Lions were completely outclassed by Beena last round and must turn things around quickly to avoid their season slipping away. 

Conversely, the Saints have won their past two and look to be trending upwards at the right time of the season.

Despite their differing form lines, it’s still incredibly difficult to tip a winner in this one with both sides having plenty of quality across the park.

To empathise how evenly matched these two sides are, only 0.46% separates them on the ladder!

Whoever claims the spoils in this one will take a giant stride towards their finals ambitions. 


Division 4:

Lyndhurst will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Greaves Reserve to face Dandenong this weekend. 

The Lightning suffered their second loss for the season after they once again proved to be no match for the competition front runners and clear premiership favourites Frankston.

In a year where their forwards have dominated oppositions defenders, the Lightning found themselves restricted to just five goals with only Hamish Browning showing some resilience with three majors.

The team should bounce back comfortably against the Redlegs, but nothing that occurs here will change where this side sits in the pecking order. 

Hallam will be eyeing off their tenth win of the year when they host Doveton at Hallam Reserve. 

The Hawks overcame a plucky Kanagroos last week with Jack Sharlassian producing a standard day at the office with four goals to take his season tally to 47.

There should be plenty of chances for the gun forward and his teammates to boost their averages coming up against the wounded Eagles. 

It’s not a question of if the Hawks prevail, it’s by how much.

Just like the Hawks, South Mornington should face no hurdles in their quest to record their tenth win of 2022 when they hit the road to face Cerberus.

The Tigers are all but certain to fare in finals with a three-game buffer and will be looking to fine tune in the remaining fixtures. 

Josh Abela had a game to remember last weekend with 10 goals stealing the headlines and earning best on ground honors.

Abela and the Tigers forwards will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the battling three-headed dogs come 2pm Sunday.

Frankston were actually made to raise a sweat for their 12th win last weekend but once again proved to be a class above when they claimed the points against Lyndhurst.

The Dolphins now face the Kangaroos on their home patch in a match up that won’t leave them awake at night.

The Kangaroos showed plenty of guts for three-quarters before being overrun by the Hawks and now face the toughest assignment in the competition.

No one is expecting them to win, which is why they should enter this clash with nothing to lose. 

Lyndale will be out to register their fifth win on the bounce when they venture to Peterson Street Reserve to take on Hampton this weekend.

The Pumas have put together a fantastic month with some dominant performances and you can’t help but wonder where this was earlier in the season.

Nevertheless, the late season resurgence at least gives them something to build from in 2023 and a victory here could see them jump up into fifth spot. 

It’s been the Kandakji show in recent weeks, with both Khaled and Ahmed combining for 13 goals last week to continue their impressive form.

The duo will be eyeing off another devastating performance when they come up against the understrength Hammers. 

Hampton recorded their fourth win of the season last round and will be giving themselves every chance of making it back-to-back victories when they run out on their home turf.

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