Round 6 Men's Football Preview
In a quirk of fixturing, Round Six of the Southern Football Netball League’s Division 1 competition will finally conclude this weekend having begun back on Good Friday.
Nearly one month later the final four matches of the round will be played, with the Cranbourne Eagles to sit out this weekend having lost their only match of the season so far back in the Easter fixture.
In the April 15 game it was Cheltenham 13.11.89 who defeated Cranbourne 11.5.71, in a match that was retrospectively first playing second.
Cheltenham led by just two points at three quarter time that day before a six-goal last term drove the advantage home.
A contender for match of the day is certainly the clash between Mordialloc and Dingley at Ben Kavanagh reserve.
The match pits fifth against sixth in a must win affair for both sides.
Dingley have lost three of their five games but haven’t lost many admirers despite the fact they have lost more games already than in all of last season.
Mordialloc suffered a heavy defeat to St.Kilda City last week in what was their first major hiccup of the season so far.
How both sides respond here will likely tell us a lot about their prospects in the back end of the season.
Winless East Malvern will get another chance to open their account when they host the Port Melbourne Colts at Dunlop Reserve.
The only side yet to secure premiership points, East Malvern showed some encouraging signs across the first three quarters against the Cranbourne Eagles last week and the Colts are coming off a 50-point home defeat in Round Five.
The home side is averaging just six goals a game across the first five matches so will need to find a way to double that if they are to have a chance in this one.
St Paul’s McKinnon will host Springvale Districts in a really intriguing clash this weekend as well.
Springvale Districts have produced a couple of excellent victories this season but have just struggled for consistency.
Coach Kris Thompson spoke about the need to take their chances when presented.
“We played the conditions well last week but didn’t take our chances in front of goal in the first quarter.” He said.
“Our team defence was sound though and we need to keep that going.”
St Paul’s McKinnon were one of the competition’s more impressive winners last week and with a 3-2 record, they are one side that can truly capitalise on the fact the top two sides have already played their Round Six match.
Bentleigh were the team that fell to Springvale Districts last week and they’ll be trying to bounce back against a rejuvenated St.Kilda City who powered to a 69-point win over Mordialloc in Round Five.
St.Kilda City have a lot of star power, and save for one blemish in Round Three, have possibly played the best football in the competition at their peak this season.
The Demons have been brave in every match, and they’ll likely be again here, but it’s hard to go past the visitors.
We get to Round Six of the SFNL’s Division 2 competition with two unbeaten teams, but that is likely to change tomorrow when they come face to face in what is potentially an early Grand Final preview.
Chelsea Heights will play host to the Doveton Doves with both sides sitting at 4-0.
The Doves are averaging 112 points a game, which is at least four goals a game higher than any rival, with their opponents Chelsea Heights ranked number one defensively.
With the Doveton Doves having had the bye last week, it will be interesting to see if the break coming into a huge clash serves them well and freshens them up, or if it takes a slight sting out of them early in the game.
Fifth placed East Brighton will get the chance to put pressure on the top four when they host winless Heatherton in Round 6.
Heatherton are one of two teams in the competition yet to record a victory this season, and this again looks a tall order.
Both sides are coming off defeats, with East Brighton falling by 25-points to Keysborough last Saturday. They still look the team more likely to bounce back and square their season away at 3-3.
Highett will host Hampton Park in a game that presents a chance for the visitors to draw level on wins with both Highett and probably East Brighton.
Highett dodged a bullet last week in a surging come from behind win against Skye so they’ll need to be on their toes in this clash.
Coach Brad Berry highlighted his team’s resilience in that 7-point win last week.
“The group is showing a maturity that they are never out of games.” Berry said.
“Some composure with ball in hand and around the stoppages secured us the four points.”
Hampton Park pulled away to defeat Heatherton by ten goals last week and were ultimately an impressive victor.
This contest appears to be a genuine 50/50.
In the final game of the round, Skye are a chance to put the agony of last week behind them when they host the Caulfield Bears.
Skye are winless, whilst the Bears enter the clash at 1-4, so the home side would feel that if they can bring the same intensity as last week against Highett, they’d have to be a huge chance.
Having led by 31-points at the final change, Skye fell painfully short of a breakthrough win.
The Bears went down to Chelsea Heights and will fancy their chances a lot more in this contest.
Black Rock are the only undefeated team as we enter Round Six of the SFNL’s Division 3 competition.
At the other end, Clayton and South Yarra are still hunting their first win after tricky starts to the year.
Black Rock will face a tough test in their endeavours to stay unbeaten as they host a desperate Ashwood who are trying to avoid three straight losses.
Ashwood won their first three games of the season before a pair of tight losses has left them fourth on the table.
The home side have taken all before them this year, but this does look a stern test for them, which we are backing them to pass, albeit in a tight one.
Coach Ryan Handley will be eager to see them keep the momentum rolling after building nicely into last week’s clash with Clayton.
"It was a very pleasing second half after we took a while to get going. So hopefully that carries on.” Handley said.
Their opponents from last week Clayton will get the chance at a first victory when they take on Endeavour Hills.
Endeavour Hills broke their own drought last week, but a percentage of 97 suggests they’ve been a lot stronger than their ladder position would suggest.
Of course, a 121-point victory over South Yarra does help that percentage a little bit.
This is Clayton’s best chance at a breakthrough so far, but Endeavour Hills will likely be the slight favourites coming in.
Probably the match of the round is the clash between Carrum-Patterson Lakes and Murrumbeena with both teams sitting at 4-1 and in the top three.
Carrum-Patterson Lakes downed Ashwood in a dour struggle last week whilst Murrumbeena dropped their first game of the season in an 8-point loss to the Narre South Saints.
Murrumbeena were kept to just 42 points last week having average 147 in the previous month leading in.
They are clearly the highest scoring side in the competition with their opponents a clear number one in defence. So it will be a battle of contrasting styles.
In the last game of the round, the above mentioned Saints will look to keep the momentum rolling from last week’s strong victory when they host South Yarra.
South Yarra produced a competitive first half a fortnight ago but have been outscored by 240 points in their last six quarters.
If they start well, hopefully it will re-ignite the confidence that saw them take it right up to the league leaders in Round Four.
The Saints are looking to be going too well to drop this one though.
Round Six of the SFNL's Division 4 competition is highlighted by three big mid table clashes that could have big impacts on the top four.
Teams sitting 2nd, 4th and 5th play teams sitting 6th, 7th and 8th this week so we have the potential for significant movement.
South Mornington and Lyndale are both coming off victories heading into their clash at Citation Reserve.
Lyndale's victory was quite impressive over Hampton, and it could have been even bigger had they kicked straight.
South Mornington dominated their clash with Cerberus and ran away with a 92-point win.
They sit a game and 61 percentage points inside the top four, so victory here could extend that gap and they'd be favoured to do so.
Four teams hold win/loss records of 2-3 coming into this round, and two of those teams face each other this week as Dandenong hosts the Moorabbin Kangaroos.
Both sides lost by a combined 198 points last week so the bounce back factor is significant for whoever can land the win.
Only Cerberus have conceded more points than the Kangaroos this season, but last week's hiding has contributed significantly to the stat.
It ultimately comes down to who bounces back the hardest this week.
Second placed Hallam will take on Hampton who suffered a relatively surprising defeat last week against Lyndale.
Remarkably, Hallam are conceding just 32 points a game on average, and gave up just 14 last week against the Doveton Eagles.
They are proving to be the hardest team to score against in the competition and that is reflected in their strong season to date.
Hampton will need to find their best form to push this contest deep, which they are certainly capable of.
Like Hallam, Lyndhurst enter this round with a 4-1 record and they'd be confident of improving that further when they host the winless Cerberus.
Cerberus showed some encouraging signs a fortnight ago, and even in patches last week, and would be hoping to tap into that 2021 form in order to push their opponents here.
Lyndhurst have a big chance to extend their lead on the chasing pack and add some percentage in the process.
Wrapping up Round Six we have top playing second last with the unbeaten Frankston Dolphins hosting the Doveton Eagles.
The Dolphins are averaging 132 points per game with the Eagles averaging 51.8 per game.
At the other end the Dolphins concede 48 points per game on average, with the Eagles conceding 87.4.
The reality is the competition is a lot more even than those stats suggest, so this game shouldn't be a huge blowout, but the hosts do look too strong.