Round 7: Men's Football Preview
The Southern Football Netball League’s top Division of men’s football is really starting to shape up with teams in the middle portion of the ladder eager to collect a win this week to keep them in touch with the top 5.
One of those sides looking to prove themselves as a finals contender is Port Melbourne Colts who host the red-hot Cheltenham this week.
Cheltenham have looked unstoppable since their 0-2 start to the season with that classy midfield of the likes of Weickhardt, Kilburn and Davis compiling big numbers every week.
Despite losing star midfielder Matt Sondergold to an injury, the Port Colts still have the top two ball winners in the competition in Justin Taylor (183 disposals) and Stephen Brewer (169 disposals).
This certainly has upset potential with the Colts on their home deck and they might just have the X-Factor to knock off the Rosellas.
Cranbourne will play against Mordialloc for the first time in the SFNL this Saturday, and if you go off recent form they will go in warm favourites.
The Blood’s have lost three of the last four games after a hot start to the season and Cranbourne star forward Marc Holt will be prepared to do some damage.
Interestingly, Holt’s likely matchup will be Modiallioc’s star defender Dylan Gregson who will know Holt well from their time together at Karingal in the MPNFL where they played in a grand final together.
Even if Holt is kept quiet, Mordi will still find it difficult to stop the Eagles with their efficient ball movement.
Cranbourne have kept the ball off their opposition better than anyone this season with a kicking efficiency of 66%, and Mordialloc will need to bring the heat to attempt to stop them from getting a run on.
Another game that will have fans intrigued will be St Pauls heading up to the Peanut Farm to take on St Kilda City.
City are the only side to average over 100 on the scoreboard this season, and have huge names up forward that can win games off their own boot.
The Doggies will have to put a lot of effort into the star players and fight their way through stoppages to give as many entries to their forwards as possible.
SFNL legend Matt Kreymborg really hit his straps last week with 21 disposals, seven tackles and set up plenty of goals.
They do have the best scoring percentage when going inside-50 in the competition, which should give them a slight edge, especially when stars like Kreymborg get the ball in their hands.
Dingley host Bentleigh at Souter Reserve where they will not be taking any chances with their spot in the top-5 more than up for grabs.
The Dingoes have not set the world on fire as of yet this season, but were clinical last week against Mordialloc. Lucas Walmsley dominated with 37 possessions as did Justin Van Unen with six goals.
On paper, it looks like it could be a long day for Bentleigh. But in recent history, the Demons play very well against the reigning premiers.
In 2021, Bentleigh beat them in Round 4 before losing by just ten points in Round 13.
Do not count the Dee’s out, but Dingley just needs to win this one.
East Malvern will be hungry for their first win of the season when they travel to Springvale Reserve on Saturday.
For East Malvern, Paul Fry and Tom Preece have been two of the top midfielders in the competition so far this season. Springvale Districts are a low-possession team, so the key will be to turn this strong Panthers ball-winning into scoring opportunities for their forwards.
But Springvale Districts have been in some good form despite a disappointing final quarter against St Pauls last week.
Expect the Districts to bounce back this week on their home deck.
The match of the round in Division 2 will see the third placed Keysborough host the second placed Chelsea Heights.
Both teams sit at four wins and one loss and both are just four points behind the ladder leading Doveton Doves.
The Heighters will welcome back star Luke Tapscott who missed last week's important clash against the top team where they fell just short.
Keysborough have also only lost to the Doves and have been super impressive with great team effort wins in their other four matches. Matt Carnelley has been in terrific form up forward for the Burras and will be the key to stop this Saturday, but Chelsea Heights star power might just prove to be the difference.
The Doveton Doves will look to keep their undefeated streak alive against Skye at home this Saturday.
Welcoming some players back from injury, the Doves are only getting stronger and are putting themselves in the forefront for a maiden SFNL premiership in their first season.
Skye are yet to record a win this season but are on the right track after a slow start to the year.
The key for the Bombers will be to stop Doveton’s strong scoring power, and make the most of their chances when moving the ball.
They have definitely been improving in previous weeks, and the wins will come if they can convert inside-50
But it will be tough this week against the ladder leaders.
Another great game will be the fifth placed East Brighton travelling to the sixth placed Hampton Park.
Hampton Park are coming off a terrific win last week against Highett to make it three in a row.
“It was a really tough game in which both sides had patches of dominance, our last quarter against the breeze was so gutsy to kick 4 goals to 1, and get the result in such an important game we were really pleased,”
The Redbacks take great momentum into this one but East Brighton are in similar form.
Kai Love-Linay looks to be the most in-from player in Division 2 with five consecutive mentions in the best players and three goals last week.
This is a coin-toss of a game, and one that both teams will really want.
Caulfield need a win this week to keep in touch with the pack as they host Highett.
Last week they hopped on the shoulders of stalwart Chris Smith who kicked five goals to carry them over the line against Skye.
They may not have the same luxury against Highett who are looking to remain in touch with the top bracket and have generally kept teams to low scores this season.
Some cracking games this weekend in Division 3 including a top of the table clash as Murrumbeena (2nd) host Black Rock (1st).
Black Rock have been thrilled with their performances so far this season taking things week-by-week. But they have their biggest test yet against Murrumbeena and they are ready.
“Alan Wallace will be missing across the half back line for the next 6 weeks with a foot injury but apart from that we have a clean bill of health,” Black Rock Coach Ryan Handley says.
For Murrumbeena, they have put their opposition to the sword so far this year with big scores.
All led by goal kicking star Steve Tolongs with 32 goals in six games who will be a key to stop.
It is a very interesting game in readiness at Beena Arena, and The Lions might just end the Jets undefeated run.
Carrum Patterson Lakes winning streak came to a tough end last week against Murrumbeena and they will look to make amends this week against Narre South.
Pocket rocket Luke Hayes is one to keep an eye on for the league medal for Narre South. He has proven to be a huge pickup for the Saints, and will be one to watch for CPL as an attacking presence who racks up the touches.
But CPL seems to have so many players capable of tearing the game apart in attack.
Rohan Bleeker has not lost two in a row since taking over as playing-coach, and will want to get back on the winners list at Roy Dore Reserve.
Clayton will take plenty of confidence into their clash against South Yarra this weekend as they head to Leigh Park.
The Clays claimed their first win of the season last week and will look to make it two in a row here.
With the greatest respect to the Yarras, it has been a very rough start to the year and they have struggled to stop the bleeding with opposition teams scoring at will.
If they can make it a scrappy contest that will be the key and hopefully for their sake they can get some players back in and make it a competitive one.
Another intriguing one is Endeavour Hills hosting Ashwood.
The Woods probably do not have the results on the board yet that they were hoping for, and have seen some key players face some injuries.
Nonetheless, this is a big opportunity for them to get back on the winners list.
A player worth noting for the Falcons is Nick Gay, who has been named in the best every game so far this season.
Expect a more even spread of contributors this weekend but they might still find it tough against the class of Ashwood.
The Puma’s look ahead to host the Hawks at home this weekend, Lyndale will be pushing for a strong performance after a close loss to South Mornington.
Hallam currently sit second on the ladder and will be making their way to Barry Powell Reserve with their heads held high after a big win against Hampton.
Key forward Jack Sharlassian will be looking to continue his reign as leading goal scorer for the League, already kicking an impressive 27 goals for the Hawks this season and will be a name on the Lyndale whiteboard.
Expect Hallam to continue to push into that top bracket on the ladder this week.
South Mornington make the trip to Marriott Waters Reserve for their clash against the Lyndhurst Lightning.
Lyndhurst made a big impression on the scoreboard last week but may face a challenge from the Tigers, no one will be giving up the fight here.
South Mornington have had some strong four quarter efforts so far this year so fans will be sure not to call the game until the final siren.
But Lyndhurst’s top end talent should get them over the line and keep them contending in Division 4.
The Hampton Hammers have had a strong start to the season since kicking off 2022 in a new division, but will be tested this week by the Frankston Dolphins.
Coach Rich Mathers criticised himself after kicking 12 goals last week amid several behinds, the Hammers will have to keep an eye on the league leading goalkicker as he looks to straighten up a bit.
Hampton are struggling to settle as they sit eighth on the ladder and after a big loss last week, they just need to try to stop the bleeding against the Division 4 powerhouse this week.
Doveton Eagles welcome the Dandenong Redlegs to Power Reserve and will be on the hunt for a good game.
Dandenong are coming off the back of a big win and will be keen on trying to secure two in a row.
The Eagles have been on the wrong end of some big margins recently and will hope for redemption this weekend at home.
This could be an interesting result if the Eagles can rally the troops together but it will be tough away from home against a team in pretty good form.
The Navy Boys from Cerberus make their way inland as they continue to hunt for their first win of the season after several close calls.
The Moorabbin Kangaroos are currently sitting at seventh on the ladder and have several notable performances from the likes of Aaron Robins and Sean Beath.
Cerberus have recently been running out of legs towards the fourth quarter and eventually have a few too many goals scored against them.
But this could be the week if they bring their A-Game and push the ball out of their backline with efficiency.