Round 8 Preview: Division 1-4
Division 1 – Round 8 Preview
It’s another big round of football in Division 1 with some ladder shaping contests taking place this weekend.
East Malvern return to the Zoo with another big challenge on their hands, this time up against Port Melbourne Colts. The Panthers were superb last weekend, becoming the first side to get the better of Cheltenham in a ripping performance. They’ll be looking to emulate that feat once again against a refreshed Colts. The visitors had the week off last round and will still be stewing on their one point defeat to the Bloodhounds two weeks ago. Port have lost two of their past three games to slip down to third spot after a blistering start. They’ll be looking to make a statement with the winner of this game claiming a top three spot for the time being. It should be a cracking contest with the margin to stay tight for the majority of the game in what could be a grandstand finish. Toss of the coin this one!
St Kilda City return to the Peanut Farm to host St Paul’s in their Round 8 clash. The Saints were scratchy for three quarters against the winless Highett last week before they clicked into gear with a dominant final term. They face the other Bulldogs this week who have similarly struggled so far this season. St Paul’s were gallant, like so often this year, but ultimately fell short of the Dingoes last week. While they’ve remained competitive in every game this season, they haven’t been able to produce consistent effort across the four quarters. The Saints enter this one as favourites and should get the job done, cementing themselves in the top five.
Oakleigh District return to the field after their bye last round, the home side welcoming Mordialloc to Princess Highway Reserve for their stoush. While both sides currently feature in the bottom five of the ladder, the Bloodhounds still have plenty to play for with finals not out of the picture yet. The visitors were humbled at home against Bentleigh last week and will need to dust themselves off quickly to move on from the disappointment of blowing a golden opportunity to close the gap on the top five. Despite the loss, the club has been in decent form over the past month and should head into this clash with confidence that they can get the job done. District on the other hand will be primed to have a red hot crack, with the hope that their fresh legs will see them run the game out stronger.
The game of the round undisputedly belongs to the match taking place at Souter Oval, as Dingley and Cheltenham square off in a clash for top spot on the ladder. The Dingoes have responded in fine fashion post their shock loss to Bentleigh and last week claimed top spot on the ladder following a solid win over St Paul’s. The Rosellas tasted defeat for the first time last round against the Panthers and will need to bounce back quickly if they are to reclaim top spot. The club has been hit by injuries of late and will need the whole team firing on Saturday if they are to avoid successive losses. Of course, there’s also redemption on the minds of Des Ryan’s men with the last meeting between these two clubs the 2019 Grand Final. Playing on their home turf the Dingoes enter as slight favourites but expect Cheltenham to be right up to their eyeballs in this one.
The final game of the round sees Highett host Bentleigh at Turner Road Reserve. The Dogs were gallant for three quarters against the Saints last week and will be focusing on translating that into a four quarter effort against the Demons. The visitors notched up a crucial win to stay within arm's reach of the top five last week and simply cannot afford a slip up here against the home side. On paper the Demons are the better side but pressure does funny things to football teams. The Dogs are continuing to develop and will be an awkward customer to face in the backend of the season. They would love nothing more than to spoil the Dees party.
Division 2 – Round 8 Preview
Chelsea Heights and Hampton kick things off in Division 2, with the home side in desperate need a victory to stop a run of three losses. The Demons have been exposed in recent outings against top five teams and find themselves in sixth spot with a win-loss record of 3-4. Despite the negative record, their percentage is a healthy 146% and that could prove crucial later on in the season. Coming up against the winless Hammers gives them a great opportunity to get their season back on track. Robert MacPherson has had an outstanding season for the Heighters and should rack of plenty of the pill once again. The visitors were gallant in defeat to Hampton Park last week and will be hopeful of putting together another gritty display. Dan Campisano has toiled away week in week out to be a shining light for the Hammers.
Springvale Districts are yet to taste defeat and they’ll be looking to keep it that way when they face East Brighton at Hurlingham Reserve. The Demons have rarely been challenged this season and head into the match in irresistible touch. Matty Wetering has dominated the headlines with his outstanding form over the past month but Corey Hutchinson has also been in strong form recently. The Vampires will enter this clash quietly confident after singing the song in their past three outings. The home side has been excellent this season and have only dropped two games, both by under 20 points. If they can stay with District for the first three quarters, they’ll back themselves to get the job done. It’s very rare that a team goes through the entire season without tasting defeat, is this the week for Springy?
Caulfield enter their home clash against Skye in supreme touch having not lost a game since way back in Round 2. The Bears have taken all before them in the past five weeks and continue to build towards seriously contending for this year's flag. Their firepower up forward has been a highlight with both Chris Smith and James Backway proving to be a handful for opposition defenders. The team has a great spread of contributors with a different set of names popping up in the best each week. The Bombers are faced with the task of stopping the Bears winning streak and arresting their own slide. The visitors started the season brightly but have won just one of their past five to teeter outside the top five. A win here would be an upset no doubt but the Bombers efforts last week showed that they are more than capable of putting up a good fight.
Murrumbeena and Hampton Park square off for the first time at Beena Arena with the visitors looking to lock themselves in the top five. The Redbacks have acclimatised to Division 2 brilliantly and two of their three losses have come against the competition benchmark in Springvale. Another victory here would keep them at least two games clear in the top five near the half way point of the season. Kyle Hendy has proved to be a handy acquisition with 15 goals this season and Cam Williamson has been in superb touch. Beena’s battles have been well documented but the wheel appears to be turning slowly and they have been getting better each week. Wade King has been in ripping touch this season and Jordan Cusin has put together a nice body of work too.
The final stoush of the round sees Keysborough host Heatherton at Rowley Allan Reserve. The Burras have once again had a strong start to the season, with the 92 point defeat against Caulfield the only headscratcher in their form line. They have been living on the edge in the past fortnight however, with both their recent wins coming by six points or less. Still their winning pattern suggests it’s a trend not a fluke and the good sides know how to close out tight games. The Tunners were vaporised by the Vampires last weekend and will need to dust themselves off quickly if they are to avoid another blowout.
Division 3 – Round 8 Preview
South Mornington return to Citation Reserve with the daunting task of hosting Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Fresh off their first win of the season, the home side will have plenty of work to do if they’re to extend their winning streak against the in-form Clays. The Tigers finally broke their duck against Doveton last round in a performance that is sure to lift the spirits around the club. Despite their scoring troubles, Jordan Waite has pieced together a fantastic season with 17 goals and will no doubt be the focal point once again. Clayton seem to have rediscovered their best form in the past fortnight and will be confident of extending their winning streak when they arrive for the first bounce. They’ve already made mincemeat of several teams this season and will be looking for that ruthless edge in the hopes of securing a top two finish.
Ashwood venture over to Conway Cranes Power Reserve to face Doveton in a clash that should see the visitors extend their winning run to six games. Having faced every team in the competition, the Magpies make the return trip to face their round one opponent, a game in which the Eagles were slaughtered. While current form would suggest another similar result here the Pies cannot afford to be complacent as last week showed. They certainly cashed in their get out of jail card against South Yarra and were it not for a final quarter blitz would’ve suffered a shock defeat. Unfortunately for the Eagles that result could work against them with the visitors no doubt determined to be on their toes right from the opening bounce.
Endeavour Hills have plenty of reasons to strive for victory against Narre South when they meet at Strathaird Reserve. The Falcons have dropped their past two matches to sit outside the top four and need to pinch a win here with the Saints also vying for fourth spot. Another motivator for the visitors will be the result of the round one clash where Narre South got the better of them in their first SFNL appearance. The Saints currently sit in the top four, a fine achievement in their first season, but know that a loss here will see them slip down to fifth spot. With plenty on the line for both clubs it should be an absolute humdinger of a contest and one where the margin shouldn’t stray too far all game.
Black Rock and South Yarra feature in the final game of Round 8 action with the Jets still sitting pretty in top spot on the ladder. The home side set the tone for their season in round one after they decimated the Yarras by 179 points in an awesome display. They’ve barely put a foot wrong since with their one loss coming against the highly rated Clays by just three points. South Yarra have improved significantly since then and are a much different side to the one who hit the turf in the opening round. The Lions will still be dirty after blowing a winning position against Ashwood last week but will take confidence from the way they dominated the third quarter. If they can patch together a more consistent effort here there’s no reason why they can’t cause another huge scare.
Division 4 – Round 8 Preview
Cerberus and Frankston Dolphins meet again for the second time this season with the Three-Headed Dogs in desperate need of a victory. It seems ridiculous to be saying that after they looked certain of top two finish but three losses in a row have quickly changed things. The loss against Hallam on their home turf came out of the blue and the team has yet to recover from that defeat. The Dolphins have battled over the past two weeks to notch up gritty wins but will need to take it to another level if they are to be competitive in one of the hardest road trips in the competition. Expect Cerberus to respond here.
Carrum Patterson Lakes return to their home deck to face Lyndale in what looms as a challenging afternoon for the visitors. CPL have been unstoppable this season and maintain a perfect record after facing every team the competition has to offer. Their premiership credentials were enhanced even further last week after they tamed Carberus away from home in convincing style. The Lions were far too good for the Pumas last time they met in round one and nothing’s changed to suggest the result will be different here.
Moorabbin and Dandenong square off at Widdop Crescent Reserve in a clash that will make for interesting viewing. The Kangaroos took the points between these two in the opening round and will be looking for their third win of the season when the ball is bounced. Despite their struggles at times, the Roos have been solid in recent weeks and could make it two wins from their past four matches here. In the other camp, the Redlegs are still searching for their first win of the season after falling short on several occasions. Despite the 0-7 record, the club has endured worse seasons and is unlucky not to have at least one victory under their belt. They’ll be hoping that Saturday afternoon brings them a change in fortune.
Round eight closes out with a spicy match between Hallam and Lyndhurst at Hallam Reserve. Just over a month ago this clash wouldn’t have appealed on paper but the Hawks have surged up the ladder to be back in finals calculations. After dropping their first three games, the Hawks haven’t tasted defeat since and will be looking to atone for their round one loss to the Lightning. Like many seasons before, the visitors are humming along in second spot with just the one loss next to their name. They too have won their past four in a row and were clinical in their win over the Pumas last week. Despite facing a hot Hawks outfit, the Lightning will be confident that they have the cattle to get the job done.