Round Three: Men's Football Preview
After a break for Easter, the Southern Football Netball League heats up again with the resumption of Round Three providing some fascinating match ups.
The round began back on Good Friday with a standalone fixture at Springvale, with the home side winning a tight arm wrestle by 13 points over Dingley.
Springvale trailed by 22 points at quarter time, and were still behind deep into the last quarter, before edging home in the last 10 minutes.
They kicked five goals to one in an excellent final quarter to close out a 13.4.82 to 10.9.69 victory, on the back of an even performance across the board.
For the visitors, Van Unen again impressed with three goals, taking his season tally to ten, which places him second in the league.
The victory is Springvale’s first of the season, and it is the first defeat for Dingley after a strong start to the year.
There are three Saturday fixtures this weekend, with East Malvern hosting St Paul’s McKinnon at Dunlop Reserve, with the home side languishing at the bottom of the ladder.
East Malvern are averaging just five goals a game so far, with St Paul’s McKinnon the fourth highest scoring team in the league across the opening fortnight.
They were however trounced by Cranbourne in their last hit out, so both sides are keen to come out of the week off with some momentum.
Undefeated Mordialloc will travel to Port Melbourne to take on a Colts team that is winless, despite playing some decent football in the first couple of weeks.
Port Melbourne will have likely spent the Easter break addressing their third quarters. The Colts have been outscored 101 points to 15 in their two third quarters, having led both matches at half time.
In fact, they’ve won five of their eight quarters this season, yet haven’t been able to translate that into a victory. The Premiership quarter is thus far proving to be a curse and they’ll need to fire if they are to bring down one of the league’s form teams.
Arguably the match of the round comes up between a star studded St.Kilda City outfit and the powerful Cranbourne Eagles.
The Eagles travelled to Cheltenham on Good Friday for what was an early Round six fixture (Yes that’s a little confusing), going down by 18 points despite Marc Holt kicking seven goals for the day.
One would anticipate when the whips are cracking later in the year, these two sides will be front and centre, so this clash could set the scene for the year’s pecking order.
The round will also see a standalone Anzac Day blockbuster at Jack Barker Oval with Cheltenham playing host to Bentleigh.
This is sixth vs seventh with the winner to push themselves up into the finals frame, so the match holds significance for the road ahead.
Cheltenham’s above-mentioned victory over Cranbourne was a massive result for them, and could give them the confidence required to get on a good roll here.
President Adam King spoke about the prospect of hosting a game on such a massive day.
“It’s such a significant day on the Australian calendar and a great honour to host Bentleigh in our traditional Anzac Day match.” King said.
“Both clubs have strong ties with the Bentleigh RSL and the Cheltenham Moorabbin RSL, to play footy on the day itself and the build up of the week has a significant meaning to the club and its players.
“Whilst the game is still worth four points, to be able to acknowledge and show our respects to all servicemen and women is of far greater value to the club and the community.”
In Division 2 of the Southern Football Netball League, we see four fixtures this weekend, headlined by an Anzac Day clash at Koornang Park Reserve with the Caulfield Bears hosting East Brighton.
The Bears have proved difficult to score against this year, even in a Round One loss to Keysborough, with only 15 goals given up across the first two games.
The 92 point result in Round 2 leaves them with a healthy percentage, and they can launch into the top four with a good result in this game.
East Brighton have also split their results across the opening rounds with a second half fade out against Highett on April 9 likely to have been the main focus for the group over Easter.
We will learn a lot more about where these sides sit in the big picture once the final siren sounds on Anzac Day.
A winless Hampton Park will kick off the Saturday action when they take on Keysborough at Robert Booth reserve.
In their recent clash with Chelsea Heights, they were soundly beaten despite having 21 scoring shots to 17. The serious inaccuracy costing them a realistic chance at victory.
Both of Keysborough’s games have been arm wrestles, with an average of 112 points per game in total across each of those hit outs.
It’s hard to see this game being a blowout, and it may come down to conversion in front of goal which has caused problems for both teams so far.
Meanwhile Doveton will play host to Heatherton at Robinson Reserve tomorrow. Doveton have been outstanding so far in the early rounds, whilst Heatherton have found the going very tough in a couple of tricky matches.
The average losing margin has been 81 points against Highett firstly and Caulfield in Round Two.
The Doves firepower led by Cardamone who sits second in the league goalkicking will be the key focus for the Heatherton side as they look to stay competitive.
In the final game of the Saturday fixtures, Skye will take to the field for just the second time this season having sat out round two with the bye.
In their opening game they kicked just four goals in a heavy defeat to East Brighton.
Saturday will mark 21 days since they last took the field which has given them plenty of time to adjust ahead of this important game. We should get a clearer picture of where they are at at 5pm Saturday.
Their opponents Chelsea Heights have also played just once, with a 31-point victory in Round 2 for the team that finished 6th last year at the halting of proceedings. This week presents a good chance for some momentum after a stop start campaign due to the bye and easter.
With all the easter eggs and hot cross buns devoured it’s time to get back into action with Round Three of the Southern Football Netball League’s Division 3 competition shaping as a big one for a number of reasons.
Two unbeaten teams will take on two winless sides, with the week off adding an extra dynamic with how sides come off a bye always being difficult to predict.
Black Rock will welcome Endeavour Hills to Macdonald Reserve tomorrow with the home side gunning for three straight wins to start the year.
Coach Ryan Handley told us after their Round Two victory that he was thrilled with how they dominated the game early before a slight second half fade out. No doubt the focus of the past fortnight would have been to ensure they run out a strong four quarter game to make sure they maintain the rage.
Having sat atop the ladder when the 2021 season was suspended, they would feel they are hunting a flag they were denied the chance to win last year.
Their opponents Endeavour Hills fell agonisingly short of victory in Round 2 but would feel they showed enough to suggest they’ll be a chance of causing a boilover this week.
Having kicked the last four goals of that game they’ll be hoping momentum rolls on despite the week off.
Murrumbeena would have been sitting pretty at the Easter dinner table after kicking 38 goals against South Yarra last week. With a percentage that barely fits on a page they’d be feeling they can handle any challenge that is put in front of them.
Clayton would have been hoping Round Three started the day after their last clash after surrendering seven goals in the last quarter to turn a five point lead into a heavy defeat.
They have had plenty of time to think about that result and will be breathing fire at the first bounce tomorrow.
Carrum Patterson Lakes currently sit in fourth place ahead of a home fixture against South Yarra who have conceded 65 goals in the opening two rounds.
Admittedly those matches have come against some of the stronger teams in the league so the next few weeks will give a clearer indication as to their level.
For the home side, this is a chance to give themselves some clearance from the chasing pack and establish a strong early season position.
The final match of the round will see Ashwood travel to Strathaird Reserve to face a fired up Narre South Saints team.
Ashwood’s barnstorming last quarter got them home against Clayton in Round 2, whilst the Saints would be eager to atone after a 51-point loss to Black Rock.
Ashwood coach Nick Morrey is feeling good about his team’s start to the year.
"We're 2-0 for the first time since 2017 so it's nice. We don't have the money to bring in big players like some of the other clubs in this division so we know that we need to make every training session a winner because it gives us the best chance of competing." He said.
Division 4 in the Southern Football Netball League resumes post the Easter break with a full book of five matches across a bumper Saturday.
South Mornington have shown encouraging form in the early part of the season and that progress will be tested when they host the ultra impressive Frankston Dolphins tomorrow at Citation Reserve.
South Mornington faded late in their Round Two clash against Hallam having been right in the contest to three quarter time.
Frankston have smashed both Dandenong and Cerberus so far this season, conceding only 11 goals in the process.
They boast two of the league's top five goal scorers' but this match certainly does shape as their biggest challenge of the season so far.
Both of Frankston’s victims this season will face off against each other in Round Three, with Cerberus desperate to recapture their form of last season when they host Dandenong.
It’s been a tough start for Cerberus after all the 2021 form, and the week off will hopefully have served them well as they regroup in readiness for a renewed assault on the season.
Dandenong coach Mick Lawrence was pleased with his team’s form reversal in Round Two as they got back on the winners list impressively.
"We played a great game and started implementing the game plans we have worked on in the off season." Lawrence said.
One of the intriguing matchups sees Hampton host Moorabbin in something of a local derby.
It is a clash between a winless team and an unbeaten team but it does appear a bit closer than that on paper.
The Kangaroos have shown great resolve in winning a pair of tight games, whilst Hampton have struggled to find the same rhythm.
They are showing the occasional glimpse though, and they wouldn’t be too far away from putting it together.
Meanwhile, Doveton and Lyndale will get the chance to open their account for season 2022 in a vital clash at Power Reserve.
The match presents as an early season eight-point game with the difference between 1-2 and 0-3 quite substantial in the scheme of things.
With similar form lines, stats and key indicators, this one is a very difficult game to split.
The final match of the round will see Lyndhurst host Hallam at Marriott Waters Reserve.
Both these sides have started the year in fantastic form and the winner could conceivably take top spot on the ladder at the end of the round.
Hallam coach Lachlan Moss spoke post their Round Two clash about the desire for further improvement.
"Overall we have some areas of improvement to beat the teams above us, but we will gel going forward and continue to build both on and off the field." Moss said.
His team gets that chance at improvement again this week, with only one game separating the two teams in 2021, and only percentage separating them now.
There is every chance these sides will face off deep into the season so the chance to get one up early is a vital one.