Ahead of Round 1 getting underway in earnest, we preview all the Divisions before the weekend. Today, it's Divisions 3 and 4...
Division 3 – Round One Preview
Endeavour Hills and Narre South Saints get things up and running in the third division, with the Saints making their SFNL debut after waiting more than 18 months for this moment.
Entering the competition after claiming a premiership in Division 4 of the VAFA, the Saints move into the fold looking to assert themselves as a respectable outfit on and off the field.
Their opponents, Endeavour Hills, will be hoping to build off a solid 2019 campaign which saw them handle the lower sides comfortably but consistently fall short against the top two teams. The Falcons have a great chance to stamp their authority on the newcomers and show that they mean business in 2021.
Over at Essex Heights Reserve, Ashwood host division new comers Doveton in what looms as an interesting matchup. The Eagles have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years but off field issues have crippled the club to the point where their on field output looks bleak to say the least.
The Magpies on the other hand will be looking to show no mercy as they welcome Doveton back to third division football. We’ll know a bit more about both sides' prospects by Saturday evening.
South Yarra will be looking for back to back flags this season after they triumphed in Division 4 in 2019. The Yarras kick off their defence against Black Rock in what should be a highly competitive match.
The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season and will back themselves to put in a strong four quarter performance here.
The final match of the round sees another club make their way into to the SFNL, with South Mornington making the trip up to Meade Reserve to face 2019 runners up Clayton.
The Tigers are no strangers to the SFNL having previously enjoyed a stint for a few seasons in the mid 2000’s before moving over to the VAFA.
While covid delayed their return back to Southern in 2020, the Tigers are here now and ready to make an impact.
It’ll be a tough task against Clayton however, who played some tremendous football to establish themselves as one of the best sides in the competition in 2019.
Division 4 – Round One Preview
Lyndale and Carrum Patterson Lakes kick off proceedings for Division 4, with the Pumas eyeing off a better season after a dismal 2019. The Lions too will be looking to rebound after they were brought back to earth missing the finals in their last season.
CPL have however, recruited heavily over the off season and have particularly targeted the MPFNL with no less than ten players making the move to Roy Dore Reserve from the Peninsula. If they are serious about climbing back up the ladder a win here is non-negotiable.
Dandenong and Moorabbin clash at Greaves Reserve for their opening encounter of the season. The Redlegs have been perennial cellar dwellers in recent times but continue to show plenty of ticker to roll up week in week out.
The Kangaroos will be looking to play finals football for the first time since 2015 after narrowly missing out in their last campaign. You can never assume anything in this caper, but they should walk away with the four points here.
Lyndhurst and Hallam face off at Marriott Waters Reserve with all eyes on the home side.
For successive seasons now, the Lightning have dominated the home and away season only to fall apart at the final hurdle. Can they pick themselves up once again and use that pain to spur them on? Or will the toll of attempting to reach the summit once again prove too much?
The Hawks will be hoping to prey on some of those vulnerabilities and inflict some old wounds.
The final match of the round sees Frankston welcome back Cerberus to the competition in their clash at Overport Park.
Following on from a remarkable premiership in 2018, the Dogs struggled to get going in Division 3 and find themselves back in the lower tier. It’s hard to get a read on how they’ll fare due to inconsistent player availability but they should certainty be a more competitive unit once again.
The Dolphins have endured strong campaigns in their first few seasons in the SFNL and will be looking to take another step in their development this year. Expect big things from them this year!