Week 16: Men's Football Preview
by Lincoln Edmunds
Division 1 – Round 15:
After a well earned rest last week, Division 1 gets underway with plenty of important clashes over the weekend.
The famous North Port Oval is the venue where Port Melbourne will be looking to bring up their sixth win of the season when they face East Malvern.
The Colts put up an impressive fight against St Paul’s last outing, falling narrowly by 11 points with some astonishing accuracy in front of goal with just two behinds from 13 scoring shots.
Ultimately it wasn’t enough to get them the points but Mitch Clarke and Chan Hargraves did all they could to drag their side over the line, the duo kicking nine of the team’s 11 goals.
They’ll be out for a more even spread of goal-kickers on the weekend and should have plenty of players queuing up against the winless Panthers.
The match of the round, and potentially season, takes place at Livingston Reserve as Cranbourne and Cheltenham clash in a top of the table blockbuster.
The Eagles have tripped up twice in their past three matches to surrender top spot, and will be desperate to make a statement when they face the ever-impressive Rosellas.
Last rounds surprise loss to the Dingoes has certainly spiced things up and the home side have an important month to wrestle back some momentum.
Conversely, the visitors have been flawless the past 12 weeks and look to be in cherry ripe form with finals on the horizon.
A win here would all but sew up the minor premiership and firm their premiership favouritism.
The club’s forward potency has been a major strength with nine players booting more than 10 goals each so far.
Not only are they the best attacking side in the comp, averaging 108 points per game, their defence is elite too, only letting through an average score of 55 points a game.
With September around the corner, Saturday’s clash gives the Rosellas the perfect hit out to fine tune for finals.
The Eagles on the other hand will be more desperate to secure the points and keep their minor premiership hopes alive.
Never write off a champion team and Dingley proved just that last round, stunning Cranbourne in the third quarter to notch up a memorable and potentially season defining win.
The result is a major boost for the Dingoes finals aspirations and they’ll certainly cause some damage if they display similar form in September.
Back on home turf this week, they face Mordialloc in a clash they will enter as warm favourites.
Nathan Freeman is already making a difference with another classy display last round with two goals.
Rory Goldsmith has also found the big sticks in the past fortnight with five goals and Alex Windhager has been in supreme touch.
The Bloodhounds put up a gallant fight against the Saints last hit out and will be determined to do the same when they travel to the Den.
An intriguing battle between Springvale Districts and St Paul’s McKinnon takes place at Springvale Reserve, with the result vital to both clubs for differing reasons.
The Districts continued their late season surge with a solid win over Bentleigh last round, but still find themselves one game plus percentage behind Dingley.
With just four weeks left in the season, time is running out to make up ground and if they taste defeat here it’s almost certainly curtains for season 2022.
No matter what happens here, the club can be reasonably content with how they have made the transition from Division 2.
The Doggies need to recapture some of their earlier season form after stuttering somewhat in recent weeks.
They had to work mighty hard for the four points a fortnight ago against the Colts, and although that might not be the worst thing, they’d certainly want to be more convincing as we come to the pointy end of the season.
The side currently occupies third spot with less than 6% separating them and the Saints.
That’s why they can’t afford to slip up in the final month, otherwise they can kiss the double chance goodbye.
There’s plenty of class across the field and Callum Cathcart is one to keep an eye on after he wore the Doggies jumper for the first time this season.
With the likes of Muller, Kreymborg and Hunt, the Doggies should have enough weapons to get the job done here.
If you’re venturing to St Kilda for a drink or two with lunch this Saturday afternoon, make sure you pop in to the Peanut Farm afterwards.
The afternoon fixture between St Kilda City and Bentleigh is a worthy treat, with some former AFL champions strutting their stuff on both sides.
While the Saints missed Brendan Fevola through injury last round Aaron Edwards more than made up for it with four goals to see the Saints home to a 14-point win.
Dane Swan was everywhere once again and James Magner was also at his best.
The home side will be hopeful their stars continue to fire in the lead up to finals, with their eye firmly on a double chance.
While the Demons haven’t had as much success, they pushed the Districts for three terms before getting overrun in the last.
Joe Colaciello impressed with five goals and Ashley Di Ciero has been in fine form for the Dees.
The visitors will be hoping that their own former AFL recruit Jack Watts can make an impact too.
Division 2 – Round 16:
Chelsea Heights premiership stocks continue to soar after they claimed a brilliant three goal victory over Doveton last week to strengthen their grip on top spot on the ladder.
The Demons have been sublime this season, with only one loss next to their name and are looking every bit like the team to beat with finals around the corner.
Another opportunity for a big scalp presents itself this Saturday when they host Keysborough at Beazley Reserve.
The third placed Burras enter with fresh legs after a week off and they’ll be hoping it doesn’t disrupt their momentum, having sung the song in their past four games.
The visitors will need to be wary of Brad Gilder who booted five goals last weekend in a best on ground performance.
Gilder has been in top form when he’s taken to the field, with 31 goals from nine apperances and combined with Luke Tapscott (22 goals) and Shaun Chaseling (20 goals), the Demons have plenty of quality scoring options.
These two sides clashed back in Round 7 with the Heighters grabbing a three-goal win and it’s entirely possible that history repeats here.
Doveton’s minor premiership hopes look to be in tatters after they suffered an 18-point defeat to the Demons last round.
It’s a cruel blow for the Doves who have occupied top of the table for the majority of the year but two losses in their past four games has given them a reality check.
They’ll need to recapture their best football quickly, with only three weeks before things turn cut throat.
They should have no issues bouncing back when they travel to Carrum Downs Reserve to face the eighth placed Bombers.
Skye suffered their 12th loss for the year last week and will be looking to give the Doves a run for their money from the first bounce.
Travis Woodfield booted three goals last week and has proved a reliable path to goal for the Doves with 24 majors for the year, while Harley Burmeister has been in good form of late.
The Doves have more class across the field and while they may not have everything their own way, they should be too strong at the final siren.
A massive clash with huge finals implications takes place at Hurlingham Reserve as East Brighton and Hampton Park jostle it out for fifth place on the ladder.
Both sides are currently locked on 26 premiership points with the Vampires holding a 13% buffer to keep their noses in front.
What makes this clash even more vital is that both clubs have a bye to follow, which means this is their second last home and away game of 2022.
The Vampires other clash is a stiff task against the Demons, while the Redbacks face another tough opponent in Caulfield.
Factoring all that in, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this game is essentially a knock out final with the winner to emerge with one foot in the finals door.
The Redbacks season looked shot at 3-1-7 but three wins in a row has seen them rise from the canvas.
Admittedly those wins have come against lowly teams down the ladder but it’s given them a fantastic opportunity to pinch an unlikely finals berth.
Conversely the Vampires have had several opportunities to stitch up fifth spot but have suffered three defeats from their past four to leave the door ajar.
They got things back on track against the lowly Tonners last round but will be aware of a much tighter tussle here.
The fascinating factor is that back in Round 7 these two sides fought out a draw, making it almost impossible to predict a winner.
Let’s hope for another thrilling affair with everything on the line!
Caulfield will be out to keep their faint top three hopes alive when they travel to Turner Road to face the 7th placed Dogs.
The Bears did what they had to against Skye last weekend and will be looking for a similar result when they travel to enemy territory.
Sitting two games and significant percentage behind the Burras, the visitors will need a bit of luck for an unlikely double chance but will be eager to hit finals in top form regardless.
James Sullivan stood up with five goals in a day out last week, while Ryan Farmer was in awesome touch with four goals in a dominant display across four quarters.
The curtain came down on Highett’s season with their 27-point loss to Hampton Park snuffing out any faint finals hopes.
They’ll be especially disappointed with how they started, coughing up seven first quarter goals when their season was on the line.
With nothing but pride to play for, the Doggies will be aiming to cause some carnage to sides like the Bears who are gearing up for September action.
Heatherton take some respite this weekend and enjoy a weekend off the tools.
Division 3 – Round 16:
Endeavour Hills season is on the line when they take on Carrum Patterson Lakes at Barry Simon Reserve to kick start Division 3 action.
It’s remarkable that despite only recently sitting inside the top four, two losses on the trot has seen the Falcons finals prospects plummet and there’s no disputing that if they don’t salute here, it’s all over for 2022.
CPL on the other hand have been super in their past two weeks, reviving their season with excellent wins over Narre South and Black Rock to make a statement to the rest of the competition.
With six premiership points and healthy percentage separating the two sides, the Lions can take a huge stride towards securing their spot in September with a victory here.
An equally important clash between Black Rock and Narre South takes place at Macdonald Reserve, with big ramifications in store for both clubs.
The Jets have been given a wake up call in their past two fixtures and appear to be losing momentuem at the wrong time of the season.
They still sit a game and a half clear in the top two but will be eager to ensure they don’t squander the double chance, having spent most of the season on top of the table.
In the Saints camp, a win is crucial to keep their top four and finals hopes alive for 2022.
They responded last round with a comfortable four-goal win over Clayton but will need to claim a scalp or two in the run home to leapfrog into fourth.
Alex Mackenzie popped off with seven goals last week and Taka Tohiarki also located the middle of the big sticks on five occasions in a solid display.
Both Mackenzie and Tohiarki will need to repeat last week's heroics along with a few other others if they are to claim victory here.
Ashwood have their eyes on a top two spot and will be determined to register a big win when they make the trip to Meade Reserve to face Clayton.
The Magpies made light work of the Yarras after half-time last round and will be aiming to repeat the dose against the 7th placed Clays.
Jack Purcell took his goal tally to 45 for the year after a haul of eight last week and Josh Cardamone produced another BOG performance with three snags.
With Michael Decorrado sniffing around goal with 30 majors and Michael Altenkirch slotting six goals from his past two appearances, the Pies have plenty of firepower to kick a winning total.
Murrumbeena will be licking their lips at the prospect of hosting South Yarra in their match up at Beena Arena to close out the round.
The home side are sitting pretty on top of the ladder and their objective for the final three home and away fixtures will be to stay there.
Their form has been superb in recent weeks with impressive victories over top four rivals and finals contenders.
The premiership puzzle could be falling into place for the Lions but they’ll be eager to keep their eye on the prize before things go up a notch.
It’s been a solid team effort for most of the season with the team having plenty of contributors across the board most weeks.
If there’s one area of their game they could clean up, it’s goal-kicking, with their return of 8.18 keeping the door open for longer than it should’ve.
They should have plenty of opportunities to practice their conversation against the under siege Yarras defence in what should be a fairly one-sided contest for the majority of the afternoon.
Division 4 – Round 16:
The top four is locked and loaded for Division 4 and the remainder of the home and away season will revolve around clubs preparing for finals or season 2023.
Two teams who will be gearing up for finals action are South Mornington and Lyndhurst, and they’ll get a great opportunity to tune up for September when they meet on Saturday afternoon at Citation Reserve.
The Tigers have been in brutal form in recent weeks kicking 24, 20 and 19 goals in their past three outings.
They put a resurgent Lyndale to the sword last week and will be eyeing off a bigger scalp when they host the second placed Lightning.
The visitors did what was expected of them against Cerberus last weekend and will be out to tame the Tigers to keep their spot in the top two secure.
The deadly forward duo of Jarryd McGrath and Hamish Browning was on display again last weekend with 11 goals between the pair, and the Tigers would be aware of their match winning capabilities.
If the home side can keep them and a few other Lightning stars quiet, they would be confident of pulling off a mighty victory.
Two sides who will be sitting on the September sidelines are Dandenong and Doveton.
The pair meet once again when they square off at Greaves Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
The Redlegs have not tasted success for three weeks now and will be determined to ride out the season on a high.
The Eagles have endured another tough campaign and will be out to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon in the final three matches.
Incredibly, just 0.66% separates them and Cerberus so every goal, point and contest from here counts.
Hallam and Lyndale meet in what should be an entertaining contest at Hallam Reserve.
The Pumas came back to earth with a crushing defeat to South Mornington last week and will be out to put in a better show when they hit the road this weekend.
The Hawks are set for finals action and will be out to continue their winning streak, currently three matches, in the lead up to September.
Dylan Vanderwert and Rory McIvor have enjoyed stellar seasons and will be looking to add another strong performance to their 2022 resume.
The Hawks have the superior squad on paper and should bank four more points here.
Cerberus and Moorabbin face off at McAuliffe Oval in a battle for pride.
The Kangaroos will be eyeing off the chance to move up the ladder to sixth, while the Three Headed Dogs will be desperate to create some breathing space over Doveton in their quest to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Kangaroos won this contest convincingly back in Round 7, booting 29 goals in a whopping 159-point walkover.
The home side will be determined to put up a better shown on home turf.
Frankston host Hampton at Overport Park to finish Round 16.
The undefeated Dolphins have been scary this season with their ridiculous percentage of 405% highlighting just how dominant they have been.
Getting the chocolates against the 8th placed Hammers should prove a fairly straight forward task and should provide the coaching staff a good opportunity to experiment with a few things before finals.
The Hammers held their own against the Hawks last week but face the toughest road trip in the competition by some distance.
A fairly easy tip this one.