By Matt Fotia
With every weekend that passes by, more and more context is added to each and every game of the Outer East season. Ramifications and permutations fill the air as the wins and losses don’t only effect the here and now, but also the future – most specifically September.
This weekend is no different with vital encounters across all divisions on both the football field and netball court. Take a deeper look at a few big clashes below, in the Weekend Preview.
Beaconsfield grabbed third spot on the ladder with a hard fought win over Woori Yallock last weekend in a grinding, tough four quarter affair. The win was a massive one for their mental psyche as all of the Eagles previous wins have been relatively comfortable and ‘bruise free’.
If last weekend was a big tick for their mental edge, this weekend is even bigger.
Beaconsfield are yet to defeat any of their fellow SEFNL clubs this season, after finishing a clear fourth last year. They will be still rueing the manner in which they went down to Cranbourne in Round One, giving up a handy quarter time lead to go down by three goals. If they are able to get a win over Cranbourne this weekend, it will be a true coming of age for a talented squad.
Cranbourne got back on the winners list last weekend with a big win over Upwey-Tecoma and in the process alleviated some of the pressure around their place in the five, despite Wandin keeping in touch.
Whilst rivals Berwick should do Cranbourne a favour this weekend and knock off the Dogs at home, a loss against Beaconsfield will give them just one win from their last five games, placing enormous pressure on their next two fixtures against Woori Yallock (home) and Wandin (away). It should be noted that those fixtures follow a two week break as well.
Berwick will be disappointed with how their netball season has faired thus far, given they’ve collected just two victories and are clinging on to their finals chances. One of their wins this season was a two goal thriller over Wandin and they’ll need to repeat the dose to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Wandin of round one and the Wandin of now are completely different however. Before last weekends loss to runaway steam train Olinda Ferny Creek, the Dogs had won three on the trot, defeating Narre Warren, Upwey-Tecoma and Healesville. Their resurgence has been led by some splendid defending from Ruby Tidd and an inform Cassidy Iedema in attack.
Wandin’s next three games see them take on three likely finalists, so they must win here to keep in touch with Narre Warren, who currently hold fifth spot a game clear of the girls in Blue,Red and White.
In Division One ROC continue to take all before them, showing no mercy to whichever side crosses their path, defeating Doveton with relative ease by 22 goals on the weekend. Sarah Castricum was best on court with 29 goals, whilst Emily Boribon finished with 16 goals as second fiddle, whilst Emily McInnes continued her wonderful season.
The Roos will continue to develop their A Grade depth and versatility in an effort to ward off the possibility of sides debunking their current stranglehold over the competition, with their top three finish all but confirmed.
Their opponents this weekend, the Pakenham Lions, have been quietly going about their business and find themselves a game clear in third position.
After a 1-2 start to the season the Lions gave their season a real shot in the arm when they defeated Mount Evelyn in round four off the back of a brilliant defensive performance. Defence has been the corner stone of the Lions year with only the rampaging ROC and a Steph Puopolo inspired Monbulk able to score more than 42 goals against them. The Lions will not be able to match ROC going forward and will be looking to replicate their Mount Evelyn performance once again to upset the applecart in a major way.
On the Football field Monbulk continue to improve as season 2019 rolls on, handing out their first big hammering of the season last time out, demolishing a hapless Belgrave by 124 points, with Michael Langworthy and Shane Williams combining for 10 majors between them.
Importantly for the Hawks they managed to find their kicking boots for the first time this season, kicking 24.12, the first occasion their goal tally has exceeded their behinds. Their goal kicking had been their only downfall in the early stages of the season, keeping opponents in the game longer than they should’ve been, so Andrew Williams will be very pleased to see his players hitting their targets.
Their opponents this weekend, Mount Evelyn, play a territory based game, looking to force the ball forward by any means possible before locking it in with ferocious pressure. This method of play could either unlock the Hawks high marking back six, or become another victim of its rebounding abilities.
Should the Rovers’ chaos balls come in low, it should (in theory) limit the intercepting capabilities of McClleland and co. However if the Rovers are sending speculative high balls inside their forward fifty it could be yet another enjoyable Saturday for those in Maroon and Gold.
In Division Two Powelltown host Seville in an intriguing clash as both sides look to consolidate their position in the finals race.
The Towners are in a three way battle with Gembrook-Cockatoo and Alexandra for the final spot in the top five and will be looking to gain the upper hand with another upset victory over one of the top four, after they knocked off Yarra Junction at home back in round one.
Powelltown have been impressive against all of the top four this season, defeating Yarra Junction, going down to Yarra Glen by just one behind – relinquishing the lead with moments to go, fading late against Kinglake as well as challenging Seville only to lose by just 19 points at the ‘Chip’ earlier in the season.
Their home form is also strong with just one loss on their home track in 2019. They’ll be hoping that a combination of these two things create another unlike triumph.
Seville have regained their best form in recent weeks, kicking some massive scores in the process, thanks to their incredibly potent forward line.
Their home fixture against Powelltown was tight as mentioned above, but the Blues were missing both Josh’s (Neal and Fraser), whilst Dylan Broadway was kept unusually quiet. Powelltown’s home is conducive to high scoring which should play right into Seville’s hands, as they look to keep ahold of their top three position, with Kinglake and Yarra Glen hot on their heels.
Seville’s netballers gave Yea their first real fright of the Division Two netball campaign, leading the reigning premiers at the first two changes before the Tigers moved through the gears to win by eight goals. If the Tigers can complete the double over last seasons grand finalists Kinglake at the weekend they’ll be odds on to go through the entire home and away season undefeated.
Kinglake will be looking to learn from how Seville went about the unenviable task of tackling the Tigers last weekend. It will no doubt be built off a defensive base with no side having the ability to match the Tigers in a shootout. The Lakers have a stronger mid-court than the Blues and may be able to breakeven or possibly win the centre third, but they lack a real presence like Steph McNay in their defensive circle, which could become their undoing.