By Matt Fotia
A danger game for Beaconsfield, Warburton Millgrove look to continue their surge and Kinglake’s chance to get one over the Eagles.
All that and more in the Weekend Preview.
Their round six meeting might’ve been a comfortable victory for the hosts, but Olinda Ferny Creek may have taken more from the encounter.
The Bloods had tweaked some things and their performance that day gave them the confidence that they were heading in the right direction. They went from focusing purely on getting the job done, to focusing on how they were getting the job done.
And they haven’t looked back.
Since then they’ve gone on to defeat Cranbourne by 16 points, went down to Wandin at home by just five points, improved on their round one loss to Narre Warren and had Woori Yallock at their mercy before fading late.
Peter Gough has impressed, finding himself in the best players for a fourth consecutive time last weekend, his seventh time overall in his first year at Olinda Ferny Creek. Luke Hill was also monumental against the Tigers, kicking two goals in a best on ground performance, heading back into the ruck, a position he played during his younger days.
He may need to go back into defence this weekend however, with Beaconsfield’s Matthew Johnson a man in form. He’s kicked 22 goals in his five games since he returned to the senior side, including nine last week against Upwey-Tecoma.
Whilst their goals for the remainder of the season might be different, their equations are pretty similar, win as many games as possible.
The Bloods would need to pull of a minor miracle to make the finals, but a win at home against the Eagles could really kickstart the movement. For the Eagles this game looms as a major banana skin.
Lose here and they’ll give Woori Yallock the upper hand in the race for the double chance.
In Division One Doveton host Monbulk in what is an increasingly important game for the make up of the final five.
Prior to last weekend the pressure would’ve been on Monbulk to hold onto top spot and the week off, but after the Doves lost to Emerald the tables have turned and should they go down again, they’ll likely hand over third spot to the Rovers.
The Hawks are going through a tough run with injuries which will play into the Doves hands, but they might enjoy a week of open spaces and gut running football, rather than some hard hitting action.
One player who hasn’t missed of late is Jared Major, with the mid sized lock down defender having another good season. He’ll most likely line up on Doveton’s James Gascard who has been one to watch as the Doves deepest forward. Two three goal games in a row make that match up a highly anticipated one.
The Hawks will be looking to go back to their system after a hard fought win over Warburton Millgrove. They might be down on players, but Andrew Williams won’t want the system to fall down on the eve of finals.
Look out for players such as Josh Rak and Nick Sargent to stand up against the likes of Boyd, Stapleton and Henwood in this crucial hit out.
Kinglake got a pair of hammerings last time they came up against Yarra Junction and Seville, but they’ll be hoping it’s a different story on their home patch, a patch they haven’t lost on this year.
Only Gembrook-Cockatoo and Yarra Glen have gotten within 20 points of Andrew Fairchild’s men on their home deck.
They’ll be wary of two things.
One will be the speed at which Yarra Junction move the ball. They were torn apart in two seperate instances when they met last time, with the Eagles have two periods of five to six goals in 10 minutes. The Lakers will be looking to control the ball with a high possession game.
The other will be their own tendency to fade out of games. In all of their losses the Lakers have been smashed in the second half. They conceded 12 goals to three against Junction, 10 to four against Seville and 14 to one against Powelltown a fortnight ago.
These sides are very likely to play each other in the first week of finals, so John Holmes will be wary of both the ascendancy in the head to head battle, but also the possibility of unnecessary injuries. The Eagles know how to time their run though, so whatever they do, keep the faith.
Its the second edition of the Premier Division A Grade top of the table clash, as Beaconsfield look to close the 19 goal gap between them and Olinda Ferny Creek. The Bloods killed the game pretty early with a 13 goal to four first quarter on that particular day.
The Eagles know what they have to do to close the gap and that’s win the mid court battle.
If they can stop the service to Stewart, Stewart and Howard, they’ll be better off then trying to thwart the impressive trio.
It’s a big job to take on Tomlinson, Martin, Paget and Taylor but in Ash Gill, Rylee Nelson and Zoe Mason the Eagles might just have the personnel.
The Bloods are on track for an undefeated season, but do finish off the season with matches against the second and third placed sides, as well as Wandin and Berwick.
It gives Tim Smith a chance to see if his side is still ticking along nicely as well as providing him with an opportunity to mix things up on the eve of the finals.
Warburton Millgrove won’t be mixing things up in their next three games. The Burras have weaselled their way back into the top five and will need to win at least two of their last three games to be certain of making finals. With ROC next weekend they’ll be looking to tick one of those two boxes this weekend against the Pakenham Lions.
They’ll be banking on Kirralee Liuyf continuing her fine form.
The Burras goaler has been red hot over the past three weeks, shooting 70 goals and collecting three best on court performances in the process. She’ll go head to head with Lions taliswoman Kyra Esler who was on song last time they met to shoot 29 of their 47 goals.
The Lions are a game clear in fourth spot but still have Doveton and ROC to come as well. So whilst they should find themselves alive come September, a loss here could put some unneeded pressure on that fact.
Finally in Division Two Alexandra will travel out to Yarra Glen as they look to resurrect their crumbling 2019 season.
The Rebels haven’t won since round 12 against Gembrook-Cockatoo and another loss here will kill off their finals chances as their poor percentage leaves them little chance of leapfrogging either Yarra Junction or Powelltown in the last round.
Yarra Glen copped a shock loss to Powelltown last weekend and whilst it won’t change where they finish on the table, it could give them an unwanted wobble on the eve of the finals.
Alicia Mortley, Nicole Moate and Chloe Gray dominated the last time these two sides met and promisingly for Yarra Glen, Mortley and Gray were impressive against Powelltown last weekend.
Should the Rebels get a vital win they’ll set themselves up nicely to take fifth spot.
It would leave them on 36 points, likely a game clear of Powelltown and Yarra Junction.
Powelltown have the bye in the final round and will most likely (barring a shock win over Yea) finish on 36 points, so a win for the Rebels would see them in the five, regardless of their poor percentage.