By Matt Fotia
Outer East action is preparing to heat up again after the coldest weekend of the season as Cranbourne look to lock in finals footy, the Division One top four face off and there’s two (pre) elimination finals in Division Two.
It’s the weekend preview.
Cranbourne have come out the other end of a tough two month period with a season defining four point win over Berwick in heavy conditions on the weekend. If they can repeat that inspiring performance against Narre Warren this weekend they’ll book in another year of September action with two very winnable games to finish off the year.
The Magpies put them to the sword back in round seven running out 59 point winners on their home deck. Dangerously for the Eagles, Narre Warren’s leading goal kicker Daniel Jackson only managed one major on that occasion, whilst small forward Thomas Toner snared a couple. The pair have kicked 23 goals in the past three weeks and will be more than likely on the scoresheet this weekend.
Cranbourne will be looking to slow the Magpies down this weekend and play to the strengths of versatile star Shaun Marusic, who relished the conditions last weekend. Marusic was one of the better Eagles last time they met and has been a consistent goal kicker for the boys in yellow and blue this year with 13, despite spending a fair chunk of time through the middle.
If he and the other big bodied Eagles can apply physical pressure on the likes of Foote, Cody and Scalzo they’ll go a long way to slowing down the scoring of Narre Warren, who are the number one ranked offensive side in the division with 1625 points this year, 487 more than the fifth ranked Eagles.
Whilst Narre Warren are guaranteed the double chance, they’ll still be eyeing off first place which came right back into the equation with Cranbourne’s win last weekend.
This one shapes up as a cracker.
CAN'T SLIP UP | Cranbourne have fought their way through a tough couple of months and are in control of their own destiny after a massive upset victory over ladder leaders Berwick on the weekend.
— AFL OUTER EAST (@AFL_OE) August 15, 2019
In Division One the top four take on each other in another tasty fixture list across the Outer East.
Third placed Doveton host Pakenham in their third attempt at knocking off the Lions. The Doves have been shut out by Ash Green’s men on both occasions but will be buoyed by last weekends win over Monbulk.
The Hawks host Mount Evelyn with the Rovers also hoping third time’s the charm after two near misses in the earlier rounds of the season as they continue to build some impressive form on the eve of finals.
With so much riding on these games lets have a look at the ramifications of each scenario (barring some draws) this weekend.
If Doveton and Monbulk win….
The Hawks will go back on top and with Belgrave in the last round will be confident that they can hang on and get a week off. Doveton will be assured of the double chance with a two game break on the Rovers, who will drift to fifth should Officer knock off Warburton Millgrove, that fact is of course elementary as it does not change their first round of finals.
If Doveton and Mount Evelyn win….
The Rovers would keep their chances of third spot alive but would require some help from the Burras in the last round. The Hawks could pull off a percentage swing over Pakenham in the last round but would likely finish second.
If Pakenham and Monbulk win….
Nothing would change for the top three, although Officer would move into fourth on percentage (again assuming no massive upset against the Burras) and with their healthy percentage could move into third at the last second if the Burras knock off Doveton in the last round and they knock off Pakenham.
If Pakenham and Mount Evelyn win….
Pakenham would basically be safe in first. Even if they lost in the last round to Officer their percentage gap would be too big for Monbulk. The Rovers would pull level with Doveton and could be third on percentage. It also gives Officer another sniff of third place but it would require them to knock off Pakenham, Emerald to defeat Mount Evelyn and the Burras to upset Doveton in round 18.
Stranger things have happened to be fair.
Speaking of ramifications Division Two has got some pretty obvious ones for Gembrook-Cockatoo and Yarra Glen. Winner makes finals. Loser is done.
Last time the two sides met the RiverPigs did the job in the first half before maintaining their lead to win by 21 points.
They’re coming off their best half of football for the season as the piled on 23 goals against Alexandra with Adam Moate kicking seven goals. The dynamic small forward has been used as the RiverPigs target in recent times with fluctuating success.
He’s kicked multiple goals against the Rebels, Powelltown (three) and Seville (five) but has managed just one goal against Kinglake and Yarra Junction. He’s a danger man for the Brookers but can be contained.
Speaking of danger men, Hamish McIntosh is one for Yarra Glen. He’s tall, strong, smart and will spend a fair chunk of the game – should he play with coaching commitments – in the goal square as Colin Bastow continues his extraordinary season.
Matt Templeton also poses a problem with 22 goals this season should the big man not fire.
With the extra pressure could Yarra Glen’s experience come to the fore?
Most of their squad has played a number of finals either at the club or at other clubs around the league/state. The Brookers young brigade will be confident on the big stage though, coming off last years drought breaking under 18 success.
The winner will back themselves to go deep into September. The loser will see it as a lost opportunity.
It’s the same do or die battle on the netball court up at Yarra Junction as the fifth placed Eagles host sixth placed Alexandra, with both sides level on points heading into the weekend.
The Rebels were victorious last time they met coming, from behind to win by five goals. Rebecca Wallis for Alexandra was awesome through the mid court that day whilst Amanda Finn shot 20 goals for the Eagles.
Both sides are coming off upset wins over Kinglake and Yarra Glen respectively, with their key players finding form at the right time of year.
Finn shot 25 goals whilst Amelia Rose Michelle finished with 21 as Mia Motteram and Cara Moore starred for Junction. Meanwhile the mid court of trio of Wallis, Lauren Steyger and Caitlan Haggis were on form for Alexandra. Those three will be key once again this weekend. If they can win the mid court battle they’ll help their defenders contain the duo of Finn and Michelle who have been consistent all season.
The sides are quite obviously evenly matched and are both strong finishers, quite often having their last quarter be their most successful, so grabbing the early ascendancy could be the key.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Warburton Millgrove, the Pakenham Lions head out to Doveton with a simple equation – win and make finals. It’d be a pretty amazing turnaround for the Lions who had a fairly disappointing 2018 in the A Grade competition.
They struggled against the Doves in round three when they went down by eight goals 32-24, with the usually potent Kyra Esler shooting just 13 goals.
That result well and truly changed come round 10 as the Lions defeated the Doves by 27 goals, with Mia Palmer netting 22 goals. The chief destroyer from round three, Emily Pupuke, was held to just eight goals, 17 less than in round three.
The Doves have won just one game since that loss to the Lions, a one goal win over second last Belgrave and handed Emerald their first win for the season along the way.
Doveton must win this weekend or face the possibility of being eliminated should Warburton Millgrove knock off ROC.
Even if the Burras were to lose that game as expected, if the Doves lose they would still be a game and around 15 percent behind the Burras who they face in round 18.
Upwey-Tecoma will be looking to finish off a promising 2019 season well after they knocked off Wandin on the weekend to move up into sixth place on the table with 24 points to their name.
The Tigers have one very winnable game against Berwick wedged in-between matches against Woori Yallock and Cranbourne, which they will see as opportunities to pinch some unexpected wins and get the ball rolling for 2020.
Last time out the two Tiger outfits played a high scoring game with Woori Yallock winning 64 – 53 as Madeline Hargrave shot 36 goals in a battle with Samantha Silvester who finished with 44, stealing the usually prominent Monique Nagle’s limelight on that particular occasion.
Woori Yallock are the worst defensive unit in the top five and will be looking to tighten that defence up before their likely elimination final against Narre Warren in the first week of finals.
Whilst Upwey-Tecoma’s finals hopes have been dashed for a while this weekend provides them a chance to send a message for the future, whilst Woori Yallock need to keep winning to maintain their slim top three hopes.