Falcons snatch second, Swans ticking along

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Connor Hoetzel

South Melbourne Districts kept their season ticking along nicely as they overcame a resilient Box Hill North by 27 points. The Swans led at every change, leaving their chances of a top four finish ever so slightly ajar. Damon Earp was the leading goal kicker for Box Hill North, kicking four for the day, while Sam Kenna played hard all day for the hosts. The Swans were helped by five majors to Jordan Heis, and alongside his five was three from Ciaran Clancy which saw him named as the best on ground. Next week, South Melbourne face a huge test against Elsternwick, to see if they can keep in touch with the top four, while Box Hill North face Masala Dandenong.

The match of the round saw Albert Park leapfrog Elsternwick to take back second spot on percentage. The Falcons led at every break, but a defiant Wickers side stuck right behind them. In the end, the Falcons held their nerve to win by 11 points, in what could be a crucial game to decide the premiership race. The Wickers were led by Kyle Van Der Pluym, who stood atop their bests, while Nicholas Lowrie and Julian Yeatman kicked two apiece. Albert Park’s James Brick played phenomenally, kicking four goals in a BOG performance for the Falcons. Thomas Wilson and Jack Lee also kicked two each. Elsternwick travel to South Melbourne in Round 17, where they will look to build some form heading into finals, while Albert Park host Eley Park, who must win to stay in touch with finals.

It was déjà vu in Bundoora, as La Trobe University again beat Masala Dandenong by less than a kick. Trailing by 23 points at three quarter time, a big effort was needed from the Trobers, and boy did they deliver. Holding the Tigers to just one behind in the final term, the Trobers kicked 3.9 in the last to make it difficult for themselves, but in the end, it was just enough to see them sneak home by just three points. Bailey Zimmerman snagged three for the hosts, while Andy Castles backed up his performance last week with another best on ground display. Declan Fowler kicked four for Masala, while Brandon Kelly put in a great performance to be named the Tigers best. La Trobe face the red hot St Francis Xavier, they must win to stay in the top four, as the competition is right behind them. Masala hope to get another four points from Box Hill North.

A wayward contests between top four hopefuls Eley Park and cellar dwellers South Mornington saw a very surprising score line, in multiple fashions. The Tigers ran out victorious as the combined total read out 11 goals and a whopping 35 behinds between the two sides. Held goalless in the first half, the Tigers had kicked 11 behinds to only trail by five points as they headed into the rooms. The third quarter was the most accurate, as it saw each team kick three goals, and the Sharks held onto a slim four point lead with everything to play for in the final quarter. More inaccuracy in the final quarter saw South Mornington register 12 scoring shots for just two goals, while Eley Park had a similar conversion rate of six scoring shots for one goal. In the end, the points did it for the Mornington side, as they won by seven points, with a final score line reading 6.11 to 5.24. Jayden Pritchard kicked two for the Sharks, while Terrence Dingeldei was the best for the hosts. Lachlan Prins kicked two goals for South Mornington, while Jason Bland was the Tigers best on ground. Eley Park faces second place Albert Park, a win will likely see them jump back into the four, but a loss could see them drop to fifth on percentage. South Mornington have a bye.

Preview

Masala Dandenong host Box Hill North in their final home game of the year. Still winless this year, Box Hill North will fancy themselves a real chance to get the monkey off their back heading into its last two games against teams who have also had a season to forget. Masala are unlikely to move on the ladder for the rest of the year, and will be playing for the love of the game.

South Melbourne hosts Elsternwick, and winning this one could see them jump to fourth. Unlikely given their percentage, but the opposition the sides above them are facing are formidable, just as their own opposition is this week. Elsternwick will find themselves fine tuning themselves as they seek to finish in the top-two.

Albert Park and Eley Park butt heads in a game crucial for both teams. Albert Park must win to keep themselves in the top-two, while Eley Park need to win to re-enter the top four. A tantalising finish is shaping up, and the penultimate round of the home and away season could not be more exciting.

St Francis Xavier host fourth place La Trobe, who know there are two teams chomping at the bits for the chance to play finals and they must win to keep themselves ahead of the pack. Unfortunately they face a rested and all-conquering St Francis Xavier who have locked up the minor premiership and are looking to continue their scintillating form this season as they charge towards finals. One to watch is Harrison Coe for the hosts, as he sits on 96 goals currently.

South Mornington has the bye.