10 games completed, four floored, four to go in Division 4 Men’s….hopefully.
With VAFA footy returning this weekend, the fight for finals and where teams are placed within the four, is of great interest.
Sitting in fifth spot and one game outside the four, Masala-Dandenong will need an upset in the final month of the season in order to taste finals for the first time in the club’s short history. There’s no better place to start than the in-form South Melbourne Districts this weekend when the two sides meet at Lois Twohig Reserve. The Tigers were on a two-game winning streak before the Covid cancellations struck, with wins against Swinburne Uni (30) and Eley Park Sharks (7). Declan Fowler has been a standout in his nine games with 40 goals and has been named in the best five times. Stopping the Bloods will be a task unto its own though after they secured a 90-point win over La Trobe in their last outing and made it nine wins on the trot. Sitting in second spot, the Bloods have dominated since going down to Elsternwick in Round 1 with seven players kicking 10 goals or more, including Oliver Dufficy with 26.
It’s a battle of 3rd vs 4th with La Trobe Uni hosting St John’s OC in Bundoora. These two sides have met twice throughout the season with a 1-1 record after La Trobe’s dominant 89-point win in Round 7 followed by the JOC’s four-goal victory in Round 11. The Trobers have lost two on the trot while the JOC’s have put up two impressive performances against the Wicks and Bloods either side of defeating the Trobers in Round 11. Aaron Thornton has been a force up forward for St John’s with 37 goals, while Samuel Benetti-Baker has been named in the best six times for La Trobe. It’s a flip of the coin this one, with the Uni relying heavily on players returning to Menzies, Glenn or, to a much lesser degree, Chisholm.
With three wins, it’s unlikely Eley Park Sharks will feature in finals this year but if the past 18 months has taught us anything, you certainly never say never. Two games outside the four, the Sharks can’t afford a slip up and will fancy their chances against the seventh-placed Swinburne Uni this weekend. The Sharks have secured two strong wins against the Razorbacks so far this season, with a 63-point win in Round 5 followed by a much-tighter 16-point affair three games ago. Despite his team sitting sixth for points scored, Jesiah McGarvie has once again proved a handful for defenders with 26 goals for the Sharks alongside Jaydn Pridmore who has been named in the best in eight of his 10 games. Swinburne should be considered unlucky over the past three games with losses by 16, 30 and 1 – all somewhat winnable. David Rinaldo has been a standout in his eight games with 6 TIB.
In the final game, we have the ladder leaders taking on the cellar-dwellers when Elsternwick travel to Box Hill North. The Wicks have been on top of the ladder since Round 2 and haven’t looked back if not for the one loss to the Bloods along the way. They’ve since won three in a row, including a 153-point thumping of the Demons in Round 11. They’ve had four players kick 20+ goals so far this season, with Nick Lowrie leading all comers on 49. The Demons claimed their second win of the season before we broke for the bye, defeating Swinburne by one point. Peter Cassidy-Marsh had one hand on the club B&F after being named in the best seven times from his 10 games.