By Gav Southern – @gavsouthern
Well, the home and away season has come and gone and “then there were four”. Heading into the finals, only the Warriors, Doggies, Sharks & the Rams remain. Whilst the rest of the competition are left to ponder on what could’ve been. It’s also TEAM OF THE YEAR time and congratulations to those who made it. Some honourable mentions are: A. Imber (WESB), A. Grigg (PTC), J. Balon (EP), M. Hampton (MTL), A. Pianto (MAN), T. Falconer (NB), R. Mehlstauber (BHN), N. Cunningham (MAS) and J. Edwards (Chad). Before we talk finals, we need to do last week’s games one more time:
Manningham Def Masala
Manningham finished off their see-saw season in style, knocking off a vastly improved Masala, at Koonung Reserve. Both sides struggled to hit the scoreboard in the first as both sides came out as if it was their own grand final. The 2nd quarter saw the game open up a lot more but, inaccurate kicking kept the game close with the Cobras up 14 at the long break. From then on, the Cobras applied the clamps to the Tigers paws and sewed up the game in the third, kicking straight for 6-2. With the sting taken out of the game from there, Manningham finished off nicely, winning by 72 points. Tigers, Sam Freeman kicked 3 for the 2nd week running and Ben Nugent was their best. For the Cobras, Nick Edwards kicked a season high 6 goals, Chris Jolly 4 and Adam Pianto (1) west best afield.
Mt. Lilydale Def By Westbourne
Our match of the round certainly had some hype with 2 top 4 sides on a ground Mt. Lilydale are tough to beat. But, the bubble was burst at the Rams last home game and they do not appear to have recovered as the visting Westbourne once again, seemed to have their way with the opposition. After another fierce first quarter, the Warriors also applied the clamps and seemed to score at will, as the Rams struggled with their forward entries. Westbourne’s 110 point victory is putting everyone on notice. BOG Chris Hudson was sublime across half-forward, booting 6. Nick Schiano had 3, leading the 8 other scorers. Max Hampton was the Rams only multiple scorer with 3 and Tom Bailey (1), was the Rams best.
Point Cook Def North Brunswick
What should’ve been match of the round, was Point Cook hosting North Brunswick. Another slow start both sides, which saw the Bulls kick the first score after 5 minutes and maintaining the lead for most of the quarter. Point Cook kicked away to 23 point lead late in the 2nd but, the Bulls could only trade goals with the Doggies up until the 4th. The Bulls made a late charge in the 4th to peg it back to a straight kick, with 8 minutes to play but, their efforts started to wane again as the Doggies survived by 12 points. Pat Notaro again had no trouble hitting the scoreboard with 4, Tom Cotton 2 and Will Croagh was their best. The Bulls did a job on William Dawson holding him to just the 2 goals but, the goals were well spread, with Jordan Steen leading with 3. Best on ground was midfielder, Jordan Lampi.
Eley Park Def Box Hill North
Box Hill North headed over to face cross town rivals, Eley Park, keen to give it one last crack for 2016. The Sharks seemed to be a bit cleaner off the deck and had better use in the first three quarters whilst, Bocky appeared to squander a few “gettable” goals in front of the sticks. Come the fourth, Bocky were determined to not finish the season without going down without a fight. With a few spot fires going around the ground, Bocky seemed to take full advantage going forward, kicking 5-1 and winning the quarter. In the end the even spread around the ground led by BOG Dave Viola. Ten Shark goal-kickers, led by nuggety forward, Daniel Crawford (4 goals), was also too much for the Demons. Bocky should be proud with their output against a quality side. Jordan Gasparini also saved his best for last with 5 goals and was best for the Demons
After 18 rounds, it’s finals time!! There’s a few burning questions to be asked leading in. Who can Beat Westbourne? Will it be an all-west final? Can Eley Park produce what we all know they’re capable of? Can Mt. Lilydale bounce back after a disastrous August so far?? The venues aren’t known at the time of printing. To this weeks games:
Eley Park (3rd) Vs Mt. Lilydale (4th) – It’s 1-1 during the season with both sides winning at home. Eley Park haven’t been able to put their best side on the park but, will be close to it come Saturday. Mt. Lilydale will be hungry to bounce back to form and this is anybody’s match. I’m going to stick with the Sharks.
Westbourne (1st) Vs Point Cook (2nd) – Is this the Grand Final preview? Loser gets a double chance, winner gets a week off before the Granny. Point Cook are a great team but, Westbourne are better. It’s a clear choice but, stranger things have happened. Ask Westbourne
Eley Park Vs. Mt. Lilydale
Westbourne Vs. Point Cook