Wickers with second change, Red Devils in fine form

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 3 Men's

Sheridan Harris

If you weren’t convinced that the top four of Division 3 Men’s was the best four teams of the season, then Saturday’s games should be proof enough. With everything on the line, the best of the best battled it out in two very entertaining games. Unfortunately for Canterbury, the weekend spelled the end of their stellar season, while the South Melbourne Districts have sealed their spot in the grand final.  

And while we’re at it, everything’s coming up Blood-y, as their Division 3 Men’s Reserves also won their semi final to lock in a grand final appearance and get the week off, while Parkside will face a spirited Emmaus St Leo’s team eager to finally defend their 2019 flag at Garvey Oval. 

South Melbourne Districts took the lead 2-1 in the 2022 ledger against fellow previously-division-4 side Elsternwick at Trevor Barker Oval, leaving the field 19-point winners on Saturday. The Bloods continued their ladder-leading form into the game, keeping the Wickers scoreless despite missing a lot of their own goalscoring opportunities in the first term. Elsternwick got themselves back in the game and a score on the board in the second quarter, but South Melbourne Districts showed their class in the last half to keep their noses in front and ultimately send the Wickers to a must-win preliminary final. The Bloods had seven goalkickers, with Thomas Foley (3) named as the best player for his team, while unsurprisingly leading divisional goalkicker Oliver Dufficy sent through two of his own. Keeping Elsternwick in it was Jacob McGaw (2) and Julian Yeatman (2), but David Convery took top honours. 

A fast-starting Parkside outfit has knocked Canterbury out of the finals by just four points in a heartbreaker at Piranha Park on Sunday. Both sides were in it all day, but a five-goal first term ultimately gave the Red Devils a lead they held onto for the whole game. The deficit was just five points at half time before it stretched out to fifteen at the final break. The Cobras will be left to rue their missed last-quarter opportunities in front of goal, controlling a lot of the ball to kick 2.6 to their opponents’ 1.1. For Parkside, it was the usual suspects in front of goal with eight individual scorers, but it was Matthew Holden and his two majors who topped the best player’s list. John Nicolopoulos (3) did his very best for Canterbury to be one of their six goalkickers, but Nick Szabo (1) took top honours. 

South Melbourne Districts now have the week off to finesse their gameplan in time for the grand final. Arguably the best team of the year in Division 3 Men’s, there shouldn’t be much to fix but the break will no doubt get them fit and firing to face the winner of this weekend’s preliminary final. 

Said preliminary final will be at Garvey Oval, as Elsternwick take advantage of their second chance and face a Parkside team no doubt still riding the adrenaline of a tough finish in their semi final. Both teams sit on one win each against each other through the season, with the Wickers getting the win at home in round 5, before the Red Devils returned the favour in round 12. With the grand final on the line, the battle is likely to be quite the opposite of their previous encounters and finish with a small margin.