Some huge games across the SMJFL this weekend as the league and clubs throw their support behind the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation for Connor’s Beanie Round.
SMJFL contributer Owen Leonard previews the key matches in each age group!
U/11 Mixed Red- East Malvern v Dingley, Stanley Grose Reserve, 10:50am
It’s 2nd v 3rd on Sunday morning, as East Malvern seek to solidify their top-two placing. Conversely, the Dingoes are presented the opportunity to claw their way into home-final contention. Dingley’s case will be helped by their healthy percentage of 121.35, as well the league’s top-two goalkickers in Bennett Martin and Hudson Wright. Last time these teams met, both Martin and Wright were held goalless as Dingley managed just one goal, not assisted by their inaccurate 1.7 score line. East Malvern ran out 14-point winners. It’s a must-win for both teams, as losing could mean giving up a home final.
U/12 Mixed Maroon- Hampton Rovers v St Peters, Castlefield Reserve, 9:40am
This one’s simple: one place outside the four, St Peters must win. But it’s also a mighty challenge. The second-placed Hampton have lost just two games this season and lay claim to an enormous percentage, to the tune of 210.39. The dangerous Rovers’ duo in the form of Jay Todd, who has kicked 15 goals this season, alongside Taj Hotton (11 goals) will need to be negated in order for St Peters to sniff out victory. Hampton will be keen not to relinquish the four points with East Malvern hot on their heels, but expect St Peters to give it their all, in what could be one final roll of the dice.
U/13 Mixed Div 2- St Bedes/Mentone v Brighton Beach, Mentone Reserve, 9am
In another 2nd v 3rd clash, this matchup will be integral in deciding the makeup of the final four as the regular season grows old. For now, second position on the ladder appears safe for St Bedes/Mentone, who have, despite being just one win ahead of Brighton Beach, managed a mammoth percentage of 245.16. That figure is well above that of Brighton Beach’s, who sit on 75.76. If Brighton Beach lose, they could make themselves vulnerable to the hunting St Peters (4th) and Murrumbeena (5th) who are both just one win behind them.
U/14 Mixed Div 3- Ashwood v Northvale, Essex Heights Reserves, 3pm
Ashwood are tantalisingly close to a seat at the top-four table, trailing the fourth-placed East Malvern by just 2.72 percent A win against Northvale this weekend will keep them firmly in the hunt for a finals berth, and while a loss won’t kill their season, it could leave them considerably wounded, with East Malvern expected to win themselves. Northvale, on the other hand, are sitting comfortably in second, but could do with an improved percentage to help ensure a top-two finish.
U/15 Boys Div 1- East Brighton v Prahran, HurlinghamPark- Oval 1, 3pm
East Brighton’s top-two spot is deservedly safe having only lost one game, but another win here will serve a timely reminder to the undefeated Mordialloc Braeside that this year’s flag isn’t a one-horse race. On the other hand, Prahran need to triumph to tighten their top-four position. Sitting third, the Vampires have little breathing space over Beaumaris (fourth and also on four wins), East Sandringham (fifth with three wins) and St Bedes/Mentone, who also have three wins. With Mordialloc Braeside still to come, this presents as a must-win for Prahran.
U/16 Girls Div 1- Port Melbourne Colts v Oakleigh, JL Murphy Reserve- Woodruff Oval, 1:30pm
Fresh off the bye, Port Melbourne will look to secure their grip on the top four and subsequently, a finals berth. But against Oakleigh, achieving that will be a huge test. Oakleigh have only lost one game all season and are in formidable form, after belting Mordialloc Braeside to the tune of 54 points, before easily accounting for East Sandringham by 32 points. Expect a fierce contest at JL Murphy Reserve, with plenty on the line for Port Melbourne, while Oakleigh will want to prove themselves as genuine contenders.
U/17 Boys Div 2- South Melbourne Districts v Caulfield, Albert Park- Oval 11, 1:30pm
With the U/17 Boys Division 2 league incredibly even, this will be one of many important matches as the season’s sun begins to set. South Melbourne Districts currently sit fourth but are only percentage ahead of the sixth-placed Caulfield. It means a genuine must-win game for both teams, with it being what could be dubbed an ‘eight-point match.’ This affair shouldn’t be missed, with South Melbourne looking to strengthen their finals chances, and the Bears seeking to break into the top four.
U/18 Girls Div 2- East Brighton v Hampton, HurlinghamPark- Oval 1, 1:30pm
An interesting game in an intriguing league. Finishing top two holds extra appeal here, with the league made up of just four teams. And this match could go a long way to deciding that. At present, Hampton sit second, but will have to travel to Hurlingham Park successfully in order to guarantee this remains the case. The Vampires are a game behind Hampton, but also need to make up a notable amount of percentage. Vampire Sophia Ribbands, who sits fourth among the league’s leading goalkickers, could be the key to an East Brighton victory.