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Here we go! Finals Footy is here and it’s a bumper first week of the 2018 Pepper Money Finals Series.

SMJFL contributor Owen Leonard takes a close look at some of the battles for a direct Grand Final spot as well as some knock out Semi Finals.

 

U/17 Boys Div 1

Highett/Cheltenham Black (1st) v Beaumaris (2nd)

These teams have won an equal amount of games, and are 1st and 2nd on the ladder, split purely by percentage. The competition’s heavyweights have met on three occasions this season, with Highett/Cheltenham claiming two wins to Beaumaris’ one. However, the Sharks will not be lacking in confidence, having triumphed by 15 points in their most recent clash with the Panthers. Do yourself a favour and head down to Boss James Reserve in Hampton at 2:30 this Sunday. This is a clash not to be missed.

 

U/18 Girls Div 2 

St Kilda City (1st) v. Hampton Rovers (2nd)

Expect an unpredictable, entertaining affair when St Kilda City tackle the Hampton Rovers this Sunday at Princes Highway Reserve at 3:10. In their four meetings this season, both sides have claimed two victories. Interestingly, while both sides have acquired one tight win apiece, they’ve also both managed a comfortably victory over each other, highlighting the incalculable nature of this meeting. St Kilda City will look for league leading goalkicker Sophie Dethridge to step up on the big stage, so it’ll be up to the Rovers defence to mitigate her influence.

 

U/15 Boys Div 4 

Caulfield Bears (3rd) v. East Sandringham (4th)

Caulfield had everything to play for in the final round, sitting 5th on the ladder with a win guaranteed to put them into finals. And win they did — in truly emphatic fashion — with a stunning 92-point victory over AJAX. Led by the comp’s top-two leading goalkickers in Harry Penhall and Nicholas Karamihos, expect the Bears to be a big finals threat, as they have proven they can rise to the occasion when necessary. East Sandringham, on the other hand, made light work of cellar-dwellers Ormond last week with a 39-point victory, so also head into the do-or-die clash with form under their belt.

 

U/14 Mixed Div 3

Waverley Park Hawks (1st) v. Northvale Hawks (2nd)

Intriguingly, the top two teams of the U/14 Mixed Div 3 competition have only met once this season, as recently as last week, when Waverley Park claimed an easy 23-point win over Northvale in the battle of the Hawks. Waveley Park finished the regular season comfortably atop the table, so Northvale will have to find something special to produce an upset here, having only managed three goals last week.

 

U/13 Mixed Div 1

East Malvern (2nd) v. East Brighton Vampires (3rd)

Not much separates East Malvern and East Brighton on the ladder, so this game could go either way. The Vampires will be thirsty for East Malvern blood and finals success, looking to bounce back after falling short to league powerhouse Beaumaris by 26 points last week. East Malvern are the in-form side, having won the last three matches of the regular season by an average margin of 48 points. However, last time these sides met, East Brighton took home the points with a 16-point win, so the Vampires will also be full of confidence heading in.

 

U/12 Mixed Green

Ashwood (2nd) v. Murrumbeena JFC (3rd)

Only percentage separated these two on the U/12 Mixed Green ladder this season, so expect a thrilling affair. Ashwood’s William Crox leads the league’s goalkicking comfortably with 27 goals, while Murrumbeena have two players in the top five in Phoenix Chivers and Jackson Laing, who have booted 20 and 16 respectively.

 

U/11 Mixed Bronze

Port Melbourne (2nd) v. St Peters (3rd)

Port Melbourne host St Peters in what shapes as a tense encounter this Sunday. Port boast an intimidating percentage 231.56 coupled with nine wins, while St Peters have managed seven wins and four losses at a percentage of 156.29. These sides met last week in a fixturing quirk, which saw a tight seven-point win to Port Melbourne. Samuel Haywood kicked three of St Peters four goals, and will need to again be at his best to cause an upset over Port Melbourne on Sunday.