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Division One Preview - Round 16

By Tara Murray


EAST KEILOR v TULLAMARINE
📻 Radio Game 📻
Saturday 2:15pm at Overland Reserve

THE minor premiership could be decided by the outcome of this match.

Both teams have occupied positions in the top two for most of the season, leading to a mouth-watering clash on EDFL Match of the Day here.

The Cougars enter the match on the back of a seven-game winning streak, with their last loss coming against the Demons in Round 7.

On that occasion, Tullamarine kicked 12 goals to four in the second half to run away with the strong win.

The Cougars enter this clash as the form team of the competition after a solid win in the battle of top and bottom sides.

A win was never in doubt against Oak Park, with the game over at half time.

The second half was much closer, but the damage was done.

Paris Grampsas, in his first senior game of the season since returning from Coburg Districts, kicked four goals in the absence of Dion Hill, while Nick Grabowski chipped in with three of his own.

Grabowski was named best-on-ground to continue his good form, being named in the Cougars’ best in the last six games after a slow start to the season.

Despite dropping their Round 13 match against West Coburg, the Demons, who are coming off the bye, have been in fairly good form as well.

With two byes in the last three weeks, the Cougars have been putting in the work off the field with three training sessions a week.

Expect to see Tullamarine field some strong sides in the run home, with several players returning from injury.

While the Demons rested players late last year, don’t expect the same this time round.


WESTMEADOWS v HILLSIDE
Saturday 2:15pm at Willowbrook Reserve

A Westmeadows win could all but end the battle for the fourth and last finals spot.

With the top three teams settled, the Tigers will be hoping to secure that fourth spot now and not have to fight it out in the final two rounds.

Westmeadows has been inconsistent in recent weeks and hasn’t been able to put together two wins in a row since Rounds 7 and 8.

Last up, they got the job done like they were expected to against Taylors Lakes.

It was a comprehensive win for the Tigers, who put it together for all four quarters.

Mitch Church kicked five goals up forward, but it was skipper Robbie Castello who took home best-on-ground honours with his classy four-goal performance.

Castello would have to be up there in Hutchison Medal voting, having dominated his year at Willowbrook.

He has been named in the best players in six of his 10 games.

The Sharks will come into this game looking to get back on the winners list after three straight losses.

Last Saturday was the most competitive they’ve been in those three losses and they could consider themselves unlucky not to come away with the win.

The Sharks had more scoring shots than West Coburg but fell three points short, having trailed by 26 points at the last break.

There were no multiple goal scorers for the Sharks, with Jackson Baillon named their best for a second straight week.

If the last time these two teams met is anything to go by, it will be a thriller.

On that occasion the Sharks got up by two points, having led by 34 points at the main break.

Castello was best afield on that occasion, too.


WEST COBURG v TAYLORS LAKES
Saturday 2:15pm at Coburg City Oval

Luck was on West Coburg’s side in a tight one at Hillside on EDFL Match of the Day last week.

In their three previous matches decided by three goals or less, the Burgers were left to think about what might have been.

On Saturday though, it was their turn with a three-point win against a fast finishing Hillside.

The win was not only a confidence boosting one, it was one that kept their slim finals hopes alive.

For three quarters, the Burgers looked the likely winners.

A Sharks comeback in the last quarter would get them close, but in the end just fall short.

Liam Bowkett kicked four goals for the Burgers to take his season tally to 35, while Mohamed Mohamed was the only other multiple goal scorer on the ground with two.

Mohammed Abou-Eid was the Burgers’ best in what was his best game of the season.

Like the two other teams fighting for fourth spot, consistency from week to week has been an issue for West Coburg.

With Hillside and Westmeadows playing each other, the Burgers need to win here.

Taylors Lakes would have pinpointed this as a game that they could win in the run home.

Last time around, a poor third quarter cost them against the Burgers, when they gave up a five-point lead, to trail by 39 points.

The Lions will have to step up after one of their worst performances for a while against Westmeadows last week.

It was a comprehensive loss, with the Lions kicking just six goals.

Rhys Deacon and Trent Forbes kicked two goals each, while Stephen Tieppo was named their best.


CRAIGIEBURN v OAK PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at DS Aitken Reserve

Craigieburn will be hoping for a big win with the Eagles’ eyes firmly on a top two spot.

With the top two teams playing each other, Craigieburn could quite easily overtake the loser of that one.

The Eagles, who sit a game behind both sides, already have a better percentage than Tullamarine, while East Keilor is only four per cent ahead.

The task for Lance Whitnall’s men here is to make sure they play some good football against bottom side, Oak Park.

Last time it was a high-scoring affair with the Eagles having 40 scoring shots and winning by 58 points.

Once the win is taken care of, don’t be surprised to see the Eagles try and put the foot down.

They showed last week that they can score heavily, with a season-high 170 points against Roxburgh Park.

Five players kicked at least three goals for the Eagles, with eight players having kicked at least 12 goals for the season, with John Bellino leading the way with 38.

While the Eagles are looking at a top two finish, Oak Park is in desperate search of an upset win.

With three rounds remaining and sitting two games behind Taylors Lakes and Roxburgh Park, Oak Park’s chances of avoiding relegation are running out.

The Kangaroos showed last week that they can match it with the top sides for periods of time.

After trailing by 60 points at half time against East Keilor, the Kangaroos had just one less scoring shot in the second half, stopping the match from becoming a real blow out.

Kirk Lang kicked his first two goals of the season, while Aden Harris was again a key target up forward with two of his own.

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