HILLSIDE v CRAIGIEBURN
Saturday 2:15pm at Hillside Reserve
CAN Hillside cause an upset for a second straight round and keep its slight finals hopes alive?
The Sharks finally returned to the winners list after a tough run and showed that they can match it with a top four side.
While Hillside, who are sitting fifth, can still make finals, those within the club aren’t getting their hopes up.
With a run of three matches against sides in the top four to finish the season, it doesn’t get much tougher than that.
They ticked the first one off on Saturday, coming from behind against Westmeadows.
After being wasteful early, the Sharks kicked nine goals to five in the second half to get the win.
Andrew Papazoglou kicked three goals in his best senior game for the club, while Jackson Volpato was strong.
It will be a tough ask this week against Craigieburn, which will be looking to keep its finals hopes alive.
The Eagles have moved into the top two on the back of a five-game winning streak.
They had little issues on Saturday against Oak Park, leading by nearly 100 points at three-quarter time before putting the cue in the rack.
As they have all season, the Eagles shared the goals around with six players kicking multiples, but no one kicked more than three goals.
Former Jaguar Bryce Kimuliatis, who made his senior debut for the club, was one of them.
Nathan Perrone also stepped up and was named best-on-ground.
The Eagles need to keep winning to ensure they finish in the top two and earn a double chance in the finals.
TAYLORS LAKES v OAK PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Lionheart Reserve
While the two teams are sitting eighth and ninth respectively, this shapes up as the most interesting game of the round in Division 1.
The Lions will be looking to finish their season on a high, with a bye in the final round.
For the Kangaroos, a loss would consign them to finish last and get relegated to Strathmore Community Bank Division 2.
That would mean Roxburgh Park will stay in Division 1 for a second season.
It should be a cracker match.
Both teams have shown at times this season they can match it with the top sides, but consistency across four quarters has been a problem.
The Lions got up last time the two teams met, building the margin throughout the day.
They have had the better form of late, falling just short against West Coburg.
Poor kicking in front of goal cost the Lions, who lost by 15 points despite having 15 more scoring shots.
Jake Hobbs and Stephen Tieppo kicked two goals each, with Hobbs being named Taylors’ Lakes best.
Hobbs has been their most consistent player this season, with Harrison Tanner not far behind.
For Oak Park, it was a tough day out against finals bound Craigieburn.
The damage was done in the first three quarters, before the Kangaroos won the last.
Liam Lucas was named the Roos’ best, while Danny Rajab continued on his good individual form.
WEST COBURG v EAST KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Shore Reserve
Neutrals will be hoping for a repeat of the last time these two teams met, with the game going down to the wire.
On that occasion it was the Cougars who got over the line and showed why they are the top side.
The Burgers have won their last two matches and two out of three since the bye.
In each of those wins, the games have been decided in the dying minutes.
On Saturday, they came out on top against an inaccurate Taylors Lakes side.
West Coburg led all day and were able to hold on with the Lions coming late.
The Burgers had four players kick four goals, led by the usual suspects Liam Bowkett and Jesse Martini.
Tom Baravi, who was also among the goal kickers, was named the Burgers’ best.
Like Hillside, West Coburg’s finals hopes are still alive, but would need everything to go right.
East Keilor took one step to claiming the minor premiership last week, beating Tullamarine in a top of the table clash.
The Cougars had to do it the hard way, coming from 29 points down at three-quarter time.
If not for some poor kicking by the Demons in the third quarter, the margin at the last break could have been a lot larger.
Jye King stepped up with four goals up forward, while Ben Caluzzi was named their best.
The Cougars have been getting the job done without leading goal kicker Dion Hill, who hasn’t played since July 6.
A win here would just about seal a top two spot heading into the final round.
TULLAMARINE v ROXBURGH PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Leo Dineen Reserve
Tullamarine comes into the match on the back of a disappointing loss against East Keilor.
The Demons were comfortably in front at three-quarter time before conceding the win to East Keilor on EDFL Match of the Day.
Making it more disappointing, the Demons had five more scoring shots, including a couple of controversial behinds.
Brad Allen and Ryan Pretty led the goal kickers again for the Demons, with Caleb Howard also starring.
Not only did they give up the chance to take top spot, they slipped down to third, with the double chance now at risk.
The Demons will be looking to string two wins together in the run home to finals.
In their last four matches they have gone win-loss, with their two wins coming against the bottom two sides.
The Magpies will come into the match fresh, having had the bye.
They will be hoping to finish the season on a high and a surprise win here would seal their spot in Division 1, with an Oak Park loss doing the same thing.
Roxburgh Park have shown in patches they can match it with the top sides and getting a win here would cap off their season.