MARIBYRNONG PARK v KEILOR
A MONTH or so ago this looked like a genuine grand final preview but now, it’s looking more like a pre-finals tune-up for Keilor.
By no means is Marby out of finals contention, but the Lions now need a fair bit of luck to sneak in.
They almost got over the line at Greenvale last week but when it mattered late, the Lions lacked scoring power inside 50.
Losing Jock Cornell to an apparent quad complaint certainly didn’t help, with Caleb Vearing and Scott Clarke also among the current exclusions with injury.
With Dean Galea coming off a lazy 10 against Glenroy, you can’t help but feel Keilor will have Maribyrnong Park outgunned in this one.
The Blues have averaged 19 goals in their last three outings, the first of which was against the reigning premier away from home.
Their recent form is frightening but with Reynolds Medal fancy Nick O’Kearney now gone for the year with a neck injury, it’ll be interesting to see how the Blues adjust.
With everything on the line, will Marby step up and deliver their best performance of the season?
They need to, otherwise they’ll be nothing but spectators at Windy Hill in September.
ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS v PASCOE VALE - Radio Game
Of the five games, this is the one with the most in it for both sides.
Essendon Doutta Stars is locked in a percentage battle with West Coburg at the bottom of the table and only find themselves above the relegation zone by .97 per cent.
If both the Stars and Burgers have the same amount of premiership points in a fortnight’s time, then a goal or two could well decide who goes down to Essendon Ford Division 1 in 2019.
But with West Coburg due to face Avondale Heights next week in what is a winnable match-up, Douttas can’t be relying on percentage to keep them up.
So they have to go for the win.
Against a Pacco outfit that likes big decks, it won’t be easy here at Nipper Jordan Oval.
The Panthers need to run the table and rely on both Aberfeldie and Maribyrnong Park to take a couple of Ls to get into the final four, so expect them to be all guns blazing.
Matt Watson slotted five in a shoot-out with the Stars back in Round 6 and the large confines of NJO may well suit his game in this one.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is another shoot-out or a defensive slog.
The visitors may prefer the latter.
WEST COBURG v GREENVALE
After showing some promising signs against Keilor, West Coburg had another big letdown against Strathmore last week.
The Burgers were never in the hunt at Mascoma Street and now find themselves on the receiving end of a 10-game losing streak and languishing at the bottom of the table.
They’ve suffered an alarming trend of low scores whilst conceding big ones the other way.
That has to stop immediately in order to survive relegation.
Coming up against a Greenvale side not known for its scoring prowess, this might be a match-up that suits the Burgers at Coburg City Oval.
The Jets held on for a scrappy yet stirring win over Maribyrnong Park on EDFL Match of the Day last week, continuing their trend of hard-fought, close wins for most of the season.
While still a warm favourite, Paul Chapman will be sure to remind his troops of how close West Coburg came to beating them on their home deck back in Round 6.
With a far inferior percentage to those around them on the ladder, the Jets might be looking to pile on the goals here and if they do go that way then West Coburg won’t be able to keep up.
So it’s important the Burgers are willing to turn it into a scrap, though that could favour the Jets as well.
It’s seemingly their brand in 2018.
GLENROY v ABERFELDIE
Glenroy has been in 2019 mode for about a month or so now and it’s probably reflected in their recent results.
Three of their last four losses came against each of the current top three sides, but the other one was against an Avondale Heights outfit that the Roys took care of earlier in the season.
Travis Dulic, Aaron Kite, James Bennie, Jayden Walker, Luke Sullivan and Reid Nilsson have all missed some footy in that stretch and if there’s nothing to really play for then any players under injury clouds should probably not see any more of the field this year.
That means we’re probably going to see more of the same kind of form here against Aberfeldie.
Abers is putting some good footy together at the right time of year and another win here probably ensures a finals berth if some other results also go their way.
They had no issues getting past Essendon Doutta Stars last week and it’ll probably be a similar story here.
With better cattle and more to play for, Aberfeldie should be singing the song after this one.
AVONDALE HEIGHTS v STRATHMORE
A bit like the game above, only one side here has something to play for as September creeps closer.
Strathmore’s strong form has them sitting in the top two and thinking about a potential Semi Final date with Keilor at Windy Hill on the first day of September.
Of course, it would be quite foolish for Nathan Grima to be thinking that far ahead, but for us on the outside, it’s looking more and more likely as the season starts winding up.
The Mores made light work of West Coburg last week and welcomed Hamish McIntosh back into the side.
He returned the favour with three goals in the 81-point win.
Tom Condon’s form has been outstanding up forward as well, and with Josh Helliwell continuing to provide a strong presence inside the forward 50, you feel as though Avondale Heights won’t have the scoring power to match the Mores in this one.
The Heights stayed with Pacco at Raeburn Reserve last week but still couldn’t get close enough to be a serious threat, going down by 30 points.
They do have enough quality to at least give Grima some headaches, but an upset win is probably not on their radar.