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Strathmore Community Bank Division Two Preview - Round 18

By Adem Saricaoglu

Early Start - S
aturday 1:00pm at Keilor Park Reserve

BELIEVE it or not, this is the final home-and-away round of the year for Division 2.

That means a lot of us are playing with ladder predictors and projecting ahead to what the finals series may look like.

Coburg Districts can only control what it can control, which means it’ll be looking to pile on the damage against winless Keilor Park here.

Throughout the first half the season, most finals contenders used their game against the Devils to build percentage and the Lions were no exception, booting a whopping 49 goals to score a huge 306-point win.

That remains the biggest loss the Devils have suffered this year.

The same score line here would only bring Coburg Districts within 15 per cent of second-placed Moonee Valley and the Fog would have to lose by 10-plus goals for the two teams to swap places.

So with the maths in place, all-out attack is the most likely game plan for the Lions, but Chris Tankard will be fully aware that Keilor Park is a much better side now than it was back in Round 8.

The Devils kicked a season-high 7.5-47 and lost by 78 points to the Northern Saints last week – their best losing margin for the year.

Aiden Cassar and Jake Gatto, with three goals between them, both played well in what was their side’s best game of the season.

While overall scoring trends have dipped in the winter months, Keilor Park’s points-for totals have been well up in the second half of the season.

It’s a clear sign of improvement, and another 300-plus loss would be a shocking way to end the season for John Mangos’ men.

They need to be prepared for the onslaught and absorb as much as they possibly can.

Any margin under 100 should be considered a win and will be a good way to end what has been a trying season back at senior level.

Saturday 2:15pm at Ormond Park

The Sunbury Kangaroos have known for some time now that they’ll be this year’s minor premiers in Strathmore Community Bank Division 2, but the battle for second has been a three-horse race for much of the year.

Sunbury’s opponent this Saturday, Moonee Valley, is in the box seat to land in that second spot and play off for a place in the grand final next weekend, but nothing is locked in yet.

The only way the Valley can slip out of second is if it goes down to Sunbury here by more than 150 points and if Coburg Districts beats Keilor Park by more than 200.

The odds of those two things happening are rather small, but the Fog won’t want to take any chances.

Shanon Carroll’s men should be feeling good about their prospects after claiming a hard-fought win at Hadfield last week.

They’ll welcome star utility Braden Padmore back into the fold after a two-week suspension and be hoping they have enough quality on the park to challenge the undefeated Roos.

Ormond Park remains the last Division 2 venue Sunbury has not played at, and it is a difficult place for visiting teams.

Their ability to spread might be restricted and that could play into Moonee Valley’s hands.

You also have a situation where these two sides could meet again next weekend in the qualifying final, likely to be played at Glenroy’s Sewell Reserve.

So why would either coach be willing to show all of their cards?

Saturday 2:15pm at Burnside Heights Recreation Reserve

Burnside Heights has been banged up for much of the latter portion of the home-and-away season and it’s been evident on the scoreboard.

The Bears have gone 2-4 since their Round 10 bye and have lost all of their games against finals bound opposition.

Last week they again went down to bogey team East Sunbury, but it was a closely fought affair for the entire day at Tenterfield Drive.

The Bears were a little less efficient than East Sunbury in front of goal and to only go down by eight points was no disgrace by game’s end, especially given Josh Covelli was watching on the sidelines.

Hadfield went down in similar fashion against Moonee Valley and while the Hawks have lost four in a row, they have been competitive against better sides in recent weeks.

They’re struggling to score and have only kicked seven goals or less in each of their four recent losses, so you’d safely say they won’t able to win this by a margin of 38-plus goals.

If you’re wondering why we’ve plucked 38 goals as a potential winning margin for Hadfield, it’s because that is the only way Burnside Heights can slip out of fourth spot and miss the finals.

So, assuming that won’t happen, the Bears will likely use this as a warm-up for next weekend’s elimination final clash, likely to be against Coburg Districts at Greenvale’s Section Road.

If Aidan Stott does take that route, then anything could happen and Hadfield could pounce on the opportunity to end their season on a high.

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