Are North Haven the big challenger to Golden Grove? We’ll find out this Saturday if the Magpies are a possible premiership side.
By Justin Gerschwitz

Edwardstown 12.10 82 def Westminster OS 8.8 56

Edwardstown stitched up a place in the finals with a convincing five goal win over Westminster in their final game of the regular season. The Townies took care of business when they needed to most as a loss would have put their finals chances very much up in the air, however a five goal haul from Josh Holliday got them over the line. Holliday takes his season total to 21 majors and sits on top of the goalkicking leaderboard, Brayden Shaw of Golden Grove is two behind him in second place. Rhys Smelt was best on ground for the home side and Mitch Roberts claimed second best on after coming back from a game off due to concussion. Much the story of their season, Westminster were competitive but at the end of the day they couldn’t get the win. The goals were spread out fairly evenly, Wilsdon, Lienert and Marsh grabbing a couple each and Lienert walked away with best on ground honours. Edwardstown will play finals football but will be sweating on the result of the Flinders Park game next week to see whether they will finish in 4th or 5th position. Westminster will host Modbury in their final outing of the season as they look to shake up the top half of the ladder with an upset win. 

North Haven 18.18 126 def Gaza 7.2 44

North Haven ran rampant at Largs North Reserve this weekend to solidify their place in the finals, taking care of Gaza in a massive 82 point victory. Smithson was excellent, booting six goals while McCafferty chipped in with three. Phillips was their best player, making it three games running where he has been in the top three best players for his side. Todd Culley was the only multiple goalscorer for the travelling Gaza side who have now all but guaranteed they won’t be playing finals football this year. It is still mathematically possible, but they will need Flinders Park to cop an unlikely loss against CBC as well as winning their own game against Plympton, not to mention they need to make up a 9% percentage differential in the process. Not too likely. It’s been an up and down year for the Eagles who, at their best, have matched it with some of the best sides in the competition. They will be kicking themselves at not finishing in the five but signs are good looking to next year. North haven have moved up into second spot on the table and if they beat Golden Grove next week they will stay there, but that will certainly take some doing. 

Modbury 5.12 42 def by Golden Grove 7.6 48

The North East Derby was a scrappy, windy, low scoring affair that went right down to the wire. Modbury had plenty of scoring shots and rushed behinds on a blustery day but it was Golden Grove who made the most of their opportunities, winning by a single kick in the end. Brayden Shaw was the only person who managed to kick multiple goals in a game where goals were extremely hard to come by. Turnbull was best on ground for the home side who will be kicking themselves having missed an opportunity to be the only ones credited with beating Golden Grove so far this year. It was a lot harder than what the Burras are used to but as the old saying goes, good teams always find a way to win and that they did. They have top spot on the ladder confirmed now and if they beat North Haven next week they will have gone the entire home and away season undefeated. Modbury can take a lot of positives out of this one and may be licking their wounds for a week but there’s no doubt they will be confident were these two to meet again. The Hawks have slipped to third on the ladder and will likely play North Haven in week one of the finals however they can still find themselves with a home final if North haven go down to Grove next week. 

Plympton 5.11 41 def by Flinders Park 16.12 108

The Doggies have gone down again, this time to a red hot Flinders Park who have made it four wins on the bounce. The Reds got the job done to the tune of 11 goals and have now, barring a choke of unimaginable standards, secured a finals spot that looked decidedly unlikely about a month ago. Luke Trenorden made it 14 goals in three games, booting a season high six majors whilst their small forwards were damaging with Clay Muirhead, Chad Comitogianni, James Schwarz and Angus Baker all bagging two goals each. Plympton only had two goalkickers with Chalmers bagging three and Donkersley two. Jack Donkersley has arguably been Plymptons shining light this year, with a total of 16 goals for the year, an impressive effort in a side that is still yet to win a game. If Flinders Park take care of CBC next week, which I expect they will, they will end up with a home elimination final against Edwardstown, a match that was decided by less than a kick last time out. They can still finish as high as second but that would require a major slip up from Modbury and an even bigger one from North Haven which seems unlikely at this stage. Plympton travel to Gaza in their final outing which will be their last opportunity to get some points on the board this season. 

Round 9 – Westminster vs Modbury

Westminster find themselves in seventh position having picked up only two wins for the year which is not enough to still leave them with a chance of playing finals football. They do, however, have the opportunity to cost Modbury a double chance as the Hawks need to win here to confirm a spot in the top three. If all goes to plan and Golden Grove defeat North Haven as they have done to everyone else, then Modbury winning this one will see them finish in second position and secure a home final. Therefore, all the pressure in this one is on the travelling side and Westminster are traditionally tough to deal with out at Glandore. Westminster should be able to play with a lot of freedom as they have nothing to lose, but I fancy Modbury to get over the top of them fairly comfortably and book themselves a spot against North Haven in week one of the finals. Modbury by 27. 

Flinders Park vs CBC

Flinders Park, along with Grove, are the form team of the competition. The Reds have strung together four consecutive wins and rescued their season after the started off 0-3. A remarkable effort but those on Hartley Road will know that they now have the opportunity to make a real splash in the finals. CBC have shown promise at times but overall their foray into division three has been ultimately unsuccessful. They have managed only one victory to date and that was against a hapless Plympton so they will be absolutely relishing their chance to end the season on a high. A win for the visitors would not see Flinders Park miss finals (unless Gaza somehow manage to make up 9%) but it would rob them of the chance to play a home final, something that they doubt would cherish. Plenty to play for if you’re the Reds and I think that motivation will be enough to see them run out victorious quite comfortably. Flinders Park by 54. 

Golden Grove vs North Haven

For the second week in a row, Golden Grove find themselves in a first vs second showdown, this time against North Haven who have been the absolute kings of having a ridiculous amount of scoring shots this season. This has upset potential but North haven will need to kick straight, something they have struggled with this year. They broke even last week but still helped themselves to a massive 18 minor scores. Golden Grove managed to see off the challenge of Modbury but only just, the Hawks came closer than anyone else has this year. Golden Grove will surely come into this one confident, particularly given they are playing at home and have the chance to go an entire home and away season unbeaten. North Haven are playing for a home final and considering how well they play at home, that reward will be front of mind. This should be a cracking game of football and is easily match of the round but I fancy Golden Grove to be disciplined and limit the scoring shots the travelling Magpies have which will be enough to get the job done. Grove have scored the most and conceded the least, they deserve to go 8-0 and I believe they will. Golden Grove by 21.

Gaza vs Plympton

It’s not quite a dead rubber but it’s as close as we are going to get. Gaza are still mathematically a chance of making the five but a gigantic loss last week has ruined their percentage enough to establish a huge gap between themselves and Flinders Park. They will be disappointed to have missed the finals but if they’re looking for a percentage booster, they’ve got the pick of the bunch here in Plympton. It’s been a year to forget for the Doggies. At times they’ve been competitive but ultimately, seven losses tells the story. The silver lining here is the lack of relegation due to the shortened season so their chance for redemption will come next year, but why not start this week? They run into a deflated Gaza and if they’re looking for any motivation, avoiding a winless season should be more than enough. Gaza should win, though. They’re a better side and even the tiniest chance of a finals spot will be more than enough motivation to dish out a hefty loss to the Dogs. Gaza by 75. 

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