A win for the ages for the mighty Kenilworth Kookaburras as they beat Lockleys. Whilst Salisbury continue their rich vein of form in the back half of the season
By Jakob Matheson

Colonel Light Gardens vs. Fitzroy

Third-placed Colonel Light Gardens travelled to Fitzroy Sports Club to take on the ninth-placed Fitzroy Lions. In what ended up being a scrappy game of football, Colonel Light Gardens were able to come away with the points kicking 8.20 68 to 3.8 26 in a 42 point victory. The visitors kicked the first four goals of the game to open up a 29 point lead at quarter-time. In the second quarter the wind began to pick up, making scoring extremely difficult for both teams as they combined for a total of seven behinds for the quarter. This allowed CLG to head into the sheds with a comfortable 32 point lead having held Fitzroy goalless in the first half. Fitzroy battled away gamely in the second half but never threatened, whilst Colonel Light Gardens, despite having multiple chances struggled to convert in front of goal in the tough conditions. Scott McMahon who booted 3 of his sides 8 goals was a significant contributor for the visitors as were Billy King, Mark Stansborough and Emmett Wood. Matthew Wiese, who has been one of the few standouts this season for Fitzroy, was once again outstanding. The win for the visitors sees them move into second just ahead of Kenilworth on percentage, but they are no certainty of a top three finish with a big game against Smithfield next week. For Fitzroy, their disappointing season continues as they fall to 1 and 7.         

Eastern Park vs. West Croydon 

Eastern Park welcomed West Croydon to Dwight Reserve. Coming into the game West Croydon still had a slight chance to make the five after their win last week over Pooraka, whilst for Eastern Park it was all about restoring some pride in what has been a disappointing season. In the end it was Eastern Park, despite trailing at half-time, ran out comfortable 25 point victors, 18.14 122 to 15.7 97. It was a high scoring affair from the onset, as the Demons kicked seven goals to the Hawks six in the first quarter to earn a seven point lead at quarter time. West Croydon got on top in the second as they kicked five goals to two to take a 12 point lead into the main break. However, as has been the case for most of the season the Hawks ran out of steam in the second half as the Demons kicked nine goals to three after half time to secure the victory. Ben McMullen (five goals), Nathan McIver (four goals) and Ian Williamson (four goals) were all key contributors for Eastern Park in the victory. Luke Woodcock and Reece Johnston kicked a combined 10 goals (7 and 3 respectively) for West Croydon. For the Demons they improve to 3 and 5 moving up to seventh whilst with the loss West Croydon drop to eighth also with a record of 3 and 5.  

Rosewater vs. Pooraka

Last placed Rosewater played host to the inconsistent Pooraka at Eric Sutton Oval. Pooraka were able to hold off a gallant Rosewater side and win by 13 points. The 8.9 57 to 6.8 44 victory means that the Bulls still have a chance to make the five. After the disappointment of last week Pooraka jumped out of the blocks and took a 15 point lead into the first break. With the aid of the breeze Rosewater then were able to hold the Bulls scoreless in the second quarter, whilst managing to kick four goals of their own. This allowed them to open up a 13 point lead at half time and were on the verge of an upset. However, Rosewater’s lead was soon erased as Pooraka started to show the form that saw them beat teams like Kenilworth earlier in the season as they kicked five goals to one in the second half to remain in the hunt for that top five spot. Steven Zolnowski was again brilliant for the Bulls as was Michael Baker who kicked four goals in the victory. For Rosewater, Adam Carroll and Daniel Harris were their two main contributors. The loss leaves Rosewater at the bottom of the table with Salisbury to come, whilst the Bulls amazingly are still in contention for the top five should they defeat Eastern Park and Smithfield lose next week.         

Kenilworth vs. Lockleys

The two heavy weights of the competition in Lockleys and Kenilworth, met in a top-of-the-table clash at Lockleys Oval on Saturday afternoon. Kenilworth, were facing a tough challenge in Lockleys who were riding a seven-game winning streak. In a game that many believed to be the Grand Final preview, it was Kenilworth that came out firing kicking six goals in the first quarter to take a 30 point lead into quarter-time. It was like the teams swapped guernseys in the second quarter as Lockleys took control and piled on six goals of their own. Had it not been for inaccuracy in front of goals, the margin would have been greater than the eight point lead the Demons held at half time. The third quarter became an arm wrestle as neither team gave an inch, with Lockleys hanging onto a slender six point lead at the final break. Trailing by a goal with one quarter left, Kenilworth’s top three chances were on the line. Whatever the coach said at three quarter time did the trick as Kenilworth were able to snatch victory with a three goals to one final quarter to win by five points, 13.12 90 to 11.19 85. For Lockleys its one that got away and they will be ruing some of the missed opportunities they had in front of goal. Matthew McDonough was again amongst the goals, kicking three with Simon Ascoli having his best game for the season for the Demons. Whilst, for the Kookaburras Samuel Scott was outstanding with 3 goals, he was well supported by Isiah Place and Joel Whittlesea. Kenilworth despite the victory slip to third behind Colonel Light Gardens and must win next week to secure a top three finish.

Salisbury vs. Smithfield

The final game of Round 8 saw the two surprises packets of the season in Salisbury travel out to Smithfield Oval to take on Smithfield. In a game that had implications on finals, it was Smithfield who started well to open up a 15 point lead at quarter time 3.4 22 to 1.1 7. For the first three quarters Smithfield seem to have the answers as they withstood everything the Magpies threw at them. It allowed the Panthers to take a 17 point lead into the three quarter time break and looked to be on the verge of securing a top five finish. However, Salisbury were not done with yet and in an amazing final term it was the Magpies who came storming home kicking six goals to two, to steal a season defining 9 point victory, 12.7 79 to 10.10 70. Luke Buckby kicked six goals, bringing his total to 40 for the season, whilst Llwellyn Milera had another big game for the Panthers. For the Magpies Jack Schuurmans started whilst Matthew Shields, Jed Banwell were big contributors along with Sean Hee with two goals. The loss sees the Panthers spot in the five on a knife edge as they now must win next week against the second placed Colonel Light Gardens. As for Salisbury, the victory ensures them a spot in the finals with a top three position still up for grabs. If they can get a victory next week over Rosewater and the Panthers get a victory, it could well see the Magpies leap frog CLG into the top 3. What a finish to the season.          

The week ahead – Round 9

As this shorten season comes to an end, the results of the final round will determine the makeup of the final standings with only Lockleys secured in their position at the top of the table. Fourth placed Salisbury can still finish second, whilst six placed Pooraka can finished as high a fifth or as low as eighth depending on results. The great thing is we won’t know until 5pm Saturday afternoon, which is sure to make this round of games the most exciting of the season.

West Croydon vs. Lockleys  

West Croydon head home to play host to the minor premiers Lockleys when the two teams go head-to-head this Saturday afternoon at Fawk Reserve. Both teams are coming off of a loss, for West Croydon it has been frustrating year, at times they have matched it with their opponents for a quarter or two, only to have fallen away in the second half. As for Lockleys, there would some disappointed with the lost to Kenilworth last week and they would like to go into the finals with a victory under their belt. Having already secured the first week bye they might be tempted to rest a couple of their older players, despite this possibility still expect Lockleys to avenge last week’s lost with a very comfortable win on the road. Lockleys by 37 points. 

Pooraka vs. Eastern Park 

Pooraka welcome seventh placed Eastern Park to Lindblom Park on Saturday afternoon. The season looked lost for the Bulls when they fell to West Croydon in round seven. Yet, two weeks later they have a real chance of a top five finish, should Smithfield loss to CLG. First however the Bulls must win, and if the last month has taught as anything, that will be easier said than done for Pooraka. A victory for Eastern Park would not only end Pooraka’s hopes of making an appearance in the finals it would see them jump ahead of the Bulls and finish the season with some confidence and momentum to take into the off season. Expect this game to nail biter, however there is too much riding on it for Pooraka to let it slip. Pooraka by 24 points.       

Kenilworth vs. Fitzroy 

Kenilworth coming off a great win last week, welcome Fitzroy to Simonds Park to end the regular season. Kenilworth, whilst not as dominate as last season are starting to show form at the right time, having won four of their last five. The Kookaburras can’t afford any slip-ups with the tightness of the ladder as a loss could see them drop to fourth. As for Fitzroy they are coming off of a 42 point defeat to Colonel Light Gardens and have struggled all season since moving up to Division 5. The excitement of last year’s Premiership is now a distant memory. Kenilworth will start red-hot favourites and shouldn’t have too much trouble disposing of the Lions to secure the all-important double chance. Kenilworth by 43 points.       

Salisbury vs. Rosewater 

The surprise packet of the season the in-form Salisbury, winners of four of their last five games, welcome last-placed Rosewater to Salisbury Oval this week. Salisbury are coming off of an ultra-impressive come from behind 9 point victory against Smithfield on the road last week and have secured themselves a spot in the finals. A victory for the Magpies could see them jump to third and set them up for a real tilt at the flag. For Rosewater it has been a season to forget, apart from a great come from behind win back in round 3, nothing has gone right for the Bulldogs and they see themselves on the verge of the Wooden Spoon. This game is Salisbury’s to lose, so expect them to come out firing and with the likes of Alex Bray, Sean Hee and Mitchell Slater they are a big chance to kick a very large score. Salisbury by 79 points.    

Smithfield vs. Colonel Light Gardens 

The final game of the regular season sees second place Colonel Light Gardens welcome fifth place Smithfield to StreetFleet Park. This match has huge implications to both the final standings and to the premiership chances of not only CLG and Smithfield. After pushing Lockleys two weeks back the Lions took care of business last week with an impressive 42 point victory against a lackluster Fitzroy in tough conditions, the margin should have been greater if it wasn’t for CLG inaccurate kicking. Smithfield led the entire game against Salisbury last week only to lose by 9 points after conceding six goals in the last quarter, and if they miss the finals will look back at those 30 minutes with horror. However, a win this week by the Panthers will lock down a finals spot and they have shown over the last month how dangerous they can be and they could cause real havoc in the finals if they make it. For Colonel Light Gardens, a victory will see them secure a top three spot and the double chance. A loss however could see them drop to fourth and have to play the Panthers again in the Elimination Final. For Smithfield its really simple, win and you’re in, lose and you’re out. This is basically anyone’s game, expect the game to have a finals like atmosphere, it will be a close, hard fought contest that could potentially come down to the final kick of the game. Colonel Light Gardens by 1 point.

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