Lockleys are the hottest of premiership favourites. But can Kenilworth or Colonel Light Gardens come from behind and snatch the 2020 flag?
By Jakob Matheson

Colonel Light Gardens vs. Smithfield 

In a game that would shape the top five, Colonel Light Gardens welcome Smithfield to StreetFleet Park. The equation was simple for the Panthers, win and you play finals, whilst a loss would mean they would require their Northern neighbour Eastern Park to defeat Pooraka. In a game that would have many twists and turns it was the Lions that jumped out to an early 15 point quarter time lead. In the second quarter the Panthers found a gear as they kicked six goals to three and went into the sheds with a 3 point lead.  CLG wrestled the momentum back in the third.  However, the Lions missed a number of opportunity as they kicked 2.8 for the quarter and turned for home only 14 points up. Was it enough? In a frantic final term, the Panthers threw everything at the Lions, but it wouldn’t be enough as they would eventually fall seven points short, 12.19 91 to 12.12 84. Bryce Smith and Samuel George each kicked three goals for CLG. Nathan Studham was outstanding for the Lions being named best on ground. For Smithfield the loss was a cruel end to a season that promised so much. However, the reality is that it should never have come to this. They led Salisbury for three quarters last week to only lose by 9 points after conceding six goals in the final term. That 30 minutes of football will haunt Smithfield during the off-season, as this game showed they were capable of matching the top teams and they would have been a real chance to cause some damage in the finals. With the win, Colonel Light Gardens secure a top three finish and will face Kenilworth in the Qualifying Final next week for a chance to take on Lockleys. 

West Croydon vs. Lockleys 

Minor Premiers Lockleys, travelled to Fawk Reserve to take on 8th place West Croydon, in their final tune-up before finals. In a game that didn’t really mean much, Lockleys came away with the chocolates, kicking 15.21 111 to 7.10 52 in a 59-point victory. In an even first quarter, both sides managed 3 goals each with Lockleys holding a slender three-point quarter-time lead. However, in the second quarter Lockleys flexed it muscle as they kicked 5 goals whilst holding the Hawks to two points, and by half time the margin had extended to 36 points. Lockleys continued on their merry way in the third and by three quarter time had opened up a 53-point lead. In the end the Hawks were lucky to only lose by 59 points, with the blustery conditions causing the Demons to miss a number of opportunities in the last quarter, as they kicked 2 goals 8. After a promising start West Croydon like it has for most of season fell away after quarter time, struggling to find avenues to goal beside the in-form Reece Johnston who kicked a game high four goals. This brings his season total to 19 and he was named amongst the best for the Hawks along with Joseph Bull and Luke Francis. For Lockleys, Dylan Howie, Matthew McDonough and Sean Stormonth all kicked 3. As Tom McDonough was again influential for the Demons, being named best on ground. Lockleys can now look forward to the bye and will face either Kenilworth or Colonel Light Gardens in two weeks’ time in the Second Semi Final.                   

Pooraka vs. Eastern Park 

Pooraka returned home to Lindblom Park on Saturday afternoon to do battle with Eastern Park in what was a must-win game for the Bulls if they had any chance of playing next weekend. The Bulls came out firing from the onset winning 19.16 130 to 6.11 47 for a 83-point victory. At times this season Pooraka’s accuracy in front of goal has let them down, but despite the swirling wind they managed to kick 19 goals from 35 scoring shots at just over 54% accuracy. Leading the charge for the Bulls was Michael Baker with seven goals on the day. Alongside Baker, were the likes of Luis and Frank Timpano and Wade Matthews who all contributed in the victory for the Bulls. For Eastern Park, Maurice Freeman (4 goals) and Nathan McIver (2 goals) were both positive highlights in the defeat. For Eastern Park it was a disappointing end to what has been a frustrating season. The Demons have been in most of their games, with the 83-point margin, their largest lost since their round five defeat at the hands of Lockleys. With Smithfield going down to CLG, the win sees Pooraka sneak into the five and into next week’s Elimination Final against Salisbury at Salisbury Oval.      

Salisbury vs. Rosewater 

Fourth placed Salisbury Magpies welcomed the struggling Rosewater to Salisbury Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Magpies, having already locked in a spot in the finals with their come-from-behind victory against Smithfield last week, had eyes on a top three finish if other results go their way. It showed, as they got out to an early lead kicking 5 goals to zero in the first quarter. However, the Magpies wouldn’t have it all their own way. As the Bulldogs, with the aid of the breeze showed some spirt in the second quarter kicked four goals whilst holding the Magpies goalless to reduce the margin to eight points at the main break. That would be a close as the Bulldogs would get as the momentum that Rosewater had in the second quarter soon disappeared after half-time as Salisbury came out and kicked four goals whilst holding Rosewater scoreless for the second time. In the end the Magpies secured a comfortable 49 point victory 12.16 88 to 6.3 39. Sean Hee and Matthew Slater were again dangerous in front goals with each booted 3 goals for the ‘Pies. For Rosewater Adam Carroll had another good game and must be a chance for the clubs Best and Fairness after an outstanding month of football, whilst Max Buckley kicked 2 goals. The loss however means the Bulldogs will finish the shortened 2020 Season on the bottom of the table. Salisbury now turn their focus to next week’s Elimination Final and the unpredictable Pooraka.            

Kenilworth vs. Fitzroy

Ninth-placed Fitzroy travelled to Simonds Park at St. Mary’s to face off against Second-placed Kenilworth on Saturday afternoon. Kenilworth were coming off the back of a very impressive come-from-behind victory against League Leaders Lockleys last week and were looking to end the minor rounds with a victory against Fitzroy to assure them a top three finish and the double-chance. The Kookaburras came flying out of the gates kicking the first seven unanswered goals to setup a very comfortable 43 point lead at quarter-time. Fitzroy did show some fight in the second quarter, however normal service returned after half time with Kenilworth ended up winning by 93 points, 22.15 147 to 7.12 54. The Kookaburra’s had winners all across the ground with Myles Crump (5 goals), Trent Grosser (4 goals) and Isiah Place (3 goals) all major contributors. For Fitzroy, Dean Miller (2 goals), Mathew Wiese and Tyrese Pickett-Miller battle away in the defeat. The defeat ends a difficult year for the Lions with only a single victory for the season against Rosewater. Whilst for Kenilworth not only was the win important to secure the double chance, but the final margin helped boost the Kookaburra’s percentage and sees them jump into second. Meaning they will host next week’s Qualifying Final against Colonel Light Gardens

Finals Week 1 
Elimination Final 
Pooraka vs. Salisbury 

The enigmatic Pooraka, after just sneaking into the five with a victory and a Smithfield loss, will travel to Salisbury Oval to take on the in-form Magpies in the Elimination Final on Saturday. The winner advances to the First Semi Final against the loser of the Qualifying Final between Kenilworth and Colonel Light Gardens whereas the loser goes home. When these two teams met at the same venue in round one it was the Bulls that would be 32 point victors. However, so much has changed since then. After starting the season with two losses Salisbury has been one of the biggest surprises of the competition only losing to Lockleys along the way to come into the finals full of confidence. The Magpies have built their success around a team first mentality with an even spread of performers and goalkickers with both Sean Hee and Alex Bray regularly hitting the scoreboard. Pooraka are coming off of an impressive 83-point win over Eastern Park and are currently riding a 2-game winning streak. The season has been a real rollercoaster for the Bulls with wins against both of the Qualifying Final teams in Kenilworth and CLG, the later overturned by the league for they player permit infringement, which also saw their scores erased from two games. At the same time, they only just fell over the line against Fitzroy and Rosewater, whilst losing to West Croydon. Salisbury will be looking for redemption for that round one loss and to end Pooraka’s season. Salisbury by 15 points.  

Qualifying Final 
Kenilworth vs. Colonel Light Gardens

Kenilworth welcome Colonel Light Gardens to Simonds Park at St. Mary’s when the two face off against one another in the Qualifying Final on Saturday afternoon. Kenilworth, who are currently on a four game winning streak, after a somewhat sluggish start to the season. When these two teams met back in round four, it was the Kookaburras that got the chocolates with an impressive 57-point victory at home. Colonel Light Gardens have also been in good form, having won four of their last five games, with the only loss being to Lockleys in round seven. Kenilworth have managed to average over 100 points a game with Myles Crump leading the way with 20 goals. Whilst not as high scoring as the Kookaburra, the Lions are averaging 82 points a game and have relied on their defence to do the job keeping their opponents to 65 points a game. A long with Crump, Isaiah Place and Trent Grosser have started to hit the scoreboard and they have been well supported by Nicholas Chesser and Lachlan Richter both of whom have regularly been in Kenilworth’s best. Colonel Light Gardens will be wanting to avenge their loss from Round four and will be looking for Bryce Smith, Nathan Studham and Emmett Wood to continue their recent good form. For the winner, a date with Lockleys in the Second Semi Final awaits, whilst loser will host the winner of the Salisbury and Pooraka Elimination Final in the First Semi Final. This is a game that could go either way with Kenilworth starting slight favourites. However, traditionally finals are not high scoring affairs which may just suit the Lions. Expect a tight, close contest. Colonel Light Gardens by 4 points.

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