A big three weeks remain in MC Labour Division 2 with all eyes sure to be peeled on two finals shaping matches occurring this weekend.
Eltham will continue their charge towards the minor premiership when they host St Mary’s at Eltham Central Park.
While both sides currently sit in the top five, the potential scenarios to come out of this result are vastly different.
A win for the Panthers will make it 13 consecutive triumphs and as a result, will shore up their first minor premiership since 2018.
They proved that status last week when they withstood a spirited Banyule comeback to prevail by six points away from home. With some key names still missing, the young brigade stood up again to deliver the four points to Robert Hyde’s side with Daniel Horsfield playing a brilliant game while Daniel Owen again led the scoring with four majors, now kicking 42 goals for the season.
In some ways, the four points are more critical for St Mary’s to obtain this weekend.
With Thomastown breathing down their necks, the Burra need to find a way to keep the current six-point gap they have from the Bears, despite their missed opportunity against Diamond Creek last week.
Leading by four points with just moments remaining, Tyler Barnes converted his set shot after the siren to break the hearts of the Burra fans and giving Fabian Carelli’s side to their third loss in their last five games.
St Mary’s would be truly deserving of a finals appearance if they’re to beat the Panthers on Saturday, a side they haven’t beaten since joining Division 2 in 2019, but with Lower Plenty to follow this match next week, the Burra’s clash with Thomastown in the final round of the season could be the deciding factor to their top five hopes.
In a bid to keep their season alive, Thomastown will be looking to knock off Lower Plenty in a ‘Battle of the Bears’ at Main Street Recreation Reserve.
After losing five straight matches, Thomastown have created some important momentum heading towards the back end of the season, winning their past three games.
It now gives them a chance at a finals tilt that not many thought were possible only a month ago.
While the forward craft of Anthony Capeci continues to help Thomastown on a goalkicking front, its been the likes of Ross Hatzis, Cory Giannone, Sebastijan D’Arro and Luca Gioskos that have helped the Bears win their latest matches.
Lower Plenty on the other hand are relentlessly hunting a top three finish and will sense their clash with Thomastown as a big opportunity to rise up the ladder.
Phil Plunkett’s side have won their last three matches including most recently proving to be too strong for Watsonia. Corey Sleep had a brilliant day out rotating through the forward line and midfield while Ben Paterson and Josh Turner were also top contributors while Billy Barden had a massive afternoon, finishing the game with six goals.
An incredible draw was the result last time these two played, which would give Thomastown plenty of confidence to knock off their first top five side this year and if they can do just that, then Daniel Bramich’s men will be favourites to play finals over the Burra.
Watsonia and the Fitzroy Stars will face each other at Binnak Park, with both sides still holding a glimmer of hope that they can keep their 2022 campaigns alive for different reasons.
The Saints are eight points adrift from the top five with three games remaining and will not only need results to go their way, but they will need to take their chances as they come, meaning this weekend’s clash provides an opportunity to gain ground.
George Lattouf’s side will need to improve on their disappointing 44-point loss to Lower Plenty if they’re to rebuild some momentum. Daniel Annetta was outstanding for the Saints, doing all he could to bring his side back into the contest while Kyle Wheatley found his touch again, finishing the day with three goals.
Facing the two bottom sides in the next fortnight, comfortable wins could provide Watsonia with the spark they need to finish the season on a high and potentially sneak into the final five.
The Stars would’ve seen last week’s match with Panton Hill as their last realistic opportunity to claim their first win of the season but despite a spirited effort, they couldn’t get past the Redbacks away from home.
Not only was Riley Livingstone the best player on the ground for the Stars with five goals, but his brilliant performances and strong leadership throughout the year will no doubt help the club in the near future.
With two top three sides to finish the year, Lionel Proctor’s men will hope to put in an excellent performance on Saturday to give Stars fans some hope in 2023.
Diamond Creek and Panton Hill lock heads at Coventry Oval, with the hosts hoping to keep their spot in the top three.
After back-to-back losses, the Creekers returned to winning ways last weekend edging out St Mary’s by two points.
Tyler Barnes was influential all around the ground, finishing the day as the side’s best player in the winning effort and kicking the winning goal after the siren. Sam Gleeson continues to be a revelation for the Creekers, with his eighth appearance in the best in 13 games.
With Lower Plenty sitting two points behind them and in good form themselves, Diamond Creek need to keep winning in order to secure an important double chance spot.
Opponents Panton Hill recorded a 21-point victory last week over the Fitzroy Stars and with top six sides to round out the regular season, the Redbacks will hope to claim one more big scalp.
Samuel Parks was the best afield for his side last week with Daniel Freeman named in the best for the third time in his five games this season.
Diamond Creek produced 32 scoring shots to 12 when they last played the Redbacks in Round 9 to win by 60 points, but with Panton Hill producing plenty of spirited performances in the second half of the season, the result could be closer than some expect.
Epping take on Banyule at the Epping Recreation Reserve in what will be one of the biggest challenges for the Blues to overcome this season.
It would be the shock of the 2022 campaign if the Blues could knock off the Bears at home but with the form line of both sides lately, the likelihood of it happening is small.
Leigh Judd continues to be a shining light for his side, named in the best again in Epping’s defeat to Thomastown last week, his 10th appearances in the best during his 11 games this season.
Even if the four points seems out of reach, the Blues will at least want to improve on their 114-point defeat to the Bears earlier in the season.
After their six-game winning streak came to an end last week, Banyule will hope to regain a similar patch of form in the lead up to finals.
The Bears were gallant in their six-point defeat to ladder leaders Eltham and are by no means uncapable of challenging for the premiership in 2022.
Jack Langford still leads the competition goal kicking leaderboard with 50 goals while Riley Loton and Tim Martin are proving to be an unstoppable duo in the midfield. Both players were very close to getting the Bears over the line last week.
Banyule finish the season with Diamond Creek and Watsonia after their trip to Epping on Saturday which will likely be competitive matches ahead of a huge finals series.