EFL Media’s Tim Fitzsimons previews all the upcoming action in Division 2. Don’t forget to use the #EFLDIV2 hashtag and tweet us, @footyefl.
DONCASTER EAST (2nd, 13-2) v MOOROOLBARK (4th, 8-7)
Mooroolbark’s quest to turn around their poor form won’t get any easier this week, travelling to Doncaster East to take on the second placed Lions.
The Mustangs have struggled lately, losing its past three games with their most recent outing a 49-point loss to Knox.
The scoring power of Mooroolbark has dried up in recent times, managing just ten goals in the last two weeks despite the competition’s leading goal kicker in Kire Talevski lining up in the forward line.
Doncaster East on the other hand have cemented a top two finish and come into Saturday’s game looking to extend its four game winning streak.
They were able to keep gallant Waverley Blues outfit at bay last week to come away 18-point winners.
Mooroolbark have much more to play for here with their grip on the top four loosening each week but their form suggests they will have to turn a lot around if they are to knock off a fancied Lions side.
LAST TIME THEY MET
MOOROOLBARK 8.4.52 def. by DONCASTER EAST 14.13.97
It was all Doncaster East after quarter time in the 45-point victory at Heights Reserve.
Michael Steven and Jake Summers were the standouts, booting three goals apiece for the Lions while Kane Noonan was named as Mooroolbark’s best.
CROYDON (7TH, 6-9) v WANTRINA SOUTH (6TH 7-8)
Both the Blues and the Devils are both fighting to keep their respective seasons alive this week when they clash at Croydon Oval.
Croydon simply must knock off the Devils if they are to have any chance of playing finals football in 2017, otherwise it is curtains for the boys in blue.
It was a tough day at Upper Gully last week for the Blues, continuing the trend of low scoring slogs at Kings Park as they managed just two goals in a 33-point loss.
Wantirna South maintained their strong form of late, holding off a fast finishing Mulgrave at Walker Reserve to remarkably draw within one game of the top four.
That is something only the most optimist of Devils supporters could have imagined a few weeks ago when their season looked to be done and dusted.
However, if Wantirna South can continue this form into Saturday, Croydon will have their work cut out if they are to keep their season alive.
LAST TIME THEY MET:
WANTIRNA SOUTH 10.11.71 def. by CROYDON 14.10.94
A six goal to two final term saw Croydon run over the top of Wantirna South to record a terrific win away from home for the first and so far still the only time this season.
Ben Riley impressed for the winners as Brad Ulms did his best to try and prevent the Devil’s loss with a strong performance, including two goals.
UPPER FERNTREE GULLY (5TH, 7-8) v LILYDALE (3RD, 8-7)
Upper Gully and Lilydale will be desperate to come away with the vital four points when the sides battle it out at Kings Park this Saturday in a game that will go a long way to deciding the final two spots up for grabs inside the top four.
Kings Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for visiting sides of late, with tough, low scoring scraps the trend and Upper Gully will take the advantage of playing and training in these conditions regularly.
Upper Gully has won four games in a row on it’s home deck, remarkably conceding a total of just four goals in the two most recent victories at Kings Park against fellow finals aspirants in Croydon and Wantirna South.
Lilydale will have it’s work cut out for them, but a big win over Mitcham last week has put them back on the winners list after a disappointing July where the Falcons lost four on the trot.
Andrew Preston, who kicked six goals last week to make it 10 from his past three games will vital for Lilydale if they are to break the trend of scoring difficulties for sides at Kings Park.
LAST TIME THEY MET:
LILYDALE 13.14.94 def. UPPER FERNTREE GULLY 5.3.33
In a remarkable game, Lilydale, who trailed by 22 points at the first change were able to hold Upper Gully to just two behinds after quarter time on route to a 59-point win.
Ryan Harvey was best for the Falcons, with Brad Lowe contributing with four goals.
Liam Gellie and Tim Risely worked hard all day in defeat for Upper Gully.
WAVERLEY BLUES (10TH, 2-13) v KNOX (1ST, 14-1)
This first versus last clash may not be as much of straightforward, convincing victory for a top of the table team than in previous years or other divisions.
Waverley Blues have very competitive in many of their fixtures this season, with six of their 13 losses being by less than 20 points.
They have also been able to take it up to some of the higher ranked teams in the competition, beating Mooroolbark three weeks ago and fighting hard against Doncaster East last week to eventually fall 18 points shy of the Lions.
Knox have started to regain some momentum last week after a shaky couple of weeks where they were taken apart and run over the top of by Doncaster East and able to salvage victory against Lilydale the following week by just four points.
The Falcons were well too strong for Mooroolbark last week, leading at every change to come away 49-point winners.
They will be looking to maintain this form against the Blues this Saturday and take some momentum into their last couple of games before a huge finals campaign.
LAST TIME THEY MET:
KNOX 20.11.131 def. WAVERLEY BLUES 7.11.53
It was all Knox after quarter time in round seven with the Falcons scoring power too strong for Waverley in the 78-point win.
Joel McGown, Jack Beech and Marcus Jordan combined for 10 goals while James Coghlan and Adam Swierzbiolek lead the resistance for the Blues.
MITCHAM (8TH, 6-9) v MULGRAVE (9TH, 4-11)
Mitcham take on Mulgrave at Walker Park in a game where both sides will be desperate to find some winning form to take into the last few weeks of season 2017.
The wheels have fallen off the Tiger train of late, dropping four of their past five games which has effectively ended any chance of playing finals football despite still being a slight mathematical chance to finish fourth.
It was a disappointing showing from Mitcham last Saturday, going down to Lilydale by 68 points, managing just four goals for the day.
Mulgrave will be hoping to find a fifth win this week, putting to bed any chance of falling into last place and finding themselves relegated to division 3 for the first time in almost 50 years at seasons end.
The Lions have shown some late season improvement, winning two of their past five games with the three losses in that period all by less than 20 points.
LAST TIME THEY MET
MULGRAVE 9.14.68 def. by MITCHAM 13.8.86
Mitcham did enough to keep Mulgrave at bay back in round seven as the Tigers fought off a gallant Mulgrave in a hard fought 18-point win.
Jake Parente was the standout on the day booting six goals with Lachlan Ryan also impressing and Lachlan Rudd playing a terrific game in defence on Mulgrave big man Adam Booth keeping him relatively quiet.
Mulgrave small Alister Tilyard was a shining light for Mulgrave, as was Callun Thornton in the midfield.