By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 1
REVIEW – THE SEASON SO FAR
There are still so many burning questions ahead of the second half of the Dandenong District’s Turf 1 season, with up to seven teams well and truly in the hunt for premiership glory.
A case can be made that Springvale South and Buckley Ridges lead this well clogged up race, while the might of last year’s premiers, Mordialloc, remain a constant threat, while Berwick possess a glittering list that is capable of tearing anyone apart.
But then there is surprise packet St Mary’s, who have come up from Turf 2 and made a splash. After defeating Cranbourne and Dandenong West in the early stages of the season, the Saints finished the year on a high by defeating Berwick and Dingley just before the Christmas break.
Also of particular interest are the positions of Heinz Southern Districts and Hallam, both waiting to pounce on any slip up from the current top four from here on in.
It’s a tight race to the top, and this weekend provides another golden opportunity to cement their standings or perhaps make a statement to the competition.
But just who has the steel to maintain the rage for the entire season?
It’s also likely to be a close count for the Alan Wookey Medal as the champion player of Turf 1, with the likes of Daniel Watson (Buckley Ridges), Leigh Booth (Hallam Kalora Park), reigning winner Steven Spoljaric (Springvale South), James Wilcock (Berwick), Dinuk Hettiarchchi (Dingley) and Michael Davies (HSD) all displaying phenomenal consistency for their respective sides.
St Mary’s and Buckley Ridges will lock horns on Saturday in a two dayer which may have finals implications, with Kaushyla Gajasinghe’s band of gun spinners facing up to an in form Bucks outfit with Daniel ‘DJ’ Watson at the top of his game.
If the Saints can spin a web and take away Buckley Ridges’ firepower, a top four spot is a genuine possibility.
But the race of relegation is also another talking point, with the bottom four of this season to be dropped down to Turf 2 in 2018/19, to make way for an eight team competition across all Turf grades.
As it stands, Dandenong West, Cranbourne and Narre Warren will need a miracle to survive the cull, with Dingley and North Dandenong battling it out to save their spot in the competition.
The Dingoes will finish the year with games against Mordialloc, Buckley Ridges, Cranbourne, Dandenong West and North Dandenong, with the game against the Maroons likely to decide their respective fates.
While the Maroons face HSD, Hallam Kalora Park, Dingley, Narre Warren, Dandenong West and Dingley in a slightly more favourable draw.
TURF 1 LADDER
|Heinz Southern Dist||6||4||2||0||24||1.43|
|Hallam Kalora Park||6||4||2||0||24||1.36|
TURF 1 FIXTURE
ROUND 8 – SATURDAY 13 JANUARY, SATURDAY 20 JANUARY
Mordialloc v Heinz Southern Districts – Ben Kavanagh Reserve
North Dandenong v Hallam Kalora Park – Lois Twohig Reserve
Dandenong West v Dingley – Greaves Reserve
Cranbourne v Berwick – Casey Fields
Springvale South v Narre Warren – Alex Nelson Reserve
St Mary’s v Buckley Ridges – Carroll Reserve