It’s make or break for rivals

Can Narre Warren get past the mighty Berwick to advance through the grand final? 197478 Pictures: ROB CAREW




SEMI FINAL 1 – Beaconsfield v Cranbourne

Saturday 14 September, 2.20pm, AJ Robinson Oval, Doveton


Round 10, 2019: Beaconsfield 12.7 (79) defeated Cranbourne 4.6 (30)

Round 1, 2019: Cranbourne 13.10 (88) defeated Beaconsfield 9.13 (67)

Semi Final, 2018: Cranbourne 12.8 (80) defeated Beaconsfield 8.9 (57)

Round 16, 2018: Beaconsfield 8.10 (58) defeated Cranbourne 6.8 (44)

Beaconsfield players to watch: Scott Meyer, Jake Bowd, Sean Dwyer, Jack Griffiths

Cranbourne players to watch: Bailey Buntine, Ryan Jones, Shaun Marusic, Kirk Dickson


Outer East commissioner Ryan Ford:

“Beaconsfield will look to rebound after not playing their best football last weekend. In general play Woori Yallock took it up to Cranbourne at Doveton last weekend, just couldn’t convert on the scoreboard. This promises to be a good contest however Beaconsfield will have too much class and win by 22 points.”

Outer East media manager Matt Fotia:

“I’ve got a bad feeling Beaconsfield fans. That loss on the weekend might’ve exposed their youth as Narre Warren blitzed them early. Meanwhile Cranbourne are coming into this game off some strong form, with the knowledge that they showed Beaconsfield the exit at the same stage of finals last year. It’ll be close and Cranbourne’s cool heads will get them across the line. Cranbourne by 12 points.”


What a fascinating battle this looms as being down at Doveton on Saturday afternoon, with Steve O’Brien’s Cranbourne building into some pretty ominous touch in the back half of the year, particularly with an array of stars returning to the line up and adding some much needed experience.

For Beaconsfield, it was blown out of the water early against a Narre Warren outfit with a serious point to prove, and will be stinging from arguably its most lackluster performance of the season, and from a scoring point of view it was by a considerable margin.

Scott Meyer returned to the side last weekend against the Magpies and will be better for the run, so matching the champion ruckman around the ground will be an almighty challenge. If he gets off the leash, it’ll be hard to see the Eagles not take full advantage.

The recent history between the two clubs highlights just how evenly matched these two groups are, both playing a similar, exciting brand of football at their best, capable of beating absolutely any side, anywhere on their day.

But inconsistency has at times been the issue for both teams, and getting a fast start and maintaining a lead will be the challenge, as history suggests when either of the sides get an early break, defensively they’ve got the armory to hold onto a lead and play solid finals football.

SEMI FINAL 2 – Berwick v Narre Warren

Saturday 14 September, 2.20pm, Toomuc Reserve, Pakenham


Round 18, 2019: Berwick 16.11 (107) defeated Narre Warren 10.15 (75)

Round 1, 2019: Berwick 10.17 (77) defeated Narre Warren 10.11 (71)

Grand final, 2018: Berwick 8.25 (73) defeated Narre Warren 2.10 (22)

Semi final, 2018: Berwick 11.13 (79) defeated Narre Warren 9.13 (67)

Berwick players to watch: Travis Tuck, Ash Smith, Harry Money, Luke Jellyman-Turner

Narre Warren players to watch: Dylan Quirk, Brad Scalzo, Michael Collins, Mitch Cox


Outer East commissioner Ryan Ford:

“Many will agree this will be a grand final preview two weeks early between the Premier Division’s two best sides. Big ground at Pakenham will suit both teams who like space to move the ball. Narre Warren was suburb last week against Beaconsfield however Berwick are in a golden era at this time in their club’s history and will win by 12 points.”

Outer East media manager Matt Fotia:

“Narre Warren has to win this one. They need to know they can beat Berwick before they almost certainly meet in the grand final in a fortnight’s time. They’ve got the quality to do so, they just need to believe. It’ll be close but the Magpies will get the week off. Narre Warren by six points.”



There’s no more anticipated clash in the Outer East than when these two powerhouse football clubs go toe-to-toe.

And one thing is almost certain – both sides are going to play some incredible football, and leave fans on the edge of their seats the whole way as the great rivals play off for a spot in the grand final on AFL Grand Final eve.

For the Magpies, it’s going to be a battle of the mind. Can they overcome the pain of losing two finals to the Wickers last season, as well as in both home and away clashes this season?

Quality isn’t an issue, it’s about mindset and being switched on from the opening bounce until the final siren.

Dylan Quirk admitted that just a few weeks ago when the Wickers overran his Magpies, they were destroyed in the midfield, and it’s going to be the biggest area that Matt Shinners’ group could exploit the champion side chasing for three senior premierships on the trot.

Obtaining that precious week off and a grand final spot is paramount for the Magpies after a gruelling home and away season, but more importantly gaining the confidence that they can match it with the yardstick.

For the Wickers, it’s all about switching back on after earning the week off, and turning their attention to massive finals campaign.

Talk this week has mostly focused on the future direction of the Berwick Football Club – and it will continue to be a talking point going forward – but for now, Rhys Nisbet’s group just want to shelve all of that and focus on the task at hand, which is a lucrative three-peat.

The Wickers need just two wins to win the flag, so they’ll take some almighty beating, and with Madi Andrews, Ash Smith, Travis Tuck and Lucas Jellyman-Turner in unbelievable touch, as well as the whole side playing such a sustainable, team orientated game, the Wickers are a frightening prospect.

It’ll come down to the little moments, the ability to convert, and utter focus and dedication to the contest that gets the job done.

Bring it on!


PRELIMINARY FINAL – Pakenham v Monbulk

Sunday 15 September, 2.10pm, Holm Park, Beaconsfield


Round 12, 2019: Pakenham 14.10 (94) defeated Monbulk 3.8 (26)

Round 5, 2019: Monbulk 14.15 (99) defeated Pakenham 7.6 (48)

Pakenham players to watch: Joe Baker-Thomas, Chris Cardona, Zac Stewart, Liam Tyrrell

Monbulk players to watch: Nick Sargent, Glenn Strachan, Thomas Taylor, Ashley Beck


Outer East commissioner Ryan Ford:

“Two sides who both would have expected to be playing in a Division One grand final but only one will get the chance. Monbulk were powerful against Officer last weekend and this will be a tight game. Pakenham will enjoy the wide spaces at Beaconsfield and will win by five points and earn the right to take on Doveton next weekend.”

Outer East media manager Matt Fotia:

“It’s a big ground. The sun is meant to be shining (which) will see the Lions get back on track and book their spot in the big dance. Got caught over possessing the football in wet conditions on the weekend, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the sun is out. Pakenham by 24 points.”


The Lions will be stinging from a shock loss to a brilliant Doveton side after earning the week off after claiming the minor premiership.

Ash Green’s side has been absolutely superb throughout the season and have built perfectly, but Sunday’s comprehensive loss to the Doves in the wet was one of its most disappointing of the season, something that will ensure there’s no shortage of motivation to really prove a point this weekend.

The best part of earning the double chance is the opportunity to correct a lacklustre performance and get back to their best footy, but the Hawks won’t make it easy.

While the Hawks may struggle to navigate the wide expanses of Holm Park after going down to the Doves on the same ground in a qualifying final a couple of weeks ago, the win against Officer – once again in horrendous conditions – will inject a bit more spark in the group, and will hope to make it a congested slog.

With the Doves set to be watching on to see who will meet them on Sunday 22 September’s grand final, the Lions and Hawks – the two most consistent sides across the entire season – will be looking to make an almighty statement.