NEWPORT, WYNDHAMVALE BATTLE FOR FINALS SPOT
By PADDY GRINDLAY
It’s down to Newport and Wyndhamvale for the final spot in the top four, with the penultimate round of the WRFL Division 2 season proving formative to the finals mix.
For the second time this season, Newport proved that it isn’t simply a two-horse race between Point Cook Centrals and Parkside, fending off a final quarter comeback to defeat the Magpies in enemy territory, 15.5. (95) to 13.7. (85).
It has been a perfect month for Ziggy Kadour’s chargers, who have now secured four straight wins to remain a game clear in fourth. With Point Cook Centrals waiting next week, Round 17 was the most crucial of those wins, and Newport looked to have things sown up with a 35-point lead at three quarter time.
But Parkside roared back into the contest, with Shaun Campbell and five-goal forward Jackson Lesko rolling as the Magpies booted five goals to one.
Nayef Hamad and Omar Abou-Zeid steadied Newport, and the away side held firm to clinch a crucial 10-point victory that may have punched their ticket to the finals.
They’ll be death riding Wyndhamvale however, with the Falcons, now fifth, the only side able to take Newport’s place in fourth after cruising past Glen Orden at home.
Like Newport, the Falcons simply had to salute to stay in touch and rocketed from the half time huddle, punting eight goals to two after the long break.
Mathiang Kak and Cameron Morrison enjoyed three goals apiece while Kyle Bistisi dominated, and the Falcons saluted 13.15. (93) to 4.6. (30).
Glen Orden’s year is now over – and Albion’s is as well after a similarly disappointing second half fadeout.
Travelling to Shark Park was always going to be a tall order, but the Cats trailed only by nine points at quarter time under Friday night lights.
From there, it was 14 goals to two, as Lachlan Grant ran riot with seven goals, with Daniel Strnak playing second fiddle with five of his own.
Kurt Mayne impressed also for the Sharks, who have not left top spot all season.
West Footscray has just one more week to find their first win for 2022 after falling to their cross-town rivals at Shorten Reserve, the North Footscray Devils rampaging to a 19.18. (132) to 6.7. (43) victory.
Leading by 49-points at half-time, the Devils were never really troubled, with 10 different players kicking goals – Charles Bettiol the lion’s share of them with four, while Guillermo Ochoa was named best.
Kane Liossis continued his strong season for the Roosters with another best-on performance, while teammate Diesel Lim kicked two.
With just one round to go, all eyes are on Newport and Wyndhamvale. The former are fourth and a game clear, but have a percentage of only 108.08% – Wyndhamvale is a game down but boast a superior percentage, 112.90%.
Wyndhamvale are to play Albion at J.R. Parsons Reserve this Saturday, and with their superior percentage would skip past Newport – should they lose – into fourth if they win by any amount. Newport’s task is similar – they simply must win at Langshaw Reserve, but have the hardest task for any team this year: beating Point Cook Centrals.
Should Newport win, they will play finals. If Wyndhamvale win and Newport lose, it will be the Falcons who get through. If both lose, Newport will hold onto fourth spot.
Around the rest of the league, Parkside will visit North Footscray with both sides looking for a pre-finals boost, while Glen Orden host West Footscray.