SWFL round 15 preview: One month left to earn a finals place

Bunbury will host Donnybrook on Sunday in a battle of two of the league's strongest midfields. Photo: Emily Sharp.
Bunbury will host Donnybrook on Sunday in a battle of two of the league's strongest midfields. Photo: Emily Sharp.

With four rounds to go, the battle for finals spots is beginning to heat up.

Round 15 will see some games that will go a long way to determining who will and won’t be playing in September.

Busselton and Harvey Brunswick Leschenault face off in a game between two teams just outside the five, while Augusta Margaret River will be hoping to hold onto its spot in the top five when it hosts Eaton.

And in what looks set to be the game of the round, Bunbury and Donnybrook will meet in game that could shake up positions at the top the ladder.

Check out our preview of the round’s games and let us know who you think will win.

Collie Eagles vs Carey Park

Both Collie and Carey Park will be looking to change their fortunes when they meet at the Collie Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Both teams have won just two of their eight games since they last met in May and while technically neither team is mathematically out of finals contention, they both look increasingly likely to miss.

Collie’s main issue at the moment – aside from injuries – is scoring. The Eagles have kicked just 10 goals over the last three weeks and haven’t looked particularly dangerous going forward in the losses to Busselton and South Bunbury.

On top of that, inaccuracy has become a problem, with the Eagles kicking 27 behinds across those same three games.

For the Panthers, scoring is also an issue – they haven’t kicked 60 points in each of the last three games – but so is defence.

Carey Park has conceded the second most points of any team over the season and hasn’t been able to keep a team to less than 10 goals since that game against Collie in round six.

The game will probably come down to which of the Panthers’ defenders and the Eagles’ forwards take control on the day.

Prediction: Carey Park by 10 points.

Busselton is on a roll and will be looking to continue with a win in the important game against Harvey Brunswick Leschenault. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre.

Busselton is on a roll and will be looking to continue with a win in the important game against Harvey Brunswick Leschenault. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre.

Harvey Brunswick Leschenault vs Busselton

Harvey Brunswick Leschenault has had an up-and-down season and probably needs a win against Busselton to keep its hopes of finals alive.

The Lions are another team that have had troubles with scoring. Harvey Brunswick Leschenault has recorded just five scores of 60 or more across the season – the lowest in the league – and just one in the last six rounds.

The Lions’ inability to kick a winning score will be an issue when they come up against the ever-improving Busselton.

The Magpies have clicked into gear since Jed Kemp and Aidan Fraser returned from injury five rounds ago. In that time, they’ve raised their average score to 76 points a game and have lost just once – to the form team of the competition, Eaton.

Busselton has been on a roll as of late and with finals firmly in its sights – it sits outside the top five on percentage alone – the game will have added importance.

Prediction: Busselton by 31 points.

South Bunbury vs Harvey Bulls

Despite missing a number of key players last week, South Bunbury showed its depth and absolutely dominated the Collie Eagles through the midfield.

The Tigers slick ball movement and clearance domination will give them confidence ahead of their game against Harvey.

The Tigers are not a particularly high-scoring team in general, but if they are able to keep putting the ball into their forward line like last week, they’ll like their chances of kicking a winning score.

Harvey plays a bit of an all-or-nothing style. The Bulls have become known for kicking big scores, but also conceding big ones too.

The Bulls have restricted just one team to less than 60 points this season – Harvey Brunswick Leschenault, who they kept to scores of 40 and 37 in their two games.

What has been disappointing for Harvey of late is an inability to find goalkickers. The Bulls have had just four players kick a goal across their last three games and will need more this week if they’re to have a chance.

Prediction: South Bunbury by 40 points.

Augusta Margaret River will be hoping to solidify its position in the top five with a win over the in-form Eaton Boomers on Saturday. Photo: Emily Sharp.

Augusta Margaret River will be hoping to solidify its position in the top five with a win over the in-form Eaton Boomers on Saturday. Photo: Emily Sharp.

Augusta Margaret River vs Eaton Boomers

Augusta Margaret River’s season hangs in the balance and it will face arguably the toughest test at the moment – the flying Eaton Boomers.

The Hawks are locked in a four-way battle for the final spot in the top five and a win against the Boomers would go a long way in securing their place come September.

The Hawks come into the game in good form. Despite having a two game winning streaked snapped by Bunbury last week, Augusta Margaret River still managed its highest score for the season and saw the return of important forward Matt Jukes from injury.

The problem for the Hawks this season has been their tendency to allow their opponent’s main forward to kick a bag. Nine times this season a player has kicked at least four goals in a game against the Hawks.

And that trend has a good chance of continuing, with Brandon Jetta in fine form for the Boomers. Jetta has kicked at least four goals six times this season, including each of the last two weeks.

The Boomers are riding a six game winning streak – with four of those coming by more than four goals – and look like the form team heading into the final rounds of the season.

Prediction: Eaton Boomers by 28 points.

Bunbury vs Donnybrook

The round’s final game is shaping up to be its best as third-placed Bunbury hosts ladder-leader Donnybrook.

After a run of poor form, Bunbury has hit its strides and comes into the game with a three game win streak.

One of the keys behind the Bulldogs’ resurgence has been the forward line mix. They relied too heavily on Brett Peake in the early part of the season, but with Matt Martin firing – 14 goals in the last three weeks – the Bulldogs look a lot more dangerous around goals.

Whether Bunbury will be able to put 10 goals past Donnybrook will be the benchmark. The Bulldogs have lost just one of the eight games where they’ve kicked 10 goals, whereas Donnybrook has conceded 10 goals just twice and lost both times.

The Dons will welcome back Jace Cormack from state team duties,while star midfielder Chris Atthowe has been in great form over the last few weeks.

It’s likely the game will be won in the middle, with two of the league’s best and most damaging midfields battling it out.

Prediction: Donnybrook by five points.

Catch up on round 14 of the 2018 South West Football League Season: