With the Western Region Football League division 1 finalists locked in at the weekend, Lance Jenkinson predicts which teams will advance to the finals with all-important double chances and which teams will be sudden death all way.

Deer Park

First, 48 points, 216 per cent

Story so far

 

Deer Park is still the team to beat. The five-time defending premier made a slow start to the season, dropping two of its opening three matches, but has since won 11 of its past 12, including a runaway 62-point victory over
St Albans on Saturday.

 

The run home: Caroline Springs (home), Werribee Districts (away), Wyndhamvale (home)

A tough away trip to Werribee Districts would be the only concern for Deer Park. Should it slip up, there’s no way the Lions will concede to Caroline Springs or Wyndhamvale at home soil, so a double chance is a sure thing.

 

Altona

Second, 48 points, 164.2 per cent

Story so far

 

The general consensus after 15 rounds is that Altona is, just, the second best team in the race. Its has an identical win-loss record to Deer Park at 12-3. A concern could be its fluctuating scores for, but its defence is arguably the best in the league. The Vikings beat Caroline Springs by 47 points on Saturday. It was the sixth time this season Altona had won a match while not putting triple figures on the scoreboard.

 

The run home: Werribee Districts (home), Wyndhamvale (away), Hoppers Crossing (home)

In a tricky run home, the Vikings have only one “gimme” game with two even money bets. The good news is the 50-50 games, against Werribee Districts and Hoppers Crossing, will be played at JK Grant Reserve, which increases their odds of victory. Expect the Vikings to hold on for a double chance.

Werribee Districts

Third, 48 points, 127.85 per cent

Story so far

 

Werribee Districts coach Chris Gilham has playfully bemoaned the fact his side had only lost two games for the season, yet was back in third place. In any other season, the Tigers could well be premiership favourites, but not in 2018. What has hurt the Tigers is their two draws. A bounce of the ball here or there and the Tigers could be on top. Instead, they will enter the run home in third and with a whole lot of work to do to claim a double chance.

 

The run home: Altona (away), Deer Park (home), Spotswood (away)

Ouch. This is the toughest run home of the five clubs fighting for a double chance. Earlier in the season, this three-week block of matches yielded just one win and two losses for the Tigers. Even with their great recent form, which sees them undefeated in six, it’s hard to see the Tigers scrapping enough wins out of this draw to secure a double chance. With their percentage the worst in the top five, they will probably need an extra win over two other sides in the five, so they face an uphill battle.

 

Hoppers Crossing

Fourth, 46 points, 130.7 per cent%

Story so far

 

Hoppers Crossing was a bit of an unknown quantity in the off season. The Warriors had lost a lot of experience due to injury and defections, so the jury was out as to whether they would keep pace with the leading teams. Coach Steve Kretiuk trusted the youngsters and never let the side bottom out. It was 3-3 after six rounds as the players found their feet. Since then, all Hoppers Crossing has done is win plenty of matches, eight out of their past nine to be exact, with a draw in the mix as well.

The run home: Wyndhamvale (away), Albion (home), Altona (away)

It’s good news if you are a Hoppers Crossing fan. You play the bottom two sides in the next two weeks and then have a pre-finals tune-up against Altona. With red hot form and a relatively easy draw, expect to see the Warriors pounce on a double chance at the expense of Werribee Districts.

 

Spotswood

Fifth, 40 points, 137.8 per cent

Story so far

 

Spotswood coach Anthony Eames has conceded that his young side may not yet be at the same level as Deer Park and, possibly, Altona. That’s not to say that Eames wouldn’t back his side on its day to beat them. But Spotswood has beaten Deer Park, thrashed Werribee Districts and got to within one point of Altona, so will present a serious threat no team will want to meet in September.

 

The run home: St Albans (home), Caroline Springs (away), Werribee Districts (home)

On form, you would tip Spotswood to win the first two games. If other results fall their way, the Woodsmen could find themselves playing for a double chance in a tantalising final round battle with Werribee Districts. We believe the horse may have already bolted, though, given how far back they are in the race for a double chance. They should put all their energy into preparing for an elimination final.