IS THIS the most even Ballarat Football League season for years?
If round three taught us anything, it is that the finals race is realistically open to almost every side in the league.
Unlike previous years where there has always been a distinct gap between the top sides and the battlers, it seems 2014 could be one of the most evenly contested seasons in recent memory.
Before Saturday, it would have been easy to write off East Point’s finals hopes. There were certainly many people in the BFL world guilty of doing just that.
However an upset victory, and a dominant victory at that, over the previously undefeated Sunbury side has all of a sudden thrust East back into the mix.
Then there is Melton South, which is far better than their 10th spot on the ladder suggests.
After all, the Panthers did come within a kick of knocking off Redan on the Lions’ home turf, coincidentally going down by the same margin (three points) as the corresponding match last year.
For all their efforts and promise however, Melton South is still, in reality, winless.
However their endeavour and the final result gave a genuine indication as to the evenness of the competition.
In the past there has been an undeniable gulf between the finals-bound sides and the remainder who tended to battle it out for wins against themselves, with little chance of upsets.
Yes, it is very much early days, but it is hard to see such a clear-cut difference emerging this season.
Let’s look back at the final ladder in seasons gone by.
2009: Three games difference between sixth and seventh.
2010: Three games difference between sixth and seventh.
2011: Four games difference between seventh and eighth.
2012: Three games difference between sixth and seventh.
2013: Five games difference between fifth and seventh.
Aside from the two outliers, the undefeated North Ballarat City and the struggling Sebastopol side, it can be argued that any of the remaining sides are on a near-level playing field.
Let’s just hope it remains that way for the season, in terms of the even sides anyway.