JUST when the top six seems settled in the Ballarat Football League, there is another twist in the road.
With just four rounds left in the season, it is time to cast an eye over the five sides that are battling it out for just two spots in the finals.
It is now fair to say Darley has all but secured its finals berth with its seventh win on the trot, while North Ballarat City, Redan and Ballarat have been virtual locks all season.
The top four positions are sorted and just the order of them remains, leaving just two spots in the finals, with five sides remaining realistic changes.
Therefore, it’s time for this reporter to put his neck on the line and boldly (and possibly foolishly) declare who is going to make the finals.
Let’s look at the aspirants, we have Lake Wendouree, Bacchus Marsh, Sunbury, East Point and Melton, currently sitting in that order on the ladder.
Lake Wendouree: The Lakers will make finals.
It’s currently a game clear of those in chase, Lake Wendouree has the luxury of not having to rely on the results of other matches; its destiny is in its own hands.
They will struggle to beat Ballarat next week and could drop out of the six, but with Melton South, East Point and Sunbury remaining, the Lakers only need two wins to secure a finals berth.
Bacchus Marsh: Only three games remain for the Cobras, with the bye waiting next week.
They’ll most likely know their fate in two weeks, with a match against East Point to most likely determine how the Cobras fare.
Finals would be a monum-
ental effort, but the vision at Maddingley Park is more long term and the Cobras will fall just short, most likely by percentage.
Sunbury: Down, but not out. Saturday’s loss to East Point was a devastating result for a side that has never missed finals in 18 years in the league.
Coach Rick Horwood has said all year his side needs to win nine games to qualify, but the way the ladder is shaping, eight wins and a healthy percentage will probably do the job.
If the gods smile, the Lions might be able to save themselves in round 18 against Lake Wendouree and they will do just that – Sunbury to claim sixth spot.
East Point: Percentage is a killer for the Roos. They surprised many by keeping their season alive against Sunbury on Saturday, meaning they are now out of the top six on percentage alone.
They do not have the guaranteed four premiership points that spawns from the bye, with three of the remaining four games coming up against sides competing for the same spot.
Their best footy deserves a spot, but early inconsistency will come back to bite East Point.
Melton: The Bloods are simply too far back. They will certainly give a few finals sides a scare, but look set to fall agonisingly short.
They cannot afford another loss and with East Point, Sebastopol, Bacchus Marsh and Redan waiting, it is hard to see Melton winning all of those matches to snare a spot.
Amazingly, there will most likely be four sides on 32 premiership points if all results follow the script next week.
But presuming the script will be followed has been an ill-fated decision this year.
What a month of footy it will be.