Ballarat Football League finals race still wide open

NAMED: Prominent midfielder Matt Johnston returns for East
Point for Saturday's clash with Sebastopol
NAMED: Prominent midfielder Matt Johnston returns for East Point for Saturday's clash with Sebastopol

The Ballarat Football League is building to a grandstand finish to the home and away series.

With three rounds to play only East Point and reigning premier Darley are secure in the top six, while six teams separated by just one win harbour hopes of joining them in the finals.

Bacchus Marsh, North Ballarat City, Melton, Lake Wendouree, Sunbury and Sebastopol could finish in any order down to eighth given the big number of possible permutations.

Only a matter of weeks ago Bacchus Marsh was vying for top position.

Now third after three consecutive losses and with one of the toughest set of fixtures to come – Sunbury, Sebastopol, Melton – the Cobras are not yet safe in the top six

Anything but three wins could potentially put Bacchus Marsh in the hot seat.

The race to the finals is complicated by the number of games in which the six contenders meet each other.

The first two of the six in this category fall this weekend, with Sunbury facing Bacchus Marsh and Lake Wendouree playing North Ballarat City.

For Sunbury, which has played in every finals series since it joined the BFL in 1997, and Sebastopol, which meets top side East Point, this round is potentially D-Day.

While losses will not mean the end of finals hopes, the pressure will never be greater.

A minimum 44 premierships points  – 12 more than what was required to play finals last year – will almost certainly be needed to make the top six.

If Sunbury and Sebastopol do lower their colours, they will remain just one game outside the six, but needing to win their remaining two games.

THE RUN HOME

BACCHUS MARSH (3rd) 40 premiership points: Sunbury, Sebastopol, Melton

NORTH BALLARAT CITY (4th) 40 points: Lake Wendouree, Darley, bye

MELTON (5th) 40 points: Ballarat, Sunbury, Bacchus Marsh

LAKE WENDOUREE (6th) 40 points: North Ballarat City, Melton South, Sunbury

SUNBURY (7th) 36 points: Bacchus Marsh, Melton, Lake Wendouree

SEBASTOPOL (8th) 36 points: East Point, Bacchus Marsh, Melton South