1st – Barwon Heads (12-1)
BARWON Heads enters the final month of the season as clear favourites to snap a 25-year premiership drought. However, the Seagulls will have to negotiate a tricky four rounds to lock away top spot. They will face the other four teams that currently reside inside the top five, including Anglesea, which handed Barwon Heads its only loss back in Round 7. With its percentage almost 100 per cent greater than second-placed Ammos, the Seagulls only need two wins to cement a second semi-final berth. Forward Mitch Phelps has arguably been the competition’s recruit of the year in kicking 46 goals to lead the BFL goal kicking.
Games remaining: Ocean Grove (a), Geelong Amateur (h), Anglesea (h), Modewarre (a), Newcomb (a)
Predicted finish: 1st
2nd – Geelong Amateur (9-4)
AT its best, Geelong Amateur is a legitimate premiership contender. At its worst, it loses to Portarlington. So which Ammos will we see in the run to the finals? The return of Mitch Day from a broken foot in the past fortnight has been vital, as highlighted by his nine-goal haul against Torquay on Sunday. Captain Daniel Lovick, who underwent surgery on his own broken foot suffered in the loss to the Demons, could be back as soon as the return meeting in Round 17. Amateur meets Drysdale after the bye before a mouth-watering match-up with Barwon Heads in Round 15.
Games remaining: Drysdale (a), Barwon Heads (a), Queenscliff (h), Portarlington (h), Modewarre (a)
Predicted finish: 2nd
3rd – Anglesea (9-4)
THE big improver of 2018 still has some work to do to ensure a spot in the qualifying final. Anglesea’s loss to Modewarre on Sunday has opened the door for Ocean Grove to snatch the double-chance from the Roos. Paul Carson’s men will start favourites in four of their remaining five matches, including against Torquay straight after the bye. However, the Tigers had the better of Anglesea earlier in the season and are playing for their finals lives for the rest of the season. Beating Barwon Heads at Howard Harmer Oval will be tough, while Queenscliff at Queenscliff is no certainty either.
Games remaining: Torquay (h), Newcomb (h), Barwon Heads (a), Queenscliff (a), Drysdale (h)
Predicted finish: 3rd
4th – Ocean Grove (8-5)
A MASSIVE three weeks confronts Ocean Grove following the bye, starting with the return Battle of the Bridge meeting against ladder-leader Barwon Heads. The Grubbers then face finals hopefuls Torquay and Modewarre, bogey side Drysdale, and Queenscliff to round out the home-and-away season. Two wins should be enough to book an elimination final berth. Coach Paul Lynch will be hoping a top-five finish is sewn up before going to Queenscliff in the final round, with the Coutas potentially also playing for their season to continue beyond Round 18.
Games remaining: Barwon Heads (h), Torquay (a), Modewarre (h), Drysdale (a), Queenscliff (a)
Predicted finish: 4th
5th – Modewarre (7-6)
MODEWARRE will return from the bye looking to further build its percentage against Newcomb ahead of a challenging last month, which includes Queenscliff, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads and Geelong Amateur. The Warriors have put some early season inaccuracy behind it – they had more scoring shots in losses to Queenscliff and Torquay and the same number in the defeat by Geelong Amateur – to sit in fifth spot. A loss to either the Coutas or Ocean Grove could spell disaster for Modewarre, with the Seagulls and Ammos to round out the home-and-away season. Veteran forward Luke Forbes will play again after the break.
Games remaining: Newcomb (a), Queenscliff (h), Ocean Grove (a), Barwon Heads (h), Geelong Amateur (h)
Predicted finish: 5th
6th – Queenscliff (7-6)
QUEENSCLIFF may have to wait until 2019 for a return to finals, unless it can win at least three of its remaining five games, including the Round 15 clash against Modewarre. The Coutas should beat Portarlington, but with the Warriors, Geelong Amateur, Anglesea and Ocean Grove to follow, that may be their last win of the season. However, if it can beat Modewarre and other results go their way, the final round meeting with the Grubbers could be a virtual elimination final. In a positive for Queenscliff, key forward Daniel DeGois is starting to find touch after returning from a knee injury, while captain Jake Hedley is closing in on a return.
Games remaining: Portarlington (h), Modewarre (a), Geelong Amateur (a), Anglesea (h), Ocean Grove (h)
Predicted finish: 7th
7th – Torquay (6-7)
CAN Torquay avoid becoming the first reigning premier since 2011 to miss the finals? Everything points to the Tigers winning their last three of the season, against Drysdale, Newcomb and Portarlington. The question is whether they can knock over either Anglesea or Ocean Grove in the fortnight after the bye, with 10 wins likely to be the number needed to snatch fifth spot. Torquay will take confidence from beating the Roos by nine points in Round 4. Injuries and unavailability haven’t helped the Tigers cause in 2018, especially the fractured cheekbone which may end the season of star forward Billy Henderson.
Games remaining: Anglesea (a), Ocean Grove (h), Drysdale (a), Newcomb (h), Portarlington (a)
Predicted finish: 6th
8th – Drysdale (3-10)
WITH its hopes of playing finals now dashed, Drysdale will look to end the season – and coach Wade Chapman’s tenure – by putting a dent in a couple of clubs’ finals aspirations. The Hawks will be confident of reversing the Anzac Day loss to Portarlington and will again look to knock over Ocean Grove. Expect Drysdale to throw everything at Anglesea in the final round as it attempts to see Chapman out a winner.
Games remaining: Geelong Amateur (h), Portarlington (a), Torquay (h), Ocean Grove (h), Anglesea (a)
Predicted finish: 8th
9th – Newcomb (2-11)
LIKE Drysdale, Newcomb will be keen to cause an upset or two over the final month. The Power has been extremely competitive for much of the season, with coach Rory Nicol assembling a solid list. They will start favourite against Portarlington in Round 16, but that looks like their only realistic chance of victory.
Games remaining: Modewarre (h), Anglesea (a), Portarlington (h), Torquay (a), Barwon Heads (h)
Predicted finish: 9th
10th – Portarlington (2-11)
PORTARLINGTON will be eyeing off the next three weeks to add to its two wins for the season. The Demons pushed Queenscliff to 15 points earlier in the season and defeated Drysdale on Anzac Day. They were well beaten by Newcomb but will give themselves every chance of beating the Power in Round 16. Coach Jesse Smith has re-signed for a further two years, as has the majority of the list in a sign of faith in the direction Portarlington is taking.
Games remaining: Queenscliff (a), Drysdale (h), Newcomb (a), Geelong Amateur (a), Torquay (h)
Predicted finish: 10th