SUNBURY could wreak havoc on the Ballarat Football League finals series.
BFL Round 18 Sunbury v Lake Wendouree at Sunbury. Sunbury’s Adam Short ( far left ), Jake Steeper and Lake Wendouree’s Tanner Robertson.Picture Shawn Smits
Make no bones about it, the Lions have earned the right to be a genuinely feared unit in an elimination final next week against Ballarat.
Sixth position on the ladder is not normally filled by a team that goes into the first week of finals with every chance of winning.
It is almost a given each year that whoever finishes sixth is almost there to make up the numbers and will get rolled by the third-placed side.
Not since 2008 has a team that finished third on the ladder been given an early exit from finals – ironically it was Sunbury that was shown the door by Lake Wendouree six years ago.
That streak threatens to come to an end next week.
Do not write Ballarat off, they are a top-end side that will still probably enter Sunday’s elimination final as favourites.
But Sunbury has reason to believe and is riding a wave of momentum – not to mention two VFL players (Jack Sheahan and Daniel Toman) and a TAC Cup gun (Mitch Conn) who will most likely come intothe side.
Coincidentally, it was Sunbury and Ballarat that met in this exact fixture last year, only that time the roles were reversed.
Sunbury had finished third and was en-route to a grand final, while Ballarat had been an honest side all year but would have shocked the BFL world if it had beaten the Lions in the finals.
Not many would be shocked to see Sunbury win next week, however.
In the only meeting between the two side’s this year, it was Ballarat that won by just eight points.
The 2014 BFL season has already had enough twists and turns to upset an iron stomach – who would have thought the side in eighth position (Sunbury) would annihilate the finals-bound Lake Wendouree by 16 goals to scrape into finals by percentage?
Who would think East Point could cause an upset victory in the final round over Darley, only to be leapfrogged by Sunbury and still miss out on finals by percentage, despite recording their best win of the season?
That opens up another can of worms in itself.
One has to feel for East Point.
Despite only actually sitting within the top six for one week this season, the Kangaroos pulled off a stunning five-point win away from home against Darley on Saturday.
Without knowing the Sunbury scores, that would have seemed enough to keep their season alive.
They entered the final round four percentage points clear of Sunbury and would certainly not have banked on the Lakers rolling over and barely giving a yelp against the Lions.
But that’s football and East Point should be commended for achieving more than many predicted at the start of the season.
Buckle up for one hell of a BFL finals series.
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