Shock of the season

Where's the ball?  Romsey and Lancefield players battle for possession on Saturday.

Where's the ball? Romsey and Lancefield players battle for possession on Saturday.

Shockwaves reverberated around the Riddell League after down-the-ladder Melton Centrals caused the boil-over of the season on Saturday.

There were big ramifications for the footy 'final six' with just two rounds remaining before the finals.

Virtually everyone had penciled in Sunbury Kangaroos as certain finalists - before the season began, progressively, and in recent weeks.

The huge beneficiary of Centrals astonishing 44-point victory (11.16 to 4.14) on the Kangaroos' own ground is Riddell.

After eight wins in a row Riddell 'bombed out' as Rupertswood methodically inflicted a 10-goal drubbing in a game predicted to be close ... initially gloomy after-match Bomber supporters soon became elated when they learnt the Kangaroos had gone down.

In reality, all Riddell has to do now to make the finals is beat Melton Centrals (at Riddell) this Saturday and wooden-spooner Broadford in the final round, and they play in the finals.

Riddell will certainly not underestimate Centrals, but it's hard to see another monumental upset.

All season the top seven sides have had the measure of the bottom five (Centrals, Woodend-Hesket, Lancefield, Rockbank and Broadford - until the boil-over in cold, wintry conditions. The win by Centrals represented a 115-point turnaround from their meeting earlier in the season.

The Kangaroos, now seventh, should win their last two matches, with Romsey probably having to win one of the last two (either at Diggers Rest this Saturday or at home to Wallan in the final round on August 19) to be certain of a finals berth.

Rupertswood combined well and won every quarter against Riddell on Saturday, with forwards Todd Podolczyk and Sean Hetherington contributing four goals apiece in the 16.8 to 6.8 victory.

Maybe astute coach Kevin Fitzgerald has the Sharks peaking like a Barry Cummings-trained gallopers often did on Melbourne Cup Day?

Ladder-leader Macedon, still with stars sidelined, demolished Broadford by 173 points (28.19 to 2.4) and face reigning premier Diggers Rest in the last round before the finals.

Jason Cooke kicked seven goals for the Cats and has an iron grip on the league's goalkicking award with 63 majors to his credit.

Woodend-Hesket had high hopes of causing an upset against Wallan, but the visitors bounced back from their agonising defeat by Riddell with some fine team football.

They had a string of goalkickers in the 21.14 to 10.6 victory.

The Hawks are at home on the next two Saturdays, and their reserves and Under 19s will play in the finals.

At Lancefield

Earlier in the season, Lancefield gave Romsey a real run for their money, but the Tigers were never in the hunt on Saturday as rain arrived and some players were partially muddied for the first time this season. Both had 'regulars' absent.

Romsey simply had too much depth in talent and took advantage of turnovers to maintain a reasonably even scoring ratio across the four quarters.

Chris Burkett made light of the conditions and led the way with four goals in the 91-point victory. The Tigers tried hard, with Matt Bowden and Chris Jackson again among their best.

The Redbacks shocked Diggers Rest earlier in the season. Can they do the same on Saturday?

Lancefield await a Kangaroos' side stung by their shock loss.

In the other match Diggers Rest defeated Rockbank 13.16 to 2.6.

Reserves: Romsey 8.12 d Lancefield 4.3, Macedon 10.11 d Broadford 7.9, Wallan 12.13 d Woodend-Hesket 3.3, Rupertswood 17.19 d Riddell 3.0, Kangaroos 219 d Melton Centrals 2.5, Diggers Rest 17.15 d Rockbank 2.5.

Under 18.5: Wallan 10.6 d Woodend-Hesket 3.5, Macedon 11.7 d Romsey 7.8, Rupertswood 14.9 d Riddell 4.3, Diggers Rest 20.18 d Rockbank 1.1.

Riddell League's junior qualifying and elimination finals matches took place in cold and often wet conditions on Sunday.

The league's junior presentation night is to be held in Melton on Wednesday, August 16.

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