The players who’ll decide the Division 1 flag

Cheltenham and Cranbourne are set for a cracking Southern league Division 1 grand final. We list the key players and surprise packets for both sides.

Cheltenham takes a 17-game winning streak into Saturday’s Southern league Division 1 grand final against Cranbourne at Linton St.

Des Ryan’s Rosellas are in great shape to win their first division one premiership since 1934.

Cranbourne is also chasing history; a flag in its first season in the SFNL.

The Eagles, under master coach Steve O’Brien, boast a lot of experience in finals and they know how to win premierships; their most recent trophy was in 2016.

Key players 

Cheltenham’s Austin Johnson.
Cheltenham’s Austin Johnson.

Austin Johnson, Cheltenham

He’s only young…but he’s a star, and if he could have a stand-out game he could go on the radar of AFL clubs — just as James Gwilt did in 2004 when he starred for Noble Park in a grand final and was drafted by St Kilda. Johnson is a hard-running midfielder who kicks goals (he’s got 32 in 12 games this season).

Josh Fox, Cheltenham

Hasn’t played since July 9, but there is talk around that he might be playing in Saturday’s big game. He’s the best forward in the comp and has kicked 49 goals in 12 games this season, including bags of 9 and 7. 

Will McTaggart, Cheltenham

Big, strong forward who positions his body well. He’s hard to stop and takes a good contested mark. Only played six games this season because he lives in Canberra. But with him and Fox alongside each other, Chelt’s forward line looks strong.

Will McTaggart for Cheltenham.
Will McTaggart for Cheltenham.

Dylan Weickhardt, Cheltenham

The former Sandringham midfielder runs hard, has good skills and accumulates possessions. He also knows how to nail a goal; he’s kicked 24 this season.

Sam Hayes, Cheltenham

The defender is one of the best intercept marks in the competition, if not the best. He’s a readymade VFL player…a really good talent.

Marc Holt, Cranbourne 

Champion goal kicker and a big-game performer. Has 76 goals this season and he’s had a very good finals series with returns of 5, 6 and 2.

Jake Carosella.
Jake Carosella.

Jake Carosella, Cranbourne 

He’s Cranbourne’s best midfielder. Was put on Casey Demons’ list mid-season and, although he didn’t get a game, it shows the season he’s having. A good clearance player who accumulates possessions and hits the scoreboard.

Kirk Dickson, Cranbourne 

Highly rated centre half forward who gets up the ground and then works hard back towards goal. A really good player. He’s that connection between back and forward but also kicks goals himself.

Marc Holt with the ball for Cranbourne. Picture: Valeriu Campan
Marc Holt with the ball for Cranbourne. Picture: Valeriu Campan

Tyson Barry, Cranbourne

The teenager has a bit of Jack Ginnivan about him with his hair and uncanny ability to kick goals as a small forward. He’s slotted 37 this season. He’s got tricks and if he plays well he could set the Eagles alight. 

Brandon Osborne, Cranbourne

The Eagles captain is also their general in defence who plays on key forwards. He’s rarely beaten.

Bailey Buntine, Cranbourne

Has had a terrific intercept marking season and been an integral part of the Eagles’ success.

Key battle

The ruck duel between Daniel Rendell (Cheltenham) and Michael Boland (Cranbourne) will be crucial and intriguing. They are completely different ruckmen. Rendell is not that big but he’s hard, tough, aggressive and strong, whereas Boland is a lanky, athletic ruckman. 

Ryan Jones.
Ryan Jones.

Surprise packets

Daniel Harrison, Cheltenham

Similar to Hayes, he’s a great intercept mark and has enjoyed a consistent season.

Ryan Jones, Cranbourne

After playing five games in the reserves, he’s been a great inclusion in the senior side, kicking crucial goals. He’s one of those players who, when on, is hard to stop.