By Tyler Lewis
Across the two divisions – both Premier and Division 1 – the contenders have emerged.
In Premier Division, it was the three clubs that were earmarked as front runners before the season: Beaconsfield, Cranbourne and reigning premiers Narre Warren.
And in Division 1, the top five is a little tighter, while Monbulk still remains undefeated.
Beaconsfield faced its two largest tests in its first two rounds of the year.
The Eagles hosted Narre Warren on Anzac Eve to open its season, it was wet, feisty and the only possible resemblance of a final in April.
In the second round, the Eagles held off a fast-finishing Marc Holt to keep its fellow Eagles at bay by less than a kick.
With the state of play in the Premier Division, Beaconsfield claiming both those wins has gone a long way towards the Eagles going undefeated until it plays either one of those two sides again.
The unbeaten Eagles outfit has been led so far this season by the electric Jafar Occa, now forward Jake Bowd, and the ever impressive Nick Battle.
Battle – who was set to play for Narre Warren leading into the 2020 season – has polled 31 coaches votes, polling in each of his outings.
If he is being recognised this regularly by the coaches, he would simply have to be ahead in the league best and fairest award.
Narre Warren and Cranbourne, meanwhile, are quietly going about their business.
Before the Covid lockdown, the Eagles were starting to find form, rattling home an impressive score each week, of course, led by Holt, who has 26 majors.
Narre Warren has been very quiet about their business in recent weeks.
The Pies handled Woori Yallock – boosted by the addition of ex-West Coast Eagle Kurt Mutimer – and have played just two games in four weeks.
Trent Cody wouldn’t be far behind Nick Battle in the league best and fairest race, as he is in the Pakenham Gazette’s coaches award.
A surprise to some, but none within the walls of Toomuc Reserve, Pakenham have been chalking the wins as they mount injuries along the way.
The Lions were tougher on the day when they hosted Narre Warren, but couldn’t collect the points.
And in recent weeks have collected the points over Wandin and Doveton.
While Ash Green’s men sit inside the five, it seems they will have to test their depth, losing a number of injuries in recent weeks, none more impactful than Dermott Yawney – who is also being recognised by coaches – with a broken arm.
In a demonstration of Yawney’s impact on the game – he was rewarded with two coaches votes from Doveton coach Daniel Charles, despite being escorted out of the venue in an ambulance mid-way through the second term.
While it would like to claim a scalp, if Pakenham can continue to beat the teams below it, the segregation of the Premier Division will eventuate in the Lions playing finals football.
In Division 1, there is a similar segregation between the best and the worst.
Monbulk, Emerald, Seville, Officer, Mt Evelyn and Gembrook-Cockatoo loom as the sides in the mix.
Monbulk, led by Taylor Joyce, has yet to leave a game without the four points.
Most recently defeating fellow undefeated side Mt Evelyn.
Division 1 seems to be a competition that would be valued by an old fashion football fan.
The monster forwards are the players to always watch.
Michael Gibbons (Mt Evelyn), Taylor Joyce (Monbulk), Leigh Williams (Seville), Nathan O’Keefe (Seville), Michael Firrito (Gembrook-Cockatoo) and Jesse Longmuir (Officer) are all worth the $10 paid at the gate.
The Hawks have passed each and every test it has faced this year, defeating several of the top-five teams that are set for finals football.
Officer has been the closest club to knock off the Hawks in round one, but unlike Monbulk, the Roos are yet to claim a scalp.
The Roos have demonstrated they can kick a big score, with huge wins in recent weeks, but is desperate to claim a scalp and really assert itself upon the competition.
Perhaps when football returns, the Roos will be freshened and ready to kick start its campaign to the top flight.