Last time they met
Round 12, 2007 at Lakeside Stadium
South Melbourne 3 Preston Lions 3
Through two defensive blunders a and stunning strike from Marino Gasparis Preston found themselves 3-1 up with less than 20 minutes to play. But a fierce fightback from the hosts with two goals from Billy Natsioulas almost saw them snatch the game at the death, the late heroics of Preston keeper Lou Acevksi denying South a memorable victory.
Another in the endless procession of 'derby' games the VPL throws up. Preston's form so far this season has seen them take a fairly linear and yet nevertheless bizarre arc. They were belted by early pacesetters Richmond, drew with the struggling Zebras, squeezed past the Pines, clawed back a 0-2 deficit to draw against the more than competent Heidelberg and last round thumped big spending Coburg 4-1. So which one is the real Preston? I can't answer that, and I don't think this game will either. Preston isn't quite the side that took the title last year, but at the very least they're heading in an upwards direction. The forecast of showers for Sunday will also mean that players from both sides won't be able to play their natural games. Or more likely, it'll make the game way better, with balls and tackles flying every which way. They really should bring back the shoulder charge, would suit a game like this.
As for South, well, the real South is probably easier to pin down. Haphazard long ball attacks which will not be finished off by the strikers. A loss here, and really, it should be all over for Johnny A'. I mean, how much more would it take? South may get O'Dor back from suspension, which will help the defense somewhat, but it's the lack of fight that's troubling fans at the moment. Then again, it'll allegedly be captain Dean Anastasiadis' 150th league match for Hellas, and that might fire them up up a bit. I can't rally pick the result of this one. Stupid derby, rain, two average teams, you name it, of anything has 5-5 written all over it.
Oh, and in further evidence of this blog's impact on the real world, the official South site has partly adopted South of the Border's use of the 'last time they met' device, which admittedly I borrowed off The Age's aussie rules previews.