Apologies first up for the morbid title of this week match preview title.
No Kiss of Death again this week. Just watching the visitor stats fall week by week makes me consider putting the Kiss of Death on as paid staff. Which would be a brilliant idea except for the fact that I have no money, and even if I did, I could not compete with the Kiss of Death's current employer.
20:30 Friday 7th September, Oakleigh Cannons vs Northcote City, Jack Edwards Reserve
I was going to be at this game, seeing as how South's finals chances depend on it heavily. Then Moreland City and Altona East's postponed game got rescheduled for Friday night, and I was off to see that. And the I became a code traitor, thanks to Travis Cloke pulling a finger out of his flat track bully arse and getting Collingwood over the line against Essendon and into the top four, ready for a Friday night spanking against Hawthorn and me $65 out of pocket watching it from the top deck of the Ponsford. Good thing no one reads thing to tell me off. If Northcote can get two wins, they're in. Four points from the last two rounds, and they start worrying about other results. Less than that, and their crappy goal difference will see them miss out, surely. Oakleigh are still gunning for the double chance, so they won't be looking to let up just yet. I don't like them, but the Cannons should do enough here to be able to take their foot off the pedal next week. Oakleigh 2 Northcote 0.
20:30 Friday 7th September, Richmond vs Melbourne Knights, Kevin Bartlett Reserve
The arrival of Alessandro Del Piero is a massive coup for the Sydney FC, the A-League and Australian soccer. Not that I really care about any of those three things, and even less so for risky gimmicks like this which could backfire spectacularly. No, what I found most telling was the rather predictable response from certain bitter individuals, who poo-poohed the idea from start to finish, worrying about the cost, his age, the airy-fairyness of it all. All while neglecting Australian soccer's history of guest stint gimmicks (and even though Del Piero will be at least playing a whole season), including the excitement generated a few years ago by the mere rumour that Greek international and 1998 European Golden Boot winner Nikos Machlas would be coming to South, even just for a little bit. Anyway, both Richmond and Croatia are still in with a remote chance of making finals, provided they win both their matches and everyone else falls over. Meaning that if one of these teams can win this match, results in other games this round could flatten their finals chances anyway. More likely scenario is that it'll be a draw, and both teams will quietly remove themselves from the equation. Richmond 1 Keniggets 1.
15:00 Saturday 8th September, Green Gully vs Dandenong Thunder, Green Gully Reserve
The FFV, in their collective wisdom, have decided to stage grand final day this year after a Melbourne Heart game. And not just any Melbourne Heart fixture - the Wellington Phoenix one. Shades of Melbourne Victory's Parade of Champions farce much? Got to give the FFV and Melbourne Heart credit for trying though. The FFV probably thinks this is the only way to a) get a half decent crowd to watch the game and b) increase the possibility of Michael Lynch and/or David Davutovic being at the spectacle, maybe writing something, getting it published... though I'm not convinced by the strategy - a similar initiative didn't do too well in Launceston last year - I'm willing to be proven wrong. It doesn't really phase me too much. The whole thing is just about dead anyway, and I get in for free regardless because of my media pass, which I'm actually beginning to wonder 'how the hell do I actually have one of these?'. Do my match reports stack up? Nah. Do my match previews, when I fill in for the Kiss of Death, provide any sort of meaningful insight? Is just commenting on the social ephemera surrounding the game make up for every other thing the blog is deficient in? I'm not convinced it is so. Thunder won the Dockerty Cup last week. Despite dominating, I also felt they were a bit lucky - Port Melbourne really should have pinched it at the end. They've wrapped up the minor premiership, so now the only thing left for them is to decide whether to put the cue in the rack for a couple of weeks. I don't think their form going into the finals should suffer too much if they do take that course. Gully needs just a point to secure a finals spot, but a bit more to get the double chance. Tough call. Gully 1 Thunder 0.
15:00 Saturday 8th September, Southern Stars vs Hume City, Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Do yourselves a favour, and go and see the Napoleon exhibition currently at the NGV. I used a joint Game Masters/Napoleon ticket, and I wish I had only needed the latter. An incredible human being made for an incredible moment of history, yet the exhibit never neglects his immense hubris. Apart from the overarching story itself, go for the connections of late 18th and early 19th century France to Australia; go for the hat; and go for the metric clock and calendar. As to this fixture, fascinating little game here. Stars nothing to play for. Hume still gunning for finals. Expectation that little Turkish brother will roll over for big Turkish brother. But people are saying it won't happen. By the end of this game South fans, and everyone else, will have a much clearer idea what it will take to make the finals. I think Hume will win this game legit though, being the better team and all. Stars 0 Hume 2.
15:00 Sunday 9th September, Moreland Zebras vs Heidelberg United, Epping Stadium
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Zebras 2 Bergers 1.
17:00 Sunday 9th September, South Melbourne vs Bentleigh Greens
Special treat for everyone next week. This writer's near silence on the FFA and FFV's National Competitions Review will be one step closer to being broken, after I head to the FFV's presentation of the initiative to the Central Zone peoples next week (with Gains!). Last home game for the season. The equation for us is pretty simple. Win this week. Win next week. Hope other results go our way. Make finals. Keep winning. Bentleigh are no pushover though. They aren't spectacular, but they're above competent, and they only need a point to secure a finals place. I see a draw here, 1-1, but goodness I hope I'm wrong and we win and then smash the Bergers next week and go on to win the blessed thing.