While the AFL finals series gets underway this weekend, all eyes will be diverted elsewhere, specifically at the Koonung Reserve in Blackburn North.
It is there that arguably the most anticipated contest of the year will take place between the Ardmona Cats and the Nunawading Lions.
In what is dubbed the Battle of the Battlers, Ardmona finished their 2018 season in the Kyabram and Districts League in 14th place on the table, having been foiled from winning any games for the third straight year.
Meanwhile, in Melbourne’s Eastern Football League, the Nunawading Lions were also kept winless for their third straight year.
Who won most recently?
It was on July 18, 2015 that Ardmona 9.12.66 defeated Rushworth 6.12.48 making them the most recent victor between the two. Nunawading’s most recent victory came a month earlier.
Ardmona have played every game in 2018 in the senior competition, something they were unable to do last year. In 2017 they were also without a reserve grade side, so after just 2 senior games, the league decided to move their senior team to play in reserve grade.
While Nunawading finished at the wrong end of the table again in 2018, their performances were greatly improved on their 2017 record, scoring nearly twice as many points and conceding over 300 less points in 2018.
Nunawading scored just 59 goals in their 18 matches in 2017, but in 2018 ramped that up impressively to 104 across the same number of games, even bagging a tidy 11 goals against Coldstream in their best game of the year, going down by just 2 majors.
11 goals also happens to be the total number that Ardmona have kicked in their 2018 season, which also consists of 18 games. The Cats scored 11 majors and 32 behinds to end the season with 98 points.
The Lions defence conceded 3195 points in 2017, an average of 177.5 per game. They have made noticeable improvement in 2018, conceding 421 goals in 2018, 49 less than in 2017. They’ve let in 2872 points at an average of 159.56. While it is still high, the average is heading in the right direction.
Ardmona’s defence has been somewhat less impressive. BY the time they had conceded 421 goals, they had played 11 of their 18 games. The final 6 matches saw them concede 286 goals (47.6 per game). By seasons end their opponents had scored 753 goals, 465 minors for 4983 points.