MONDAY will be the Jason “Aker” Akermanis show when one of football’s most colourful and controversial personalities dons the Tiger jumper against bitter rival Traralgon in Gippsland League footy.
Akermanis is a three-time premiership player with the Brisbane Lions, and more recently last season with Western Bulldogs before an unceremonious departure.
The three Latrobe Valley clubs, Morwell, Moe and Traralgon eagerly wait to play each other every season and their ladder positions rarely have a bearing on the result.
Because this match is on a Monday, each team will be allowed four players on the interchange instead of the usual three, meaning Morwell will not have to sacrifice a player for Akermanis to come into the side.
Morwell coach Damien Kerr said his players were “not too fussed” about Akermanis taking to the field, as they had been focusing on the game.
After their lackluster effort against Moe, the Tigers have turned their season around with good wins against Sale and the Wonthaggi Power.
Luke Norder is a chance for senior selection, as is Pat McNulty and key defender Jason Stevens.
Traralgon could have Michael Burge, Matt Llewellin, Jarryd Zuehlke and Sam Dunbar back.
Ken McQualter, after being named to play in the senior side the past two matches, is continuing to play reserves and doing well.
It will be interesting to see if Traralgon tag Akermanis or just treat him as another opposition player.
Those in the running to get the job include Nathan Frietag and Matt Jones.
If Dunbar is picked he will add strength to the forward line and take some of the focus off Dan McKenna.
This will be an entertaining match in front of a big crowd, that will witness a match where every player will be having a red hot go.
Leongatha v Moe
Moe is quietly confident of toppling Leongatha, the co-favourites with Sale for this year’s flag.
Jason Macfarlane said he saw Warragul play Leongatha a couple of weeks ago, and thought Warragul hurt them on their turnovers but the teams had similar skill levels.
According to Macfarlane, once Warragul got past Leongatha’s midfield it scored 70 per cent of the time.
Leongatha is a good running side, but the weather is likely to see a heavy ground bringing them back to the pack this week.
If the Lions are to beat the Parrots, they need to stop Jake Best and Dwayne Holt who have kicked 68 goals in seven matches.
Bairnsdale v Drouin
Drouin makes the long journey to Bairnsdale, and with the return of players like Cam de Gooyer, Dean Woodhead and David Olsen the Hawks look good for the win.
Maffra v Wonthaggi
After going down to Sale last Sunday, Maffra should find Wonthaggi easier opposition.
The Eagles were made to look second rate against Sale, and will be anxious to get back on the winning list.
Maffra missed Daniel Stubbe last week and he is the key to their success.
Last week key player Andrew Seccull left the club, and it remains to be seen how his departure will affect the team.
The Power will concentrate on youth for the rest of the season, and last week played a third generation player in Joel Liddle.
Another under 18 player is Pat Ryan, and in the coming weeks another two promising youngsters will be given a go.
There is a doubt about coach Leigh McDonald who was concussed again against Morwell.
Warragul v Sale
Sale bounced back last week giving Maffra a football lesson it will not forget, and may be too classy for Warragul.
With Shane Fyfe and Dylan McLaren back in the side, the Magpies are looking good again.
The Gulls folded when Moe applied the pressure in the last quarter and seemed rattled.
Matt Gray was missing with an injured toe and should return to provide the leadership which was missing last week.