Reigning premier Traralgon is under pressure to perform this Saturday in Gipplsand League football when it travels to Leongatha.
The Maroons are sitting in fourth spot but have not beaten any of the top five teams this season, a statistic that has not escaped the eyes of Traralgon’s brains trust.
Two of those losses were by 17 and seven points against Morwell (fifth) and Maffra (third) respectively.
The other three losses have been by 57, 63 and 58 points against Leongatha, Bairnsdale and Sale.
The Parrots were in shock about the condition of Beau Vernon who was airlifted to Melbourne during the Wonthaggi Power match at the weekend.
The good news for Leongatha is Will Thursfield, David Gourdis, Matthew Otto and Colin Sanbrook will return to the side.
Traralgon’s Jamie Aitken and Nathan Frietag will probably get the job of curbing dangerous Leongatha goalkickers Jake Best and Dwayne Holt, who kicked five goals between them against Wonthaggi.
Traralgon’s Tom McQualter has returned to his best form after a long lay-off through injury and with Josh Jennings and Jackson Hall to help in the midfield, will test Sanbrook and the Stone brothers, Cameron and Julian.
Leongatha will have to find someone to match Dan McKenna in the air and this will be a challenge for the Parrots.
In the past 58 meetings at Leongatha the home side holds a one game overall advantage but Traralgon has won the past three at that venue.
While Leongatha is unbeaten at home this year, Traralgon can be expected to make it four in a row.
Warragul v Morwell
Morwell faces a danger game when it travels to take on Warragul.
The Tigers will hope to make it 10 straight wins against the Gulls.
Morwell has defeated four of the top sides but cannot win against sides lower down the ladder.
If the Tigers consider themselves a finals proposition, they need to change that starting this week.
Tom Crosby is rucking well for the Tigers and will come up against the experienced Mark Bradley.
Warragul will miss Clinton Rowe but 100 gamers Joel Morgan and Matt Gray will give it their best shot.
Moe v Sale
Moe is home to the all-conquering Sale and while no one expects a Moe win, the result will not be as devastating as the Magpies’ match against Bairnsdale.
Lions coach Jason Macfarlane is getting improvement from his inexperienced group each week and Sale will test them.
Bairnsdale v Wonthaggi
Bairnsdale gets the chance to atone for its poor showing against Sale when it hosts Wonthaggi Power.
Home ground form for the Redlegs suggests they are not the easy beats.
This match is important for both sides as a loss to the Power will put them a couple of wins outside the five while a Bairnsdale loss will ruin any chance of playing finals.
While both sides are desperate to win; expect Bairnsdale to win narrowly and get its season back on track.
Maffra v Drouin
Maffra and Drouin have forged something of a kindred rivalry in their short history of games against each other.
As the two smallest population areas of the Gippsland League, they have a mutual respect for each other.
Drouin has won only one match at Maffra in nine attempts and cannot afford a loss at this stage of the season.
This will be a high-standard match with plenty of goals kicked and Drouin may score a win and keep its slender finals hopes alive.