EVENLY matched rivals Newborough and Trafalgar clash this weekend in what should be an epic battle for second spot.
Trafalgar coach Chris Kyriacou said he had a lot of respect for the Bulldogs and, although his side traditionally played well against them, he considered this week to be a “danger game”.
“I think (Newborough) are on track to make another grand final the way they’re going… I think this match is going to go a long way for both clubs to potentially get a foot in the grand final,” Kyriacou said.
He said his team will “see where we’re at” in the next four games when they face the top sides in the competition: Newborough, Boolarra, Yinnar and Mirboo North.
Newborough has only lost to the two sides currently above it on the ladder, Mirboo North and Trafalgar, and will need to knock one, if not both, off to crack into top spot.
Hill End v Yinnar
YINNAR faces the improved Hillmen when it travels to Hill End Recreation Reserve this weekend.
The Magpies smashed the Hillmen by 102-points in round one, but few anticipate an encore, including Yinnar coach Sam McCulloch who expected a “tough one”.
“Hill End’s always hard to beat up at their home ground, so it’s definitely a danger game. Hopefully we go up there with the right attitude and come away with the four points,” McCulloch said.
Both sides have been steadily improving but, coming from disparate starting points, this match will determine how far each has come.
While Magpies are focusing on fine-tuning skills, the Hillmen are still struggling with goal-kicking and their growth in other areas will not mean a thing if they fail to kick a winning score.
Morwell East v Mirboo North
MORWELL East takes on the relentless Tigers this weekend.
Now at the halfway point, Mirboo North coach Troy Hamilton chalked his side’s success up to being fit and playing good team football.
“The group we’ve got – most of it has been together for a while. I think in a sense that we’re all sick of failing as we have done in the finals the last couple of years,” Hamilton said.
“So I think a lot of people trained a lot harder over the summer and the fitness is shining through, we seem to have runners everywhere and we finish off games really well too.”
He said top position could only be taken from them if they allowed it to be and expected the second half of the year to be tough.
“I suppose the simple thing in the second half of the year is you try to better what you did in the first half of the year and that for us is hopefully not losing,” Hamilton said.
Meanwhile, Morwell East has dropped to eighth position after a loss last week, but was spared from an embarrassment due to Yinnar’s inaccuracies in the last quarter.
Yarragon v Thorpdale
THORPDALE will look to string together a winning streak when it travels to Yarragon.
Thorpdale coach Brett Sherriff said he hoped his side could make strides in the second half of the year.
“Hopefully we get a few guys back, really work on what we need to, and really step and up see what we can achieve in the next few weeks.”
Yarragon has been savaged by injuries, but is slowly starting to recover some players, which should mean a closer match than recent weeks.
The under 18s game will be a highlight on the day with the top of the table sides clashing at 10.55am.
Thorpdale’s thirds are undefeated while Yarragon has not lost since going down to the Blues in round one, carving out a better percentage on the back of some big wins.
This match will not only determine the ladder leader after round 10, but could decide who earns a coveted double chance at the end of the home and away season.
Boolarra v Yallourn Yallourn North
YALLOURN Yallourn North takes on Boolarra in what Bomber coach Rick Hearn is predicting to be a hard game.
Speaking after the Bombers’ narrow loss to Thorpdale, Hearn said his side had improved all round, but its scoring power was not quite there yet.
“As long as we carry this effort in next week I think we’ve got a shot. So, we’ll see how we go,” Hearn said.
Boolarra was last round pushed from fourth spot, but with a good win this weekend could reclaim it from Yinnar on percentage.