FOLLOWING a poor start to the season, Cowwarr and Glengarry have risen into North Gippsland football’s top five.
The Magpies nudged aside Woodside last round to perch themselves into fifth position for the first time this season.
The Saints made their move on the top five a fortnight ago to sit one rung on the ladder above in fourth.
In their current form, the sides are the competition’s inform teams and have won their past five matches.
Cowwarr is becoming the specialists at the great escape after scraping over the line in its past two matches.
Little separates the two sides on paper as both lineups boast solid back lines who have held their own in past rounds against formidable opposition.
Cowwarr’s Tim Johnston and Glengarry’s Mark Engley, who has booted 16 majors in his past three outings, will be eager to fire in front of goal.
The duel between the engine rooms will be exciting with both sides boasting top midfielders.
Saints coach Luke Cooper will be aware his side will need to put together a strong four-quarter effort and cannot allow Glengarry to blow out to a commanding lead in the opening term, otherwise they will be playing catch up football against a quality outfit who punished the reigning premiers last round.
Heyfield v Boisdale Briagolong
HEYFIELD’s premiership defence has hit a road bump over the past fortnight with the Kangaroos dropping clashes to Rosedale and Glengarry.
Up until that point the reigning premier’s tilt at back-to-back flags continued to gain momentum, having won nine consecutive matches.
While there is no need to panic, Heyfield is sitting one game clear of the log jam below them with four points separating second-placed Traralgon Tyers United from sixth-placed Woodside.
This week’s result is crucial in ensuring the Kangaroos remain at the top.
Boisdale Briagolong coach Daniel Sandeman will look to his chargers to minimise their skill error and increase their work rate to ensure they are competitive against one of the competition’s best.
The Bombers were impressive in the opening half of last week’s clash against Sale City, but faded away after half-time.
Woodside v Sale City
Woodside is desperate to return to the winner’s list after throwing all it had at Gormandale in the final term of their contest last Saturday only to fall agonisingly close to breaking a four-game losing streak.
It has been a lean month for the Wildcats, who up until round seven had been the big cats of the competition after claiming a number of top five scalps.
However, since then, Woodside has met Cowwarr, Glengarry and TTU, three sides who have made the competition their own over the past month.
But losses to Boisdale Briagolong and Gormandale were of greater concern.
It is for this reason that the Wildcats can ill afford to take the clash against Sale City lightly.
The Dogs registered their third win of the season with a 10-goal victory and will be confident going into their clash against the Wildcats.
Sale City claimed the honours in round three, but past results will mean little when the two meet.
Gormandale v Churchill
GORMANDALE will be confident it can carry on its form into the contest against Churchill.
Churchill’s win-loss ledger of five-six means it is sitting one game outside the five, having stared down the barrel of three consecutive losses.
The Cougars must regain their composure and make a mark on the competition in coming weeks if they are to remain in contention.
While the Tigers’ confidence will be high, it will be a tough assignment for the home side which will need to counteract the Cougars’ many avenues to goal.
The Tigers’ back six is one of the best in the competition, despite the side’s ladder standing, and will be ready for the challenge.
However, the visitors will be hopeful for a strong performance from their forwards as they aim to return to the winner’s list.
Traralgon Tyers United v Rosedale
Games do not get any bigger than the contest between second-placed TTU and third-placed Rosedale on Sunday, with a mere 29 percentage points separating the sides.
The Bombers claimed the honours in their earlier encounter and will be aware the Blues are no easy beats.
Rosedale will provide spirited competition in an early prelude to September action with the victor to draw one game clear on the premiership ladder.
Expect nothing less than a tight physical contest, with the side’s backlines key in deciding the result.