THE North Gippsland peloton is stacked after eight of the competition’s 11 sides registered a win in the opening fortnight of season 2014.
For Cowwarr and Traralgon Tyers United, round three is a chance for redemption after both went down by less than a kick last Saturday.
TTU v Heyfield
Last year’s semi-finalists Traralgon Tyers United suffered a second consecutive defeat when Glengarry snatched victory at the weekend.
It is also expected it will not get any easier against round three opponent and competition heavyweight Heyfield.
Staring down the barrel of three straight losses, the Bombers have felt the effect of costly lapses of concentration in the opening rounds.
The Bombers must break down a tight defence, one of the best in recent seasons, and halt the flow of the Kangaroos’ midfield brigade, a tough task for any side.
Boasting a new look ruck combination, the Heyfield stocks will likely stretch the Bombers, who will rely heavily on captain Luke Middleton in the stoppages.
Heyfield was an impressive winner last week, but the Bombers are desperate to rise from the bottom of the ladder with an upset at home.
Yarram v Cowwarr
Fourth-placed Yarram will refocus when it hosts Cowwarr, which fell just short in its opening clash of the season.
The Demons faded away in the final term last week and quickly learnt that anything short of a full four quarter effort will be punished in North Gippsland.
After a fast start against Churchill the Saints will again look to impose themselves early.
The Demons can ill afford to play catch up footy against a quality outfit, and a steady start will be pivotal.
Glengarry v Rosedale
Reigning premier Glengarry jumpstarted its title defence with a gutsy come from behind performance against a tough TTU side.
The Magpies have drawn three of last year’s finalists in the opening rounds, putting their premiership credentials under the microscope early.
Fellow finals favourite Rosedale has been ruthless over the past fortnight, with the stage set for an epic contest this Saturday.
Renowned for their tight physical battles, the two line-ups have enthralled crowds in past seasons with both backlines to be pitted against quality forward structures.
Churchill v Woodside
The big cats will collide when the Cougars host the Wildcats in the battle for the Lakes Oil cup.
Enduring a tough preseason and armed with a tweaked game plan, the Cougars saw the fruits of their hard work rewarded with a come from behind two-point victory last week.
More than competitive in their opening matches, Churchill will look to catch Woodside off guard after the bye.
Boasting a strong backline the Cougars defence provides plenty of run from half-back, and with an injection of pace this season, will test the Wildcats.
After watching from the sidelines last Saturday, Woodside will warm up for its inaugural Good Friday clash against neighbour and newcomer Yarram.
With new lights at Gaskin Park, Churchill’s training regimen can continue to flourish post-daylight savings.
Sale City v Bois/Briag
Dogs coach Hayden Burgiel was looking for a challenge when he took the post at Sale City, and found just that in a rampant Heyfield last weekend.
Round three sees the Dogs take to the road again to meet Boisdale/Briagolong.
Sale City has held the upper hand over the Bombers in past seasons but a new look Bomber outfit will offer a different test.
Competitive in the opening rounds, the Bombers recorded their opening win of the season last Saturday and will be confident they can carry that form into the contest.
It will be far from one way traffic; reeling from their performance against the competition’s number one ranked side Burgiel and his charges will be aiming to regain some respect and may just find the smaller ground at Boisdale to their liking.
GORMANDALE has the BYE