ROUND nine will round out the first half of the Mid Gippsland Football League season as the pecking order becomes more apparent.
The defeat of Yinnar last week means there are three teams – Newborough, Yinnar and Mirboo North – all with 28 points fighting for top position.
Morwell East (6th) v Yarragon (9th)
ON form it would be difficult to pick Morwell East as a winner, but with injured players ready to come back it should be a different side than the one that went down last weekend.
The East is too good a team to be in sixth position, but with only three wins against the three bottom sides it has been a disappointing effort so far by the Hawks.
To realise a chance at the five they must start beating teams above them on the ladder and the gap widens each week.
Yarragon is where it was last season with a solitary win to its name.
The side has the potential to rise above ninth but getting it all together seems a problem.
Injuries have been their downfall as well as a lack of depth from the reserves.
Morwell East will go in as the favourite, but expect Yarragon to be competitive.
Trafalgar (4th) v Mirboo North (3rd)
TRAFALGAR will need to cause an upset win over Mirboo North to secure fourth position, which it currently holds by 29.85 per cent from Boolarra.
With the Dees likely to beat YYN the Bloods could lose out and drop back a cog.
Mirboo North was brilliant in its win last week against Yinnar and should continue in that frame of mind, racking up points towards a September final two finish. Trafalgar has plenty of small fast players but falls down in the forward line, where it has failed to kick winning scores in four matches.
With a well balanced team the Tigers go into the match as favourites, but could find Trafalgar hard to shake off.
Yinnar (2nd) v Hill End (7th)
IT is important that Yinnar keep on track after its narrow defeat last week.
Dropping back to second was a bitter pill to swallow for the Magpies, who were gallant in defeat after a game described as the best seen at Mirboo North for a decade.
But this is a different week, a different opponent and a chance to redeem themselves.
On paper the Magpies have a gutsy, skilful side capable of ripping away weaker opposition, and at the moment Hill End falls into this category.
The Hillmen will finished the first part of the season with only two wins and that must be a disappointment to the club; at the same time last year they had four wins on the table.
Yinnar will be a safe winner and you would expect a big score.
Thorpdale (8th) v Newborough (1st)
IT will be a big task for seventh placed Thorpdale to put a dent in the league’s number one side Newborough.
The Dogs are barking and to finish on top at the halfway mark augers well for the rest of the season, and they have fought hard to get there.
Thorpdale has been close and to win last week was the tonic it needed.
Although it was only the Blues’ second victory it could be the catalyst they need to get further up the ladder.
YYN (10th) v Boolarra (5th)
Boolarra will be going for five straight, which would give it a chance of overtaking Trafalgar and moving into fourth position.
The odds are good for the Demons as Yallourn Yallourn North, competitive as it is, has not yet won a game this season.
The Bombers have lost their last 15 games, not a statistic they are proud of, but will be going all out to break their drought this week.
Boolarra has been thrilled with the form of forward Jesse Giardina, who booted 10 last weekend, and if he gets loose another bagful is anticipated.
The Dees should take the points but early pressure by the Bombers may have an impact.
YYN was saddened by the death of former player Ron Lee who passed away last Friday.