BENALLA V ROCHESTER
This is a real opportunity for both these teams to chalk up win number 2 for the season.
Both are sitting at 1-6 and in the bottom two. They will be desperate to improve their records in a bid to climb out of the bottom two.
Tom Bennett, Jayden Guppy, David Mennen, Jordan Wolff and Christopher Welsh will be the ones trying to lead the way to ensure supply for Jarrod Waite and Josh Mellington.
Hamish Hooppell, Joseph Atley, Mitch Cricelli, Bailey Wileman and Mitchell Bright will be trying to lead the way for the Tigers.
This is going to a battle between which team kick hit the scoreboard, especially when you look at the season average for the teams in front of goal.
Benalla’s average is 48.28 and Rochester’s is 52.14, so on the season not much separates these two, so it will come down to which forward line can get on top.
And, for that reason I am leaning towards Benalla if Waite and Mellington can have a day out.
SHEPPARTON UNITED V KYABRAM
Kyabram is the real deal.
Anyone who thought otherwise needs to think again.
The 2016-17-19 premier has claimed some big scalps this season, including ending Seymour’s undefeated start to 2023 in a one-point thriller last weekend and defeating Euroa on the road.
And, their only defeat came to the reigning premier, but they were far from disgraced in that bout.
Will Golds, Lachlan Smith, Jason Morgan (kicked winning point in the win over the Lions), Riley Ironside and Kaine Herbert were outstanding in the win over the Lions.
And, they should regain Tom Holman for this game after he missed last weekend’s win.
This presents as a massive opportunity for the Demons.
Coach Duane Hueston is doing a good job in trying to create a game plan which centres around building where he wants to go in the future.
Despite a big loss last weekend, he will look to Adam Pigatto, Marcus Wattie, Kaedyn Napier, Mitchell Roche and Fergus Pinnuck to lead the way against the visiting Bombers.
SEYMOUR V SHEPPARTON
Seymour will be looking to bounce back after its one-point loss to Kyabram to prove that was only a little speed hump in its 2023 journey.
The Lions lost no friends in their loss to Kyabram.
Their opponent come into the contest at Kings Park off the back of a good win over cross-town rival the Shepparton Swans.
Bears ruckman Bryce Stephenson is in sensational form this season, continuing his good form from last weekend’s interleague contest and a best on ground performance over the Swans.
Stephenson will look to get support from Connor Fleming, co-coach Xavier Stevenson, 2018 premiership forward Anthony Andronaco, co-coach Edward Lindon and key forward Lewis McShane who has kicked 9 goals in the past two matches.
Ben Rigoni, Michael Hartley, Jack O’Sullivan, Tom O’Sullivan, Bradley Lynch and skipper Lachie Waite will be ones trying to lead the Lions back to the winners’ den.
EUROA V ECHUCA
What a game this promises to be?
The battle between last year’s grand finalists in what will no doubt give both coaching groups plenty to go away with regardless of who claims the points.
Echuca is flying and appears to be as hungry as ever despite climbing to the top mountain in 2022.
Euroa is just going and coach Scott Rowan would be the first to admit that his team has plenty of room for improvement despite only losing two games in the opening seven weeks of the season.
Nate Trotter, Will Hayes, Jett Trotter, Jacob Gleeson, Harrison Jarvie and Andrew Smith will be important if the Pies are to extract some sort of revenge for last year’s heart-breaking loss to the Murray Bombers.
Samuel Reid, Sam Willoughby, Will Monahan, Matthew Lias, Lachie Watson and Cam Valentine will be the Murray Bombers trying to lead the way and inflict a third defeat for 2023 on the Pies.
MOOROOPNA V MANSFIELD
This will be a really good test for both of these teams.
They sit fifth and sixth respectively so far and I think both coaches would acknowledge they are a work in progress if they are to match the top three teams on the ladder.
I had a bird’s eye view of the Cats last weekend, having worked with the ONE FM broadcast team as the boundary rider and was impressed by their run and carry coupled with their leg speed around the ground.
While I haven’t watched the Eagles, I do know they do like the contest as they have some big bodied midfielders.
And with both teams well coached, it will be a case of who gets the game on their terms.
Ben Hicks, Christopher Nield (seven goals), Jack Hunt, Ethan Hunt, Daniel Johnston and ruckman Liam Beston will be important to try and get the game on their terms.
Jayden Howes, Brett Mahoney, Sam Thomson, Ben Christopher, Dirk Koenen, Frazer Dale and Lachlan Murphy-Dale will important to try and assist the visitors get the game played on their terms.
SHEPPARTON SWANS V TATURA
This contest shapes as a 9 v 8 game.
And some reading that are wondering what I mean.
Neither of these two teams are high scoring and they don’t possess a monster target in their forward line.
The Swans average 54.42 points per game.
Skipper Nathan Rachele kicked 5 goals as a midfielder/forward on the day the Swans registered their only win and highest score of the season – 12.13.85 against Shepparton United.
The Bulldogs average 52 points per game, with 9.14 their highest score on the day they defeated Shepparton United.
But in a positive for Paul Barnard’s Bulldogs is the points against.
They are only averaging 72 points against, conceding their highest score against Echuca (129) on the opening day of the season. Since then, the Dogs have been very strong in their defence.
The Swans will look to Nathan Hrovat, Bowen Calogero, Andrew Riordan, Max Clohesy, Ben Gilberto and Samuel Wright (debut for the Swans last weekend) to lead the way while the Dogs will look to Mitchell Elliott, Michael Archer, Ethan Penrith, Harley McCarthy, Brodie Meyers and Andrew Ciavarella to guide them to a third win of the season.