BENALLA V MANSFIELD
Mansfield will be looking to take another important step towards securing its place in the September action when it makes the short trip to the Benalla Showgrounds.
The Eagles were able to return to the winners’ list following a workmanlike win over Tatura.
Coach Chad Owens would have been pleased to bank the win and to hear his Eagles have skipped three games clear in sixth place after the Bears loss.
But he will know the job is not done yet.
The Saints were competitive against the Lions last weekend.
They matched the Lions in the first quarter and won the last quarter by a point.
Christopher Welsh, Samuel Harris, Fintan Brazil, Wade King and Will O’Donoghue will be looking to continue their good form to take the contest right up to the Eagles.
Tom McDonagh, Dirk Koenen, Frazer Dale, Sam Lynch, Ben Christopher and Cam Arnold will be important for the visitors to ensure they walk away from the showgrounds with the four points.
SHEPPARTON V KYABRAM
Shepparton faces a massive challenge when it welcomes Kyabram to Deakin Reserve.
The Bears suffered somewhat of an upset defeat at Moon Oval last weekend while the Bombers suffered their first loss since round two last round when beaten by the reigning premier Echuca.
That said, the Bombers won’t panic.
Prior to that defeat, the Bombers had won 10 on the trot, claiming some big scalps along the way.
They will come to the home football confident that if they play their best football that they can be in front at 4.30pm when the siren sounds.
Tyron Baden, Jonty Wardle, Xavier Stevenson, Jacob Watts and Anthony Andronaco will be the players leading the way for the Bears who will look try and make it difficult for the Bombers.
Liam Ogden, Kyle Mueller, Will Golds, Zachary Norris, Toby Wooller and Kane Herbert will be the Bombers looking to fire to ensure they get the win to keep pace with the top two teams.
EUROA V SEYMOUR
This promises to be a cracking game of football between two genuine premiership contenders.
The Magpies shouldn’t be lost in this conversation.
They are flying under the radar and probably appreciate that the focus is on the three teams above it.
I truly believe that they in this season’s premiership race right up to their neck.
When these two teams clashed last time, I was very impressive by Seymour.
The Lions ran the Pies off their feet on a warm Autumn afternoon.
Coach Scott Rowan will be aware of that and there is no doubt he would be hoping his chargers have learnt some valuable lessons from that day.
Ruckman Andrew Smith had a really good game when they last clashed and his form has been really good this year.
Morrison Medal favourite, Will Hayes has been absolutely brilliant this season.
He continues to rack up the possessions.
Max Gleeson, Adam Giobbi and Jett Trotter are others who come into this game in really strong form.
Seymour is definitely one of the best teams in the competition.
They have only lost once – by a point at Kyabram and they lost no friends that day.
And, they are easily one of the best coached teams under Ben Davey.
Michael Hartley has had a really good season down back this year for the Lions.
Last weekend, Davey moved him forward with immediate impact.
His nine-goal haul proved to be the difference for the Lions.
The last time these teams played, Hartley played in defence and a little bit in the ruck, so it will be interesting to see where he lines up.
Riley Mason, Rory Scopel, Ben Cooney and Jack O’Sullivan have been others to be playing well for the Lions and they will be important if the visitors are to walk away with the win.
MOOROOPNA V SHEPPARTON UNITED
Mooroopna will be chasing a third successive win over the Shepparton-based teams when it hosts Shepparton United.
The Cats have overcome the Bears and Swans in the past fortnight and coach John Lamont would have been reasonably pleased with what his group has done, but he will still be demanding for more as they charge towards the finals.
After a sluggish first half, the Cats then put the foot down to kick 11.9 in the second half to record a comfortable win over the Swans.
Daniel Johnston, Coby James, Ben Hicks, Dom Gugliotti, Bryce Rutherford and Chris Nield (40 goals in 2023) will be important to ensure the Cats don’t drop the ball against the Demons.
Liam Serra, Declan Newbound, Fergus Pinnuck, Jayden Magro, Sheldon Bogdan and Lewis Stanton will be the Demons doing their best to ensure the visitors give the home team a run for their money.
SHEPPARTON SWANS V ECHUCA
Shepparton Swans will be looking to test its improvement against the reigning premier.
The Swans have been very competitive in 2023, with the exception of maybe a couple of games, including the earlier meeting against Echuca at Victoria Park.
Against the Cats last round, they were right in the game at half-time, but then couldn’t go with them in the second half.
Coach Jedd Wright will look to Zac Banch, Tom Preece, Joeve Cooper, Nathan Hrovat and Isaiah Jones to lead the way to take the game up to the visitors.
Jack Evans, Jack McHale, Samuel Reid, Jackson Stewart and Andrew Walker were outstanding in helping their team make a statement last round
After a tight opening half, the Murray Bombers were able to make a second half statement by kicking nine goals to three to run out 37-point winners over premiership aspirant Kyabram.
If they can continue that form, then I expect the visitors to be too strong for the Swans.
TATURA V ROCHESTER
This will be an interesting game for both teams.
They sit at three wins apiece.
The Tigers’ have been really competitive in the past month, including two wins against the Swans and Shepparton.
Tatura hasn’t won since June 3, so they will be desperate to try and finish with a couple of wins to end the season to take some momentum into 2024.
Harley McCarthy, Comanche Walls, Jacob Chessells, Mitchell Elliott and Sean McAllister will be the Bulldogs that will need to continue their strong form to allow them to reverse the earlier season loss to the Tigers.
The Tigers will fancy their chances, especially off the back of their recent form.
They defeated the Dogs earlier in the season for what was their first victory of 2023.
Joseph Atley, Hamish Hooppell, Mitch Cricelli, Matt Kellett and Nathan McCarty will be important if the Tigers are to make it two wins on the bounce and leap ahead of the Dogs on the ladder.