ROXBURGH PARK v EAST SUNBURY
WHAT could have gone wrong, did go wrong for East Sunbury last week.
Just as pundits began talking about the Thunder as the premiership favourite, the ladder-leader came crashing back to earth in a shocking 109-point loss to the Northern Saints last week.
In the days following, Steve Grey stepped down as senior coach, effective immediately, but the club has repeatedly stated the three-figure loss had nothing to do with the departure.
East Sunbury lost seven players to injury in that game and some of them may be serious, with reports that Diquan Williams, Timothy Hill and James Ellis could be among those set to miss games through the middle portions of the season.
It’s hardly the ideal lead-up for a massive clash coming up here against Roxburgh Park.
The Magpies are the form team of the division and would love nothing more than to assert their authority over the division’s injury-hampered ladder-leader.
Their depth is strong and Ferras Merhi, Osama Saad and John Colaidis are all proving to be some of the handiest of recruits in the division this year.
New coach Michael Farrelly must be feeling pretty good about his team’s prospects of returning to finals this year.
MOONEE VALLEY v NORTHERN SAINTS
Moonee Valley’s form slump has been dramatic.
The Fog has faded and now the Valley looks to be one of the more vulnerable teams of Strathmore Community Bank Division 2.
Last week away to Burnside Heights loomed as a danger game but few were expecting the Valley to lose.
Shanon Carroll is in the middle of figuring out what exactly his ideal 22 looks like and you feel that once he does that, Moonee Valley will come good.
But until they at least get Cory McGrath and Ned Wilson back out on the park, Moonee Valley won’t look like one of the division’s contenders.
About a month ago the Northern Saints were in a very similar boat.
But now they are as close to their best 22 as they’ve been all year and we’re seeing just how good this team can be.
Good sides take advantage when the opposition is hit by injuries and last week, the Saints were outstanding in front of a healthy and vocal home crowd.
Their mojo is back, but in such a tight top two race, Dunn needs to ensure his group doesn’t get ahead of itself.
It’s a marathon, after all, and this could easily be an unexpected loss.
HADFIELD v BURNSIDE HEIGHTS
Hadfield maybe had a chance to show some positives signs against Coburg Districts last week.
But after going goalless for three quarters in a 148-point loss, you’re going to be hard-pressed talking up the Hawks right now.
So let’s focus on the Bears instead.
Coach Aidan Stott promised us pre-season that this was going to be the year Burnside Heights finally became a consistently competitive team in Strathmore Community Bank Division 2.
By no means are they a serious flag contender this year, but you have to give credit where it’s due – because the Bears are well and truly relevant, and it’s about time.
Wins over Coburg Districts and Moonee Valley are signs that the Bears are coming, and it was great to see some lesser known types step up on EDFL Match of the Day last week against the Fog.
Jordan Hughes kicked three goals while Marcus Giuliano won the official honours for best-on.
These are the sorts of guys that need to step up and help Josh Covelli and Anthony Fawcus when games are in the balance.
This weekend Stott should be demanding his second-tier players to step up and prove their worth, as there really is no excuse for anything less than a solid percentage-boosting win in this one.
With a final four spot well within reach, the Bears need to start working on their percentage.