ABERFELDIE v KEILOR
IT’S a round that features some massive head-to-head match-ups, but this is probably the pick of them.
If you want to talk about premiership credentials, these two clubs are at the top of the list and their recent form indicates that they’re probably the teams to beat.
It’s really hard to find fault in Aberfeldie’s output of late, as its winning the games it should be while staying competitive against fellow finals contenders, even with numerous key players out of the line-up.
As Abers slowly re-assemble their best 22, they’ll be a frightening proposition for any opponent.
But Keilor comes into this on the back of a stunning six-game winning streak few saw coming.
While they were pushed all the way by a desperate Douttas side last week, the Blues have recently notched up impressive wins over Greenvale, Strathmore and Pascoe Vale.
In Round 5 they led Aberfeldie by 17 points at three-quarter time before coughing up seven goals to two in the final term to go down by 18.
But that was probably the result of the numerous injuries they incurred during that game, so all things being equal here, this is a match-up Mick McGuane probably likes.
PASCOE VALE v GREENVALE
When you look at Greenvale’s recent form, do you question why so many inferior teams are almost beating them or give credit to the fact that the Jets are still winning more often than not?
Round 8 was the first sign of trouble for Greenvale, going down to Keilor by 38 points before a peculiar month of footy that included surprisingly close wins over Essendon Doutta Stars, Avondale Heights and Glenroy, as well as a heavy home loss to Strathmore.
But if you’re only as good as your last performance, then Greenvale will be feeling pretty good about the fact that it managed to outlast Glenroy with a big final term last week.
Addam Maric was back in the side and kicked three crucial goals while brother Nick was best-on-ground with one, combining well with Fabian Deluca around the ground.
Jacob Thompson and Kurtis Sanajko also returned last week and will be important here against a Pascoe Vale side that relies on its talls a fair bit.
In tricky conditions last week, though, Pacco struggled to move the footy against a solid Strathmore side that simply outran the Panthers at Raeburn Reserve.
Greenvale have plenty of smalls that will look to expose Pascoe Vale’s lack of midfield depth the same way Strathmore did a week ago.
ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS v WEST COBURG
For the first time this year, Essendon Doutta Stars will enter a game as the favourite.
The question is, how will they handle it?
Douttas again came agonisingly close to victory last week against Keilor, leading by 21 points at three-quarter time before allowing six unanswered goals in the final term to go down by 16.
Karl Brown was their standout with two goals while Mitch Day is having a good season, adding to his goals tally of 19 for the year.
In fact, most of Douttas’ top-liners played well last week, including former Bomber, Tom Wallis.
All that has been lacking is an ability to finish games well, so Dean Wallis needs to ensure his side is willing to fight for the duration come Saturday at home to West Coburg.
The Burgers have been ordinary and haven’t won since beating Douttas at Coburg City Oval in a dour affair back in Round 5.
They lack scoring potency, which at times has been the result of poor ball-use in midfield.
Unlike Douttas, the Burgers haven’t come close to winning since the start of June, so they’d have to improve big-time to win this one.
STRATHMORE v MARIBYRNONG PARK
Maribyrnong Park’s draw has been kind of late, with the Lions making light work of the bottom four sides of Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division.
As a result the Lions have been off the radar, but now comes a huge test with five massive games coming up.
Both Zac Keogh and Robbie Castello returned to the line-up last week but the Lions are still without the services of Caleb Vearing, Chris Prowse, Jake Byrush, Josh Pickess and Scott Clarke.
They’ll be hoping to have a few more top-liners back this week as Strathmore has proven that it is capable of winning against any opposition.
While the Mores have admittedly been a little inconsistent, they brought their A-game to Raeburn Reserve last week.
Josh Helliwell scored three goals as the Mores’ main go-to option up forward and did so playing on one of the division’s better defenders in Luke Foster.
But down the ground you had Luke Jarrad driving Strathmore’s counter attack from defensive 50 and in midfield Adam Iacobucci and Jaryd Cachia were superb, finishing with a goal each.
With so much quality on both sides this is a hard one to predict, but the ease with which Marby beat Strathmore in Round 5 (53 points) may indicate that the Lions have an edge.
GLENROY v AVONDALE HEIGHTS
This is the game that probably has the least on the line from a ladder perspective.
Both Glenroy and Avondale Heights find themselves in positions where finals are out of the equation and relegation is a long-shot, but that doesn’t mean this will be lacking any intensity.
Avondale Heights hasn’t enjoyed a win since Round 8 and will be looking to have a big fortnight, with Essendon Doutta Stars coming up in Round 14.
That game is going to be huge for the Stars if they beat West Coburg this weekend.
So, the Heights will be looking to not only ensure their own safety here but put in a solid four-quarter effort that will no doubt put some doubt into the Douttas camp.
Glenroy removed itself from the relegation equation two weeks ago, which means it’s now free to attack each remaining game with little pressure hinging on the outcome.
The Roys almost beat Greenvale at home last week and probably should have if not for a final term fade-out.
Aaron Kite’s four goals matched his output from Round 5, where the Roys easily took care of the Heights at Canning Street.
That day Adam Winter and Adam Del Busso also kicked three goals of their own, exposing the Heights’ lack of scoring power at the other end, which hasn’t improved all season long.
Glenroy should win, but it’s a coin-flip kind of match-up.