COBURG DISTRICTS v ROXBURGH PARK
THIS match-up has become somewhat of a rivalry with a handful of ex-Magpies now doing good things in blue and white… and funny things happen when two rivals go head-to-head.
Both sides lost in Round 1 and a 0-2 start to Season 2018 is not something they were hoping for.
The Lions didn’t exactly hit the scoreboard hard last week against Moonee Valley but that isn’t something Chris Tankard’s side is known for.
Their bigs played well, including new ruckman Chris Lynch and both Vesnaver brothers, but it remains to be seen if the Lions can score quickly if they need to.
Roxburgh Park provides the Lions with a good test but there’s plenty for new coach Michael Farrelly to think about after a disappointing defensive showing last week.
Without Luke Capuano at their disposal, the Pies may be too reliant on Osama Saad and Tumay Hamza to kick a winning score, so the midfield, led by Harley Short, needs to step up.
The Magpies were beaten easily in this head-to-head on both occasions last season, so you’d have to think the Lions will bounce back here if both sides play close to their best.
HADFIELD v NORTHERN SAINTS
The battle of Sydney Road resumes hostilities with the Northern Saints coming in as favourite for the first time in a while.
Khodr Talab and Rocky Ferraro were too much of a handful for Roxburgh Park’s defenders last week and given Hadfield had no answer for an equally potent East Sunbury line-up, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how the Hawks will go about stopping the Saints here.
If anything, the Hawks will be hoping Melbourne’s meteorologists are on the money with their predictions for rain come Saturday, because if conditions are good for footy then they’re good for the Northern Saints, and Paul Dunn won’t let up on the scoreboard.
The Saints scored 13.10 in the wet at Martin Reserve in a final last year against Moonee Valley with an inferior forward line to the one they have now, so the challenge for Brett Pitts this week is to establish some flow from his midfield and park some match-winners in his forward 50.
They’ll be required if Hadfield wants to win this one.
BURNSIDE HEIGHTS v EAST SUNBURY – Saturday 5pm
The EDFL’s two newest clubs have a bit of a rivalry themselves now and it’s been a match-up the Thunder has enjoyed of late.
The Bears haven’t beaten East Sunbury since Round 15, 2014 – their first year of senior footy, but it’s important to note all three of last year’s games were close.
Bears coach Aidan Stott hasn’t been afraid to give his new-look side a bit of a pump up over the summer and expect many new faces wearing orange and blue come 5pm Saturday at Tenterfield Drive.
One regular, however, is in for a big one.
Josh Covelli had a career season in 2017, finishing second to Cam Cloke with 84 goals on the division’s goal-kicking table.
That included bags of 10 and seven against the Thunder.
He’ll need to be ready for another big one given East Sunbury’s new-found potency in attack, but the Bears need to make sure Covelli has the appropriate support cast around him in order to out-score the Thunder.