MARIBYRNONG PARK v WEST COBURG - Teams
WE’VE seen quite a bit of player movement between Monk Oval and Shore Reserve of late and hence this has become a bit of a rivalry.
Both Omar Saad and Tom Baravi are back in red, white and black after the Lions pinched the duo a few seasons back.
Both Saad (if he plays), Baravi and their fellow midfielders need to have a big one here against the in-form engine room of the division so far this season.
Maribyrnong Park, who has been without coach Robbie Castello in the first two rounds, has been the stand-out team in Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division and will be looking to again have a decent crack at Digby Morrell’s men here.
Worryingly, the Burgers have struggled to score in their opening two games and boom recruit Daniel Archer was held goalless against Aberfeldie last week.
That has to change here.
STRATHMORE v PASCOE VALE - Teams
This may be the most intriguing game of Round 3.
Pascoe Vale had its pants pulled down by Keilor last week to continue what is becoming an increasingly frustrating bad run at home for Kyle Hardingham’s men.
To only have 2.6 on the board to half time is not a good look for a side boasting the likes of Matthew Watson, Lachie Hansen and Hardingham himself.
The Panthers now have to travel across to Mascoma Street where the Mores will play their second consecutive home game for the year.
In tough conditions the Mores were outclassed by Greenvale last week, but their loss was not quite as alarming as Pacco’s.
As was the case 12 months ago, Strathmore is going to take some time to get firing on all cylinders given the youth they have coming through, so their inconsistency is understandable.
Pascoe Vale can’t afford to go to 0-3 with Maribyrnong Park and Greenvale coming up in Rounds 4 and 5, so the Panthers better dig deep in this one.
KEILOR v ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS - Teams
Douttas’ draw doesn’t get any easier, with Keilor rounding into some nice form last week.
Nick O’Kearney has been outstanding in his Keilor homecoming and has fitted in nicely with the Blues’ swathe of Premier Division A-graders.
Dean Galea, Andrew Browne and Kane Barbuto are all producing good footy so far this season and will be looking to have their way with a young Douttas outfit at Joe Brown Oval.
All we asked of Douttas last week was an improved effort, and that we got at Nipper Jordan Oval.
In a hard-fought game, Dean Wallis’ charges took it up to Glenroy in front of their home fans but couldn’t stay in it for long enough and eventually went down by 29 points.
It was encouraging to see the likes of Karl Brown and Jake Toa play well, while Jordan Schroder again proved he can more than hold his own at this level.
His impact going forward is going to be vital in the absence of Shylo Smith.
Here, however, it’s tough to see where Douttas can beat the Blues in this one.
ABERFELDIE v AVONDALE HEIGHTS - Teams
This match-up has a lot of similarities with the one at Joe Brown Oval we just previewed above.
Here we have a home side that is loaded with classy A-graders and an away team that has a couple of A-graders mixed with lesser-knowns that will most likely struggle to keep up.
Avondale Heights is languishing at 0-2 and its horror early-season fixture just got a little harder with Aberfeldie following two hard games against Greenvale and Maribyrnong Park.
Both Dennis Armfield and Ciaran Sheehan have been impressive for the Heights and Cameron Wood looks set for another big day in this one as well, but the Heights still lack potency in attack and are currently the lowest-scoring team in Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division with 12 goals from two games.
Aberfeldie hasn’t exactly blown anyone out in their 2-0 start to Season 2018, but this may be their opportunity to build some percentage.
Hopefully it’ll be close, but it likely won’t be.
GREENVALE v GLENROY - Teams
The Roys will get their first look at a 2017 Premier Division finalist this weekend and it’s the kind of test we’ve been waiting for them to have.
There’s no better way for Ross Terranova to gauge just what his side is capable of in this competition than an away game at Greenvale, where if the weather holds up, he’ll be hoping his side can keep up with the fast-moving Jets.
Greenvale’s been Premier Division’s best home-and-away side for 12 months and when tested against Strathmore last week, Paul Chapman’s men responded in the professional kind of fashion we’ve come to expect from the mob up at Section Road.
It was great to see Addam Maric out on the park and kick three goals last week, but with Fort Caruso, Josh Smith and Laurence King all enjoying good early-season form, Glenroy’s defensive system is going to be stretched to its limit.