COBURG DISTRICTS v BURNSIDE HEIGHTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Cole Reserve
COBURG Districts currently finds itself inside the Strathmore Community Bank Division 2 top four, but it’s a very tenuous grip the Lions have on that spot.
The Lions enter Round 13 having sat on the sidelines with back-to-back byes in Rounds 11 and 12, which clearly isn’t ideal, but may have helped Chris Tankard tinker with his game plan.
It was a vital win for Districts against East Sunbury in Round 11, but it wasn’t all that convincing.
Prior to that was a shocking 137-point loss to the Sunbury Kangaroos.
On the exposed form, none of us currently have Coburg Districts in premiership calculations.
But they have a great opportunity to win us over here.
The Lions are 1-3 against Burnside Heights since the start of 2018, including a lacklustre 32-point loss at Tenterfield Drive earlier this year.
That was the game in which new recruit Matthew Peterlechner announced himself as the main support act to Josh Covelli, kicking four goals for the Bears in what was a low-scoring game,
His recent form has been outstanding, with 14 goals from his last five games, including six last week at the Northern Saints.
The Bears haven’t been setting the world on fire of late, but there’s no reason why they can’t re-capture their early season form, with Adam Sullivan and Josh Covelli both producing quality footy last week.
Flip a coin.
MOONEE VALLEY v NORTHERN SAINTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Ormond Park
When these two teams first met back in Round 3, the Charles Mutton Reserve crowd was treated to one of the best games of the season.
Returning favourite son, Rocky Ferraro, piled on 11 goals for his new team, Moonee Valley, and yet the Fog still went down by seven points in a high-scoring shoot-out.
The Saints were well served by their new forward line of Mark Sabatino, Jalen Oakley and Zakaria Farah with 10 goals between them, while Tamer Abdallah and Eliot Kako both starred around the ground.
But two and a half months is an eternity in the midst of a footy season.
Oakley missed last week’s 30-point loss to the Bears and it was the sixth time since Northern last faced Moonee Valley that the Saints failed to reach three figures, kicking 12-14-86 to Burnside Heights’ 17.14-116.
The attacking flair the Northern Saints are famous for has diminished significantly this year, and that’s a big reason why they’re at major risk of missing the finals in 2019.
Their run home is kind and does include two more byes, but this looms as another massive test.
Moonee Valley is slowly hitting its straps and since Round 3, its only loss was at the hand of the division’s runaway flag favourite, Sunbury.
Ned Wilson could potentially be a massive inclusion and if he and Cory McGrath both return in this game, then Moonee Valley will be as close to full strength as it has been all year.
The Fog is defensively sound but not setting the world on fire in attack, so which ever forward line can execute better for longer will go a long way to deciding who wins at Ormond Park this weekend.
What looked an unlikely blockbuster on paper before the season began now looms as one of the biggest games of the Division 2 season.
We chose this for EDFL Match of the Day because it features two young sides with plenty of promise who are evenly matched on paper and in similar spots on the ladder.
Most importantly, though, the loser’s finals hopes will probably be over at 5 o’clock on Saturday.
So the stakes are very high.
East Sunbury’s extended mid-season break seemed to re-invigorate the Thunder, but they’ve gone 1-2 since beating Burnside Heights in their first game back.
A poor loss to crosstown rival Sunbury was last week followed by a solid 30-goal win over Keilor Park, where new additions Kane Murfett and Cameron Burrows found form with 15 combined goals.
The new forward line needs to have another good day here, because Hadfield’s pressure game will more than likely restrict forward entries.
For the second time this year, Hadfield troubled the premiership favourites at Eric Boardman Reserve last week, but couldn’t stay in the game for long enough as the Sunbury Kangaroos broke clear in the second half.
Coach Brett Pitts will be loathed to consider it yet another honourable loss, but the Hawks may take some confidence out of it as they set themselves for their second consecutive road game in Sunbury.
The Hawks were just three points short of victory when hosting the Thunder in Round 3, with leading goalkicker Daniel Midolo booting four of their 10 goals on that day.
He’s kicked goals in every game he’s played this year, but will need more help around him to help get the Hawks over the line here.
In dry conditions you’d favour the Thunder, but if it’s wet, then ‘advantage, Hadfield’.