Easily the game of the round this week, Aberfeldie will be looking to square the ledger when they host Pascoe Vale at Clifton Park.
The Panthers got the better of Adam Marcon’s men in the reverse fixture back in Round 7, defeating the Two Blues by just one goal at Raeburn Reserve. Still, it’s the only loss this season for Abers, who currently sit two and a half games clear on top of the Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division ladder.
Matthew Watson did manage four goals the last time these two teams met, but the difference in this game could lie with Brad Inglis, who booted eight goals against Greenvale back in Round 13, as well as six last week against Maribyrnong Park.
Conversely, Abers have a plethora of talent and a number of quality players who can hit the scoreboard and influence the game.
Jayden Foster, Sam Paea, Lucas Rocci and Kyle Reimers have all booted over 20 goals each this season, showing just how dangerous they can be up forward on any given day.
Elsewhere, Maribyrnong Park and Greenvale will be aiming to bounce back after last week’s tough results, when they lock horns in a “sixth versus seventh” matchup at Monk Oval.
The Jets were absolutely decimated by a red hot Strathmore outfit to the tune of 122 points, whilst the Lions were beaten by the Panthers.
Both sides were kept scoreless in at least one of their quarters last week, each in similar fashion. Greenvale coughed up a seven-goal-to-nothing first quarter, whilst Marby did exactly the same in the second term after starting well and leading for the first 30 minutes.
With both teams out of finals contention, it’s a good chance to wipe the slate clean and set the foundation for season 2023.
Avondale Heights were absolutely clinical last week in the Nena and Pasadena Match of the Day, but will need another mammoth effort to topple East Keilor at Canning Reserve.
The Heights dominated the Roys by 74 points in the relegation battle away from home, and almost didn’t put a foot wrong, whilst adversely the Cougars produced their lowest score of the season going down at the hands of Aberfeldie by 59 points at Overland Reserve.
It’s for that reason alone that the Cougars will more than likely look to come out firing from the blocks, and try and put the pressure back on the top four.
Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division is then rounded out by “top versus bottom” matchups, with Keilor hosting Glenroy at Joe Brown Oval, and Strathmore welcoming Essendon Doutta Stars to Lebanon Reserve.
It’s an unfortunate situation that the Roys find themselves in this year, with relegation almost a certainty. It doesn’t get easier this week when they face Mick McGuane’s men on the road, who will be looking to maintain their stronghold on second spot.
The penultimate round in Rookie Me Division One is fairly standard by any means, as we see teams in the top five take on the bottom five teams in each fixture this week.
The most interesting of these is the match between Hillside and West Coburg, with the Sharks fighting to keep their season alive for one more week.
Each side is coming off similar results, with the Burgers unconvincingly holding off the Sunbury Kangaroos by seven points, whilst the Sharks pipped Moonee Valley by three points at Ormond Park.
The reverse fixture was dominated by West Coburg, who stormed away to take a 55-point win, but the boys from the Shoretress have seemed fairly vulnerable in the last four weeks - excluding their dominant performance over Roxburgh Park.
Last week’s result at Shore Reserve should give Hillside the confidence that they can knock off West Coburg on their home deck at Shark Park. With Josh Covelli in fine form, anything can happen in this one.
Rupertswood will also be looking to keep the pressure on the top four when they face Moonee Valley at Salesian College.
The Sharks were controlled from the outset in their massive clash last week against Westmeadows, and with Moonee Valley able to keep close with sides, Rupo will need to be extra careful that they don’t drop this one.
The Fog had yet another agonisingly close loss last week, this time at the hands of Hillside. But the boys from Ormond Park can take comfort in knowing that their previous road trip up to Sunbury was extremely successful, having trounced the Roos by 50 points two weeks prior.
With Rupertswood hanging a game and percentage outside the top four, this clash is a must win.
Speaking of the Sunbury Kangaroos, they’ll have a mammoth task to face this week when they host top-of-the-table Airport West at Eric Boardman Reserve.
The reverse fixture was a brutal result for Sunbury, who were annihilated by the Eagles at Hansen Reserve to the tune of 141 points.
It’s been a tough season for the Roos, who have been marred by injury as well as COVID, and both those factors have inevitably seen them drop to dead last on the ladder. Last week's effort against West Coburg was brilliant, but Airport West is a different beast, and a class above the rest.
Westmeadows will travel up to D.S Aitken Reserve, and will look to seal up the top four when they face Craigieburn away from home. The Tigers have had a brilliant second half of the season, which sees them on a current four game win streak.
With Omar Saad and George Nabbout firing on all cylinders up forward, Westy are an enticing prospect to watch in the next few weeks.
The Eagles were valiant in defeat against the Demons last week, but have lost seven in a row themselves. Coaching changes also haven’t totally helped stabilise the club, but they’ll find comfort in knowing that they’ve all but just secured themselves a spot in Rookie Me Division One for next season.
Finally, Tullamarine will be heading back home to take on Roxburgh Park at Leo Dineen Reserve. The Dees have officially pencilled in second spot on the ladder after last week's win against Craigieburn, but have been far from convincing in patches.
If there’s any team that can cause an upset this week, it is the Magpies, who having missed out on finals this season have nothing to lose. In saying that though, it has been a disappointing back half of the season for Roxy, who at stages found themselves in the top four.
A poor percentage and a four game losing streak sees them currently sit seventh on the ladder, a far cry from where they were earlier in the season.
The Nena and Pasadena Commentary van heads back out west this weekend, with a mammoth “finals deciding” game on offer at Brookside Recreation Reserve.
Hadfield will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive when they face off against Burnside Heights in the Nena and Pasadena Match of the Day.
The Hawks are currently a game and a half behind the Bears with two games left to play in the season. Last week’s heroics from Noah Bazzano needs no introduction, but that kick could potentially have given Hadfield the fuel they need to spur themselves on and snatch fourth spot.
Adversely, the Bears have made their home away from home an absolute fortress this season, having gone 5-2 at Brookside. This also included a dominant 47-point win against the Hawks back in Round 9.
Hadfield will need to get the most out of the division’s leading goal kicker Mark Sabatino, who only managed two goals in their last encounter.
Theodore Sapountzis has been enormous for Burnside Heights this season, and sees himself sitting second behind Sabatino on the goal kicking leaderboard.
Could the Bears make it three straight against the Hawks this season? Or will the Hawks defy the odds and keep their season alive? Be sure to tune in to the Nena and Pasadena Match of the Day from 2pm on Saturday thanks to Cluch TV and 98.9 North West FM to catch all the action.
Coburg Districts have the opportunity to solidify third spot this week when they face Taylors Lakes at Cole Reserve.
The Districts have been almost faultless in the back half of the season, having won eight out of their last nine games to propel themselves into the premiership conversation.
Tom Gleeson’s men have won the other two encounters against the Lions, having beaten them by 11 points in Round 1, and then by 50 points in Round 8.
Adversely, the Lakers have had some heartbreaking results which, had they gone their way, could’ve seen the be firmly placed for a spot in late September.
Keilor Park will be aiming to continue their good form into the final rounds of the season when they travel to Charles Mutton Reserve to face the Northern Saints.
The Devils have won 12 games in a row, their only loss coming at the hands of Hadfield back in Round 1 by two points. Since then, Paul Guicas’s men haven’t put a foot wrong see themselves two games clear on top, picking up the minor premiership.
The Saints have been fairly competitive in patches, and have been able to shake up the finals race slightly. Ultimately, their consistency has let them down this season, but there are certainly positives to take out of the year for Tamer Abdallah.
Finally, Oak Park will travel to Jacana Reserve to face the Jaguars in the last game of the round. The Roos fell into a slight rough patch, having lost two games in a row to Coburg Districts and Keilor Park, but picked themselves back up with a dominant win over the Northern Saints last week.
They’ll be looking to stabilise themselves going into finals, and inevitably hold on to second spot.
THIS WEEKEND’S FIXTURES
AVONDALE HEIGHTS v EAST KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Canning Reserve
KEILOR v GLENROY
Saturday 2:15pm at Joe Brown Oval
ABERFELDIE v PASCOE VALE
Saturday 2:15pm at Clifton Park
MARIBYRNONG PARK v GREENVALE
Saturday 2:15pm at Monk Oval
STRATHMORE v ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS
Saturday 2:15pm at Lebanon Reserve
HILLSIDE v WEST COBURG
Saturday 2:15pm at Hillside Reserve
RUPERTSWOOD v MOONEE VALLEY
Saturday 2:15pm at Salesian College - Oval 1
SUNBURY KANGAROOS v AIRPORT WEST
Saturday 2:15pm at Eric Boardman Reserve - Oval 1
CRAIGIEBURN v WESTMEADOWS
Saturday 2:15pm at DS Aitken Reserve
TULLAMARINE v ROXBURGH PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Leo Dineen Reserve
COBURG DISTRICTS v TAYLORS LAKES
Saturday 2:15pm at Cole Reserve
NORTHERN SAINTS v KEILOR PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Charles Mutton Reserve
JACANA v OAK PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Jacana Reserve