After an exhilarating Round 11 in Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division, Round 12 settles down slightly, with all contending top five sides playing each of the bottom five sides this weekend.
Aberfeldie is set to host Avondale Heights at Clifton Park, a side which picked up their first win of the season last week in emphatic fashion.
Conversely, the two blues will be looking to maintain their stronghold on top of the Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division ladder, after another big win against Essendon Doutta Stars without a number of top end players such as Adam Marcon, Kyle Reimers, Nick Meese and Luke Davis.
Abers currently have a one-and-a-half game gap between themselves and second placed Keilor, after the Blues suffered a massive 50-point loss at the hands of Strathmore at Joe Brown Oval.
Mick McGuane’s men will be travelling to Monk Oval to face Maribyrnong Park, a side that will be itching at the bit to bounce back from their shock loss to Avondale Heights at Canning Reserve last week.
The Lions currently sit three games out of the top four, and two games behind fifth placed Strathmore, but an upset win this week could potentially give them the spark that they need to kick start their season again.
The boys from Lebanon Reserve will be looking to continue their brilliant run of form when they host the bottom of the ladder, Glenroy.
The Roys have been dealt a difficult hand with their injuries this season, with Will Humphries, Adam Del Busso and Josh Ksiazek still out with injury.
The positive for Ross Terranova’s side is that of Aaron Kite’s return last week in which he booted four goals in a valiant ten-point loss to Greenvale.
Strathmore almost seems to be back at full strength again, as they dismantled Keilor in brilliant fashion. They will be looking to keep the pressure on the top four this week with another win.
Elsewhere, Pascoe Vale will be aiming to keep the heat on the top two when they face Essendon Doutta Stars at Nipper Jordan Oval.
The Panthers won this encounter back in Round 3 by 55 points, but have been much improved since then. A massive win against East Keilor last week has given Digby Morell’s side the belief that they can make a bigger impact in the finals than once thought.
After a bag of eight goals in Round 10, Matthew Watson was kept goalless at Overland Reserve, but Pascoe Vale were able to find other avenues to goal.
Finally, Greenvale will travel back home to Section Road to host East Keilor. The Jets have had some decent results in the last couple of weeks, but will be rueing some losses to their percentage, having only beaten Glenroy by ten points last weekend.
The Cougars absolutely dismantled the Jets in their previous encounter in Round 3, taking out a monstrous 127-point win at home. They will also be looking to bounce back after their tough loss last week to Pascoe Vale.
As the Rookie Me Division One top four battle heats up, a number of sides will be aiming to maintain their consistency and remain in the hunt for a finals berth. Local derbies also headline Round 12, with the Nena and Pasadena Match of the Day heading to Sunbury.
After a brilliant win in Round 11 against Rupertswood, Roxburgh Park will be looking to stay in the top four when they travel to D.S Aitken Reserve to face Craigieburn in the battle of the 3064 postcode.
The Eagles themselves, will be looking to bounce back after a tough 79-point loss to Airport West in the clash of the birds last week.
This matchup in Round 3 proved to be a heart stopper, with the Magpies holding on for the two-point win at Lakeside Drive. Sam Rexhepi kicked an unbelievable nine out of the twelve goals for the visitors, but Craigieburn will need more than that this time around if they want any chance of a win.
The Nena and Pasadena commentary van will be heading up the Calder Freeway this week, as the Sunbury Kangaroos and Rupertswood headline this week's match of the day. The second Sunbury derby of the year will be held at Eric Boardman Reserve, with both sides looking to bounce back after losses in Round 11.
The Sharks from Salesian College were able to take the spoils back in Round 3, with a brilliant 37-point win at home. The Roos have struggled with injuries and consistency all year long, but were able to perform competitively in a shootout last week against Hillside.
After a nervy one-point win last week, Tullamarine will be looking to steady the ship back home at Leo Dineen Reserve as they lock horns with Hillside.
The Sharks will be storming in to make it three in a row, with wins against Roxburgh Park and the Sunbury Kangaroos spearing them to only one game behind Rupertswood and Westmeadows.
Josh Covelli has also waltzed back into brilliant form, booting 13 goals in the last two games.
The old Demons' clubrooms have now been demolished, paving the way for a new era of football at the historic home of the red and the blue. Expect Tulla to play with the same heart and fight of old though, as they aim to pile the pressure on the top two race with Airport West.
Speaking of the boys from the Nest in the West, they will be travelling to Willowbrook Reserve to take on Westmeadows in Round 12. The Tigers will be looking to bounce back after a tough, tight loss to West Coburg last week at the Shoretress.
A topsy-turvy Anzac Day clash at Hansen Reserve saw the Eagles take the chocolates by 37 points, but having seen that Airport West are beatable, the Tigers will go in to this one with full confidence. Westy have shown glimpses of dominant football this year, but will need more consistency against the ladder leaders in this one.
After an agonising loss last week at the hands of Tullamarine, Moonee Valley did not lose any admirers. However, another tough battle lies ahead when they host West Coburg at Ormond Park.
The Burgers were able to withstand the pressure from Westmeadows to walk away with a seven-point win at home, but the Fog have come close on multiple occasions this year, but haven’t walked away with the spoils. Anything can happen in this one, but the boys from the Shoretress have more to lose and will be aiming to keep third spot in Round 12.
Things are just starting to tighten up in Strathmore Community Bank Division Two. Only one game separates the pack from 3rd to 6th, with big results making the competition even more interesting.
Without a doubt the biggest game of the round, Hadfield will be looking to put a tough two weeks behind them, and halt the brilliant run of Coburg Districts when they lock horns at Martin Reserve.
The Hawks were valiant in defeat against Oak Park but will rue missed opportunities to keep the Districts a game behind for another week.
Tom Gleeson’s men are well and truly in the hunt for a finals berth, and a win against Hadfield will certainly propel them into the top four.
After a shaky and unconvincing start to the season, the boys from Cole Reserve have hit their straps and picked up some extremely important results, having won four out of their last five games which also included a tough two-point loss to Keilor Park.
Hadfield will be looking for more forward dominance from Mark Sabatino, who booted four goals against the Roos last week.
Elsewhere, Taylors Lakes will also be aiming to pile the pressure on the finals race when they host Oak Park at Lionheart Reserve.
The Lions have won their last two games against Jacana and the Northern Saints whilst picking up percentage in the process, and evidently only sit two points outside the four alongside Coburg Districts.
It’s no doubt a challenging task ahead for the Lakers, who were dismantled by 81 points in their previous encounter with the Roos at J.P Fawkner Reserve.
However, a win against a side in the top four is not beyond them. They did just fall just short against Keilor Park by one-point earlier in the season, whilst sharing the points with Burnside Heights, before just falling short against Hadfield again by four points. But anything can happen in this division. Don’t sleep on Taylors Lakes just yet.
Burnside Heights will be eager to bounce back after a tough loss at the hands of Coburg Districts last week, when they face the Northern Saints at Brookside Reserve.
It was a close encounter earlier in the season though, with the Bears just scraping over the line by two points in a heart stopping finish at Charles Mutton Reserve.
The Bears have bottled games to other contending sides, with the exception of Hadfield in which they won in remarkable fashion by 47 points.
There is no little to no separation between them and the Hawks, Districts and Lions. Aiden Stott’s men will enjoy a two week period with games against the bottom two sides though, which will inevitably bring both wins and percentage back to the Bears’ den.
It’s safe to say though that with the competition so close, Burnside Heights cannot afford to slip up in any of those “eight pointer” games between the other contending sides.
Finally, Keilor Park will be aiming to make it ten wins in a row when they host Jacana at Keilor Park Reserve. The Devils have been brilliant since their tough loss to Hadfield in round one, but have come slightly too close for comfort in a couple of occasions.
A one-point victory over Taylors Lakes, and a two-point win against Coburg Districts have been warning signs that any side in Strathmore Community Bank Division 2 can be beaten.
Robbie Castello has jumped up to fifth on the goal kicking tally, equal fourth with Taylors Lakes’ Luke Nappi on 26 goals. It’s been a brilliant year so far for the veteran, who’s enjoyed bags of four and five goals on multiple occasions this season.
Jacana have enjoyed some fairly decent scores in the last few rounds, but an inaccurate reading of 1.7.13 last week will surely be disappointing.
THIS WEEKEND’S FIXTURES
STRATHMORE v GLENROY
Saturday 2:15pm at Lebanon Reserve
ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS v PASCOE VALE
Saturday 2:15pm at Nipper Jordan Oval
MARIBYRNONG PARK v KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Monk Oval
GREENVALE v EAST KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Greenvale Recreation Reserve
ABERFELDIE v AVONDALE HEIGHTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Clifton Park
WESTMEADOWS v AIRPORT WEST
Saturday 2:15pm at Willowbrook Reserve
CRAIGIEBURN v ROXBURGH PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at DS Aitken Reserve
TULLAMARINE v HILLSIDE
Saturday 2:15pm at Leo Dineen Reserve
MOONEE VALLEY v WEST COBURG
Saturday 2:15pm at Ormond Park
HADFIELD v COBURG DISTRICTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Martin Reserve
KEILOR PARK v JACANA
Saturday 2:15pm at Keilor Park Reserve
TAYLORS LAKES v OAK PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Lionheart Reserve
BURNSIDE HEIGHTS v NORTHERN SAINTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Brookside Recreation Reserve