There are a number of crucial games, colloquially referred to as 'eight-pointers', in Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division this weekend.
While it's hard to split three of the integral match-ups, we'll start at Lebanon Reserve.
Strathmore have been the pacesetters of the competition since their Good Friday defeat at the hands of Keilor.
Since that day in early April, the Mores have been largely unchallenged as they've rampaged through the opposition the last seven rounds.
The assembled roster Matthew Horne has at his disposal is the envy of most coaches with stars on every line of the field.
His leading goal kicker, Athan Tsialtas, returned to the line-up last week after featuring for Coburg in the VFL to convert four majors to take his season tally to 23.
Kyle Weightman, Thomas Denning and Daniel Mammoliti have so far proven good alternate avenues when going forward.
However, we know the vicelike grip the Aberfeldie backline can provide.
The likes of Josh Toy and Luke Davis have been at their vintage best this season, with Abers conceding more than 67 points in a game just twice so far this season.
Defence has been a strong asset to Strathmore as well this season with Liam Cavanagh proving to be a rock in defence alongside the experience of Luke Jarrad.
Consider this a must win for Aberfeldie to keep themselves in touch with the top two of the premier division.
Fourth spot is equally as tight as things stands and expect the contest at Monk Oval to play a big part in the final standings of this year.
The Nena and Pasadena EDFL Match of the Day van will find itself parked alongside the river as Maribyrnong Park and Pascoe Vale face off.
With just percentage separating the two sides, there will be all to play for come Saturday.
Matthew Watson is the leading goal kicker in Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division and is a formidable match-up for any defence.
Brad Inglis has been his main foil for goal so far this season for Digby Morell with 16 majors but missed last week's win against Greenvale.
Panthers youngster Aaron Hilton has had moments this year in front of goal but it will take a team effort to support Watson in front of goal.
At the other end Brandon Ryan has been the Lions' best forward this season, but don't rule out the influence big-man Nick Prowse can have with his incredible contested marking ability.
We'll head to Section Road now for a game that may be make-or-break for the Jets.
After some honourable losses to begin the year against Aberfeldie and Keilor, Greenvale has failed to deliver outside of their wins against lower opposition.
Darren Bewick's side has so far notched up wins against the current bottom three in Craigieburn, Glenroy and Essendon Doutta Stars, but their last two fixtures have seen them go down to Maribyrnong Park and Pascoe Vale.
The game on Saturday against Avondale Heights proves a great chance for the Jets to show they are still a force to be reckoned with in Premier Division.
There is still plenty of talent on this Greenvale list despite a few injuries.
Chris Farchione has been as reliable as ever, Sam Zumbo provides great drive from the back-half, while Tyson Young and rising star Dylan Aridas have been influential in front of the big sticks.
Their opponent in Avondale Heights had a hiccup last week against Strathmore but will be looking to bounce back in what should be a great test for the emerging Heights.
Another game for Patrick Rose in this new system will only see the veteran have greater influence on the contest, especially with a midfield of Brad Robb, Jackson Robb, Danko Bzenic, Matt Cravino and Dinny Clearly delivering the ball in.
At Nipper Jordan Oval, Essendon Doutta Stars face the tough task of Keilor come Saturday.
The Stars have shown signs at times this year but have struggled to put together four quarters of football on a consistent basis.
With an important match-up against Craigieburn just around the corner, the Stars will do well to protect their percentage here.
And as Strathmore and Aberfeldie face-off this week, Keilor will be looking to make a statement at the top of the table.
Finally, ninth and tenth go head-to-head at Sewell Reserve as Glenroy host Craigieburn.
While just one win separates the two clubs, Glenroy has a significantly better percentage than the Eagles.
Ross Terranova's side is better than their 1-7 form line suggests, with inaccuracy and lack of composure at times costing the Roys on a number of occasions so far this season.
They'll have to be at the top of their game this weekend with Craigieburn eyeing this game off as a must win as far as a relegation battle goes.
Lance Whitnall's side has had plenty of green shoots this year but with Nab League football taking priority, some of coach's best players this season are unavailable on a week-to-week basis.
- Adam Russell
Strathmore Community Bank Division One is just heating up, and with more monster games to come this week, ladder ramifications are definitely at stake.
The Sunbury Kangaroos will return to their home deck as they host Tullamarine at Eric Boardman Reserve.
The Roos came off a tough 29-point loss last weekend to Westmeadows, with a slow first quarter inevitably dictating the outcome of the game.
The Dees managed to pull through in a nervy and eventful contest at Leo Dineen Reserve.
A full four quarter effort will be required to challenge Tulla, who have also had their own consistency issues in their win against the Magpies.
Tullamarine still bolster a great forward line, with Brad Allen (four goals) and Anthony Prestia (three goals) steadying the ship last week.
Cooper Perry has also jumped into the top five on the goal-kicking leaderboard, with his 20 goals so far this season.
Back to back home games at Shark Park see Hillside host Roxburgh Park this week.
The Sharks were able to scrape over the line against Rupertswood in a low scoring affair, but the ability to close out tight games would no doubt be a pleasing sight to see.
Their unpredictability up forward is a potential cause for headaches for opposing sides, as they produced seven different goal scorers in tough conditions.
The Pies will be looking to emulate the awesome brand of footy that they produced at Leo Dineen Reserve, with the hope that they will be able to maintain their consistency for the full four quarters this time around.
If they do this, they are well and truly a chance to win this game.
Westmeadows will be looking to snag three wins in a row, and a potential top four berth when they make the trip down to Lionheart Reserve.
Things don’t get easier for the Lions with the loss of Patrick Rose last week, and another tough defeat at the hands of Airport West at Hansen Reserve.
Depending on other results in the division, the Tigers could potentially sit in fourth spot after the weekend’s games.
Westy will be looking to exploit the Lions’ defence through the help of Jayden Ranno and Omar Saad who continue to impress up forward.
Rupertswood will be aiming to bounce back this week at Salesian College after a tough loss away from home.
The only problem is, they face an in-form East Keilor outfit who are coming off an extremely impressive victory in their first home appearance of the season.
Rupertswood will need to pay close attention to Victor Micallef in the midfield, as well as Chris Stewart who has been an excellent addition to Pat Christofi’s side this year.
For the Sharks, Matthew Elliot has the potential to cause headaches for opposition sides, and three goals last week against Hillside is only one example of this.
Finally, it’s been a while since 'The Shoretress' saw some EDFL footy, but after a number of weeks off West Coburg will play host to Airport West in arguably this week’s match of the round.
Third vs Fourth, one game between them, the Eagles have come off a massive percentage boosting win at home against Taylors Lakes.
The boys from Hansen Reserve have shown off their offensive power a number of times this season, and with Westmeadows hot on their tails, the pressure will no doubt be on them.
The one worry for the Eagles is their inability to defeat the top four sides. With losses to Tullamarine, East Keilor and even Westmeadows, they will be hoping that they can change the narrative this week.
For the Burgers, their performance against East Keilor has won them many admirers, with Dale May’s side just being pipped in the last ten minutes of the game.
Lynden Dunn has continued his brilliant run of form, booting four goals against the ladder leaders and jumping into second spot on the goal-kicking leaderboard.
Daniel Johncock is also peaking at the right time with a near best-on-ground performance at Overland Reserve.
Round 9 of Strathmore Community Bank Division Two commences with Burnside Heights hosting Keilor Park with both sides battling for ascendency in the fight for the top four.
Burnside is coming off a dominant performance over Jacana and Keilor Park are coming off a shock loss to Northern Saints, but this will be a close one.
There will be a number of players to keep an eye on in this one.
Josh Covelli is coming off a season-high 19 goals and knows how to kick a bag and the impressive midfield of Ferdinando Petrarca and Omer Mohammed Ali who looking to rack up possession after possession on Saturday.
While for Keilor Park Dimitrios Guicas, Matthew Brown and Daniel Mifsud will lead the way for the Devils in this big game, whoever wins will cause a huge butterfly effect for the other’s top-four chances.
Elsewhere in Division 2, surprise packets Northern Saints will host East Sunbury.
It has been an odd year for Northern Saints from losing by 142 points against Moonee Valley to now knocking off Keilor Park and Hadfield so far this season.
If they want to continue their good form then a win over East Sunbury keeps them in the top four hunt as well.
While for East Sunbury it has been a year of disappointment in terms of win-loss ratio but young gun Cooper Mcpharlane and Kamen Ogilvie have been impressive with over 40 goals between them.
If they get a run on against a side that likes a shootout it maybe a Thunder win but the boys from North Coburg are marching in nicely.
On the other side of Sydney Road, Coburg Districts will face an undermanned Hadfield at Cole Reserve.
If this is the time for Tom Gleeson’s men to be in the finals conversation then a win over Hadfield is what they need to do.
While for the Hawks they're coming off a week of chaos with their thumping loss to Moonee Valley including multiple injuries to key players.
One big injury to Keegan Shrimpton, Brett Pitt's main ruckman, means the Hawks will be down a ruck which could work in the Districts favour.
So will the Hawks find a way through adversity or will the Districts return from an extended break to hit the winner's list?
Finally, at Jacana Reserve it will be a David vs Goliath battle when Jacana plays Moonee Valley.
For the Fog, they will be looking to bank the percentage and the four points while for Jacana anything is possible in sport as we know and if the Jags do cause the upset they will send shockwaves across the league.
But common sense will tell you that this contest could turn nasty at Jacana Reserve on Saturday.
- Patrick Morrow
THIS WEEKEND’S FIXTURES
STRATHMORE v ABERFELDIE
Saturday 2:15pm at Lebanon Reserve
GREENVALE v AVONDALE HEIGHTS
Saturday 2:15pm at Section Road
GLENROY v CRAIGIEBURN
Saturday 2:15pm at Sewell Reserve
ESSENDON DOUTTA STARS v KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Nipper Jordan Oval
WEST COBURG v AIRPORT WEST
Saturday 2:15pm at Shore Reserve
TAYLORS LAKES v WESTMEADOWS
Saturday 2:15pm at Lionheart Reserve
SUNBURY KANGAROOS v TULLAMARINE
Saturday 2:15pm at Eric Boardman Reserve
RUPERTSWOOD v EAST KEILOR
Saturday 2:15pm at Salesian College
HILLSIDE v ROXBURGH PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Hillside Reserve
JACANA v MOONEE VALLEY
Saturday 2:15pm at Jacana Reserve
NORTHERN SAINTS v EAST SUNBURY
Saturday 2:15pm at John McMahon Reserve
BURNSIDE HEIGHTS v KEILOR PARK
Saturday 2:15pm at Burnside Heights Recreational Reserve
COBURG DISTRICTS v HADFIELD
Saturday 2:15pm at Cole Reserve
Oak Park has the BYE.