HILLWOOD has started the season with a 50 per cent strike rate and knows cross-river foes Bridgenorth will be no easy beats in round 3.
The Sharks edged past South Launceston and fell short against Bracknell but coach Jacob Lowe is happy with where his players are at.
“Bridgenorth have got a good core through the spine… (and) we feel we’re fighting for similar ladder positions to them,” Lowe said.
“We see it as a must win.”
Forward Andrew Whitmore and defender Grant Hogarth will replace injured pair Mason Keane and Elliott Barnes.
The Parrots are coming off a two-week break following a tight opening-round victory over Scottsdale.
Despite holding up the competition ladder, LONGFORD coach Tom Reinmuth is pleased with his group’s effort against last year’s two grand finalists to start the season.
Reinmuth and youngster Lachie Daikin return for the Country Tigers’ bout against South Launceston at home.
“Playing Bracknell, Rocherlea and South early has been a good test… I’ve drawn a lot of positives with consistency being the main negative,” Reinmuth said.
Bulldogs coach Leigh Harding said this week’s opponent are a very capable team that have been in winning position against “the competition’s two best teams”.
Harding and Jade Child will play after a week off.
GEORGE TOWN hosts Bracknell at Blue Gum Park after getting on the winners’ list a fortnight ago.
Saints coach Allan O’Sign said his side’s fight to overcome Deloraine gave them confidence but improvement in their ability to play four quarters is required.
Redlegs coach Gary Shipton is confident the club can maintain its unblemished record to date in Jacob Gelston 50th match with Tom Broadhurst and Jack Dyer coming in.
“Our transition from the backline has been great at time, our run and carry has been quite pleasing,” he said.
Full forward Glenn Dawson is unavailable.
DELORAINE coach Brett Smith is hoping his players will benefit from having West Coast premiership player Daniel Kerr in their midst at home against Rocherlea.
“I was impressed with our first hit-out, especially the pressure the young guys applied – as happy as you can be with a loss,” Smith said.
“I hope Daniel can help the midfield with the best positions to be in and guide them.”
Andrew Walker and Kerr are the Kangaroos’ only inclusions.
Suburban Tigers coach Lyndon Stubbs said his defensive unit and all-round competitiveness have been rock solid in the first two rounds.
Stubbs said defender Luke Richards would return to the side this week.
Scottsdale has the bye.
TAMAR Cats coach Brennan Cresswell says Saturday’s home battle with Meander Valley Suns has been “marked on the calendar” of his charges since this season’s fixture was released.
A number of Cats, including 2016 coach Joe Hammond, crossed over to the Suns during the off-season – adding some spice to an important match.
“We’re a good chance and just starting to piece it all together,” Cresswell said.
“Harry Adams should come back in to strengthen our forward line, but winning the midfield battle will go a long way to winning us the game.”
Tamar are one of only three teams yet to taste defeat with the Suns among three still to secure points.
Meander coach Michael Bowden said his players had some work to do even up their win-loss ratio.
“Tamar are a side we had a bit of trouble with last year… Daniel Connell will come back in,” he said.
An injury-dented UNI-MOWBRAY host East Coast Swans with both clubs craving four points.
The Eagles have started the year with one win and a loss, while the Swans have suffered two narrow defeats.
Uni coach Anthony Viney said ruckman Majak Mair had been ruled out for the year with an ACL injury, while Kyle Harper broke his arm and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. East Coast coach Ned Hyland said there are more positives than negative to start 2017 and that a win was not far away.
LILYDALE coach Thane Bardenhagen will miss this week’s match against Old Launcestonians and possibly the next two months with a suspected broken fibula.
Bardenhagen said he would use the time coaching from the bench wisely and that the Blues had no doubt improved.
The Demons have been forced to make eight changes with Billy and Jesse Tuckerman among those unavailable, while Joby Reynolds and Andrew McLean return.
Blues coach Wayne Kirby said the club’s leaders stood tall in the win over Uni and that the entire team was meeting expections.
John Harmy, Scott Churchill, Luke Johnson, Josh Collins, Alastair Taylor and Toby Omenchu will all play.
EVANDALE hope to retain the Lewis-Button Cup when it runs into a buoyed Perth at Morven Park.
Eagles coach Anthony Axton and Scott Stephens are certain outs with Jason Bennett, Jarrod Allen, James Miller and Sam Hughes all valuable ins.
“Our improvement from the first to the second week was pretty stark so hopefully we can keep that going,” Axton said. Magpies coach Damian Rhind said it had been eight years since they had beaten St Pats at home and that they were looking to break another drought against their old foes.
ST PATS were left licking its would before Easter and are hungry to rebuild against cross-town rivals Prospect.
Saints coach Alex Russell is looking for more polish in front of goals with ruck-forward Josh Bellchambers, Chris Taylor, Lucas Crawford, Kyle Lanham and Charlie Eastoe drafted into the seniors.
BRIDPORT have had the toughest start of any division 2 club and will not find the going any easier with Old Scotch making the trip North East this week. Seagulls coach Brett Laskey said it had been hard to get a feel for his side playing the best.
Traditional rivals to renew hostilities
EVANDALE is gearing up to host old foes Perth on Saturday and hoping it can win the Lewis-Button cup for the sixth consecutive season.
The cup is named in honour of two past legends – Cliff Lewis from the Eagles and Magpie Pope Button.
Introduced in 2003, Perth won the cup the first eight times but Evandale is slowly working towards squaring the ledger.
Kevin Lewis said his father started a Lewis dynasty at the Eagles with his grandson Kaden the fifth generation to pull on the famous jumper.
“He (Cliff) played about 200 games out there, he was very parochial as was Mr Button at Perth,” Kevin said.
“It is one of the best things they’ve done to introduce this cup – dad would be very pleased.”
Magpies coach Damian Rhind said it was a match his players always looked forward too with a physical encounter almost a certainty.
Evandale, Perth and Bracknell are the only three surviving clubs of the original Esk Association formed in the 1930s.
Volunteer of the Year
Lilydale thank Hawes for time
LILYDALE Football Club volunteer Annette Hawes plays a fairly important role at the Demons.
Hawes is the club’s bar manager and can be found working away every Thursday night, every home game – at the cost of missing her sons play – and at every function post game.
“She has done this for the past 11 years and we don't recall her ever missing a day,” Lilydale secretary Justine Bardenhagen said.
“Annie has strong ties to the club with her husband Barry being president and her sons Bailey and Josh playing seniors.
“She is a great person to have around the club and has a great rapport with players, supporters and anyone who comes into our clubrooms.
“Volunteers like her are rare and we would like to take this opportunity to thank her and let her know how much we appreciate what she does for the club.”
Hawes is this week’s NTFA volunteer of the year nominee.
Burling always willing to help out
CHERYL Burling has been involved with the Bracknell Football Club for more than a decade.
Her commitment started when son Craig began playing under-19’s as a school boy 12 years ago and she has continued her involvement ever since.
Redlegs secretary Nicole Jones said Burling has been responsible for washing the senior guernsey’s for 10 years.
“It’s a 7.30am start on match days as Cheryl helps to set up and prepare the kiosk and she remains in the kiosk until the end of the day,” Jones said.
“She is a member of the Bracknell Football Club catering committee… (and) was named the Keith Philpott Memorial club person of the year in 2016 for her hard work and loyalty.
“The committee, players and supporters are pleased to recognise Cheryl Burling for her outstanding contribution.” Burling was the NTFA volunteer of the year nominee over Easter.