A REPLAY of last year’s preliminary final will make for a good contest even if mother nature does its best to spoil the party on Saturday.
Undefeated ladder-leader Bracknell hosts a second-placed South Launceston side hoping to avenge its loss at the penultimate stage eight months ago.
Just four points separate the two contenders who have both knocked off reigning premier Rocherlea in the past two weeks.
“Knowing they’re a young and quick side it is going to be a good challenge,” Redlegs coach Gary Shipton said.
“We count ourselves as underdogs for every game we go into.”
Bulldogs coach Leigh Harding said his players are moving the ball well around the ground and is mindful forecast heavy rain may make the match a war of attrition. “When we’re playing our best footy we’re hunting and outnumbering and this week the focus will be making the most of our opportunities in front of goal,” he said.
HILLWOOD has the chance to give itself a two-game buffer over nearest rival George Town at Blue Gum Park.
A win would see the Sharks skip eight points clear in fifth spot but coach Jacob Lowe is not taking anything for granted, knowing the Saints are more than capable of getting the job done.
“They have improved and when we played them at home last year they gave us a pretty good touch up so we are pretty wary of that,” Lowe said. Sharks Josh Moore and Ryan Choveaux will undergo fitness tests with Jordan Grieves a chance to return to the seniors.
George Town coach Allan O’Sign said a lot was riding on the result and backed his team to rebound from a heavy loss to Scottsdale.
DELORAINE coach Brett Smith said his charges have been heartened by their first victory last week and are prepared to face Scottsdale at home.
“Our endeavour and pressure was outstanding and we will look to replicate that again,” Smith said.
“We’ve set a standard for ourselves and now we’ve got to stick with it.”
Young Roo Oliver Smith misses with school football, while the Magpies lose Ryan Glover and regain Ken Walsh.
Scottsdale coach Geoff Mohr said the next three weeks would go a long way to seeing where his side fits within the competition.
ROCHERLEA and Bridgenorth are both looking to regain some form after a run of losses.
The Suburban Tigers have gone two weeks without a win and coach Lyndon Stubbs is hoping his players can regain continuity.
“They knocked us off at home last year so they will be a good test,” Stubbs said.
Parotts coach Patrick Mackrell said his team’s woes are mental after being in winning positions the past three weeks. Rocherlea forward Field Reeves will return.
EVANDALE and Lilydale’s clash at Morven Park on Saturday has been billed as a “mini final” despite just over one quarter of the home and away season being played out.
The Country Eagles are yet to taste defeat but Demons boss Thane Bardenhagen is looking to change that at Morven Park.
“I’ve had a good look at the roster and how everything works, and it could decide the battle for second spot really,” he said.
“If we drop another game we are two games behind them and we’ll have to rely on them to lose two games, but if we win we’re level and keep that race alive which is really important with how the top six is set up.”
Evandale coach Anthony Axton said a favourable draw had helped an Eagles team hungry for a top-end challenge.
Warwick Johnson, Jarrod Allen and James Miller have all been ruled out, while Daniel Newton returns.
TAMAR CATS are looking to continue their positive start with a fifth win over Old Launcestonians.
“We will certainly be looking to take this one with two hands to help us keep our distance on some clubs,” Cats coach Brennan Cresswell said.
“We will be without Jason Savage, Nathan Croft, Josh Allen and Jonathon Wells with Aaron Brooks and Simon Edmunds up for selection.”
Blues coach Wayne Kirby said his players’ effort is not matching their ability with a 1-5 start to 2017.
Kirby confirmed five inclusions – Ben and Jeremy Jackson, Adrian Collins, Campbell Fraser, Josh Schaeche – but did not name those to be dropped.
ST PATS host Bridport under lights with Saints coach Alex Russell keen to see some execution improvement.
“We always want to be in front with more wins than losses and sitting at 2-3 we want to change that around as soon as possible,” Russell said.
“Our next seven weeks are fairly important and we expect to win a fair few of those games.”
Bradey Mcintyre is out indefinitely with a calf injury and Harry Chapman is unavailable for St Pats.
The Seagulls are coming of their maiden victory and coach Brett Laskey is unsure of what to expect from the “inconsistent” Saints.
The reserves start at 3.50pm, followed by the seniors at 6pm.
PERTH has the chance to announce itself as a finals team with four points against Prospect at Prospect Park.
“It’s a good opportunity for us but it also poses as a bit of danger because not being in this sort of position for such a long time can lead to a false sense of being further ahead than where we are,” Magpies coach Damian Rhind said.
Josh Clark will re-join the Pies.
UNI-MOWBRAY possesses the coveted Butzin-Jordan cup and Old Scotch co-coach Jake Terry is keen to win it back.
“Both blokes were highly regarded and we missed out narrowly last year and will be endeavouring to claim it back,” Terry said.
“Uni have been very competitive against us over the past three years and I expect this weekend to be no different.
“They will try and rattle us.”
MEANDER VALLEY and East Coast will do battle at Westbury Oval with Swans coach Ned Hyland looking to make up to seven changes to his side.
Encounter to honour past club legends
UNI-MOWBRAY and Old Scotch will hold their annual tribute match for two greats when they vye for the Butzin-Jordan cup on Saturday.
The two clubs first played for the memorial cup in 2006 to acknowledge young Thistles star Butzin, who was killed in a road crash aged 23 on the morning of the club’s corresponding match in 2005.
Following the death of Eagles legend Jeff ‘Abbs’ Jordan in 2011, it was decided to honour both for their contributions.
Uni president Wayne Thompson said is was a fixture players from both clubs look forward to.
“Even at his young age, Lucas was well respected not only by the members of his club but also the footballing fraternity in general,” he said.
“Jeff was a long-standing committee and life member … [and] a highly-credentialed player who was selected in the Mowbray team of 25 years.
“The cup is presented to the winning team and a player is selected from each club to receive an inscribed medallion for their contribution to the game.”
PROSPECT will hope to record its first win of the TWL North season when it hosts Scottsdale on Saturday.
The winless Hawks play an inform Magpies team with Tayla Ronken, Alissia Pearson and Megan Grice impressing for the home team to date. Scottsdale will look to Alex Hall, Crystal Bowerman and Leticia Johnson to kick a winning score as they chase a top-two position.
The match starts at 12.15pm.
LADDER-LEADERS Evandale encounter third-placed Rocherlea at Morven Park from 10am. Both teams have plenty to play for with the Tigers fighting to keep in touch with the unbeaten Weagles.
Renee Wilson and Kartley Broad return for Evandale with Courtney Grice out injured and Alicia Faulkner working.
Brittany Grice and Grace Gee have been great for the Weagles, while Angela Dickson, Madeline Howe and Ashlee Carey will lead the Tigers’ charge.
Evandale thankful helper’s services
Ray Bryan and his family's service to the Evandale Football Club has been outstanding, says president Pat Davey.
“Ray's father and uncles played in the Eagles’ first premiership in 1933 and were all committee members in their time,” Davey said.
“Ray started with the club back in the 1950s and played around 100 games.
“He loved his time playing mostly with blokes he went to school with.”
Bryan was an assistant coach of the club’s mini league team for years when his son Scott played juniors.
“Ray’s roles at the club have been varied over the years and his easy-going nature makes him loved by all who know him,” Davey said.
“He currently does the time keeping for games and helps out with player’s teas night and wherever needed.
“As a club we are richer for the Bryan family involvement.”
Bryan is this week’s MyState volunteer of the year nominee.