THE competition will revisit round 1 on Saturday with some clubs looking to turn the tables and others hoping to reaffirm their ascendancy.
Undefeated premiership favourite Bracknell travels to Tigerland for a rivalry bout with sixth-placed Longford, which has shown some signs of improvement with two straight victories.
Redlegs coach Gary Shipton said Jacob Gelston would return from suspension and that David Abraham had recovered from injury.
“It doesn’t matter where the two clubs are situated, it’s always a tight contest. Longford play quite well on their home ground and they have a completely different structure to what they have had in previous years,” he said.
Tigers boss Tom Reinmuth said his club is working well together from the under-18s up and is confident his charges can go a long way to overturning the 28-point deficit from April.
“We’re starting to lay some foundations for a game plan to be formed around our personnel… [and] finals are definitely a realistic opportunity.”
Ruckman Cody Thorp, Ben Chugg, Lachlan Daikin, Ben Murfett and Jake Murfett are all available for selection.
HILLWOOD was five goals better than South Launceston last time around and Bulldogs coach Leigh Harding is fully aware what the Sharks are capable of, especially at home.
Both sides boast a 6-2 win-loss record at the half-way point and are eight points behind Bracknell.
“They gave us a touch up in every facet… we did a video review of that game and it certainly highlighted some home truths, which we have all taken on board. We are using that game as motivation,” Harding said.
Star Dogs Joel Mountney, Clinton Drake, Aaron Viney, David Patten and James Carlson are all a chance to play.
BRIDGENORTH secured its only win against Scottsdale but a North East trip presents a different task.
“We’re not starting real well and something we’ll be mindful of this week to take their influence out of the game early,” Magpies coach Geoff Mohr said.
“They got us by four points last time and they have been pushing teams.” He said injuries would sideline Josh Whelan and Joe Robinson with Ryan Glover to take a fitness test at training.
GEORGE TOWN hosts Rocherlea and Saints coach Allan O’Sign is hoping his players can better their two wins to date in the second half of the season.
The Tigers won convincingly to kickstart their title defence but sit in fifth position following a month of patchy form.
“We’ve had two weeks off so we have trained really hard to give ourselves the best opportunity to perform better,” O’Sign said.
O’Sign will miss the next three weeks, while Chev Deacon and Harry Holland will debut.
PLAYING for Longford was inevitable for Ben Chugg with his grandfather, father and uncles all pulling on the yellow and black jumper.
The 30-year-old Launceston Airport firefighter will run out against Bracknell on Saturday for his 200th senior match – 12 years after his debut under Anthony Gibbons’ tutelage.
Chugg played all his junior football at Tigerland and has morphed into a solid clubman.
The midfielder played in the club’s 2004 under-19s premiership under Andrew Philpott, has won two senior best and fairests, is a former captain and coached the Tigers in 2015 and 2016.
“Your first game is big and to play that with my brother and cousin along side me was fantastic,” Chugg said.
“To play in two grand finals, although we didn’t win, were also big highlights.”
The father of two, soon to be three, said the desire to play in a senior premiership with Longford kept his passion burning.
Cam Gard (150th), Tom Cox (100th) and Anthony Walker (50th) will also rack up senior milestones.
TWO former North East Football Union rivals will face off in the NTFA for the first time on Saturday.
Bridport hosts third-placed East Coast with Swans coach Ned Hyland keen to renew hostilities.
“There is going to be a little bit of history there to hang around forever now since we were two of the four to come across,” Hyland said.
“We are excited for that and even better we are playing great football, we want to stay with that group at the top of the tree.” Swans midfielder Pearce Robinson has been ruled out with shin troubles and will be replaced by Jack Taylor-Evans.
Seagulls coach Brett Laskey said he is still restricted by a long injury list and is predicting “a real tough day”.
“I don’t think we will get too many back with a few guys with long-term injuries. We just want to keep getting better and be competitive,” Laskey said.
LILYDALE will be bolstered by the return of five first-choice players for its home duel with Perth following two consecutive losses.
Jack Venn, Beau Tuthill, Reuben Rothwell, Bard Rayner and Levi Tuthill will again line up, pleasing Demons coach Thane Bardenhagen.
“We are still right in the race and we will get key personnel over the next couple of weeks,” Bardenhagen said.
“Our outlook is still pretty bright, we just have to rebuild from those losses.
“We just need continuity as we’ve had 10 of our top 24 players out.”
Perth is level with Lilydale, East Coast and St Pats on points and in a battle for third position.
ST PATS coach Alex Russell said his charges have closed the gap between their best and worst football leading into an important clash with Tamar Cats.
“Top three is absolutely achievable. It was our mindset from the start of the season and we had a tough couple of months but we have played ourselves into form,” Russell said.
“I think we now understand the game style we want to implement each week.”
After a positive start, the Cats have dropped four out of their past five matches.
EVANDALE has a two-game stronghold on second spot and is keen to keep it with a win over last-placed Meander Valley at Morven Park.
“We have to stay there in eight games time,” Eagles coach Anthony Axton said.
“The Suns haven’t had a great year but they are going to come out to challenge us and we have got to be wary of them.”
Evandale could regain Michael Rainbow, Brady Wagner and Brad Scott-Power as it looks to sure up its best 22 ahead of a showdown with Old Scotch next week.
The Suns have conceded the second most amount of points in the competition (955) and scored the least amount (419) to date.
OLD SCOTCH and Old Launcestonians will contest one of two round 9 matches under lights on Friday night.
Blues coach Wayne Kirby is excited for his side’s test against the undefeated perennial premiers at NTCA Ground. “This is the ultimate test,” Kirby said.
In the other match, UNI-MOWBRAY and Prospect will tussle at University Oval with both teams hoping to register their second victory.
Both matches will start about 6pm with all other fixtures to be played out on Saturday from 2pm.
TWL North football resumes on Friday with Rocherlea hosting Evandale at 6.30pm and Prospect travelling to Scottsdale for a 7pm start.
Rocherlea will look to test the young Weagles outfit in front of their home crowd in a vital game for both teams.
The Weagles need to start building some momentum heading into finals and the Tigers will want to bounce back after last round’s big loss to Scottsdale.
Renee Wilson, Jackie Harvey and Kartley Broad are unavailable for the Weagles with Angela Thompson and Maddi Bugg returning and will look to Courtney Grice and Grace Gee to continue their strong year. Rocherlea are improving every game with Angela Dickson and Madeline Howe leading from the front.
Prospect faces a monumental task against the rampaging Magpies and will need Sarah Radford and Tayla Ronken at their best. Alex Hall and Dearne Taylor have been great for the Magpies.
Mark Tidey is the Hillwood Football Club volunteer of the week.
Mark joined the committee five years ago and has proved to be one of the hardest working.
He has displayed all sorts of abilities including, working in the kiosk at home games and Thursday night teas, which includes deep frying, barbecuing, washing up, stocking up the fridges, peeling potatoes and serving.
Mark is responsible for keeping footballs up to date and is one of the club’s top people in working at Agfest and Party in the Paddock helping with setting up, cooking, serving and cleaning up.
One of the main people assisting the club in creating and installing sponsorship signage, Mark is also involved in a secretarial role at monthly meetings.
He has also a huge contribution in the placement of the club’s new drains on its recreation ground and the club said he is a fantastic committee person.