NTFA division 1 and 2 match previews | July 15

DIVISION 1

LONGFORD and Bridgenorth have enjoyed some thrilling contests in recent times and will again battle each other at Tigerland on Saturday.

The Country Tigers are four points clear of the Parrots, who are one of three teams on three wins, and snuck home by three points in round 4. However, Bridgenorth surprised the competition by taking down Hillwood before the competition bye – snapping an eight-game losing streak.

“We match up with one another pretty well and both teams are searching for wins late in the year,” Longford caretaker coach Roydon Peters said. “We outscored South in the last quarter, which is one positive we took out of our last match.”

MINE: Longford's Nathan Jackson dives for the ball against Bridgenorth earlier this season. The Tigers prevailed, just.

MINE: Longford's Nathan Jackson dives for the ball against Bridgenorth earlier this season. The Tigers prevailed, just.

HILLWOOD hosts a Scottsdale side that has not played a match since its loss to South Launceston on June 24.

The Magpies prevailed by 23 points earlier this season with the teams evenly matched.

“Hillwood are tough to beat at home but if we want to be pushing for a top-three spot we need to be winning games like this,” Scottsdale coach Geoff Mohr said.

“Joe Krushka will play.”

The Pies will be without in-form defender Neil Oliver, who was rubbed out for six weeks for striking.

SOUTH LAUNCESTON coach Leigh Harding said his side is progressing towards its best football with four consecutive wins and a 9-2 win-loss record.

The Bulldogs’ next task is ninth-placed George Town at Youngtown Oval with the Saints set to regain coach Allan O'Sign, forward Josh Knight and Jack Hulse.

Knight kicked five goals in the last encounter with the Dogs and Harding said he is likely to send Joel Mountney or Rory Mansell his way. 

“George Town have really served it up to us recently… (and) with five games left til finals we want to try and get better at the things we are doing well,” Harding said.

South’s Jordan Tepper is ineligible through suspension (one week) as is George Town’s Lee Emani (two weeks). “We’re crying out for a much improved effort but we have been missing six to eight of our best 22, which has taken a toll on our depth,” O’Sign said.

DELORAINE faces another uphill challenge against ladder-leaders Bracknell.

Richard Howe (eight goals) proved a massive headache for Roos coach Brett Smith in April and he knows they are the competition’s benchmark. “They’re going to take a bit of stopping… they are a similar side to Rocherlea [who defeated Deloraine by 123 points last round]. We’ve got to take a leaf out of their book,” Smith said.

Smith said Adam Crawford would replace the unavailable Shaughan Killalea. 

Redlegs are coming off a massive win over the Saints, while the Roos lost heavily to reigning premier Rocherlea which has the bye.

DIVISION 2

A TOP-TWO finish is at stake for premiership contenders Evandale and East Coast at Morven Park on Saturday.

The second-placed Country Eagles are one win clear of the Swans, who have taken out their past six encounters.

“This match could determine if we finish second or fourth and with a final six this year, a top-two spot is important,” Evandale coach Anthony Axton said.

“You can work hard all year and only drop a couple of games, but if you drop this one you’re back in the pack.

“East Coast’s top-end players are as good, if not better than anyone’s, so we need to find a way to nullify them and hope our last six are more quality that theirs.”

Axton said the match would be won or lost in the midfield and backed his players to go head-to-head with the Swans.

Evandale were six points too good in round 2 and will regain Michael Rainbow and Sam Bannister, but Billy Jack and Clinton Black have been ruled out for the year with serious injuries.

ST PATS coach Alex Russell said his team will “show no mercy” towards Perth at home after the Magpies defeated the Saints by 10 points 14 weeks ago.

“We have settled since then so we are looking to win and win well,” Russell said.

“Myself and Matthew Williams will come back in and I think our run home is perfect with the three top teams to come, which will be a good preparation for September.” 

St Pats have secured four points in their past six matches, while Pies coach Damian Rhind said his side were complacent in its “disappointing” loss to Meander Valley.

“We need to lift our level at training and on the field in order to get back to the standard we were playing at,” Rhind said. 

The Magpies are in a tussle with Old Launcestonians for the sixth finals spot with both outfits locked on five wins and six losses.

UNI-MOWBRAY host face Old Launcestonians at University Oval with the Blues needing to a victory to keep their finals chances alive.

The Suburban Eagles fell two points short of Wanye Kirby’s seventh-placed Blues earlier this season but boast a 2-9 win-loss record. Kirby said Leigh Coonan and Toby Omenchu would come in for Jack Schaeche and Jonathon Harmey.

“With five games to go, it’s all in our hands. If we can get a jump on Perth this week, that would be good.,” he said.

LILYDALE one of three teams locked on 8-3 in battle for third position and coach Thane Bardenhagen wants his charges attack Bridport with full force.

“There is a bit of rivalry from the old NEFU days and we are looking to get firing on all cylinders,” he said.

“Levi Tuthill and Josh Griggs will play.”

MEANDER VALLEY are on a high after toppling Perth before the competition bye but they encounter undefeated four-time reigning premiers Old Scotch at Westbury Oval.

The Suns scored just nine points to the Thistles 168 last time around with George Walker (seven goals) and James Lee (five) the chief destroyers. 

TAMAR CATS and Prospect will enter their Beauty Point both thinking they are a good shot at securing victory. The Hawks have just four points to their name while Tamar has not added to its four wins since round 5.

In April, it was the Cats that were 21 points the better side.

PYENGANA RETURN

FLASHBACK: East Coast Swans senior team wearing in the original Pyengana Football Club’s colours last year.

FLASHBACK: East Coast Swans senior team wearing in the original Pyengana Football Club’s colours last year.

FOOTBALL will return to Pyengana next weekend following the success of last year’s 60 year drought-ending encounter.

East Coast Swans will again wear the Pyengana Football Club’s blue and yellow strip against NTFA division 2 rivals St Pats on Saturday, July 22.

Volunteer Michael Le Fevre said the community has been busy preparing the North-East township’s recreation ground.

“The day will kick off at 10.30am with Auskick games, which will include children from St Marys, St Helens and Scottsdale clubs before the reserves and seniors,” Le Fevre said.

“This year there will also be a game of netball played between two St Helens teams starting at midday.

”To have a team as well known as St Pats come to our community to play for premiership points is a great way for people with ties back to Pyengana to come together and enjoy catching up with relatives and friends.”

Le Fevre said kiosk and bar facilities would be available with live music to follow the seniors match.

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