By Matt Fotia
Will the Magpies lock up the double chance for 2019?
Can the Rebels make the most of the Brooker’s inconsistencies?
Will the Burras be laughing and who can stop the ROC?
Narre Warren sit two games clear of this weekends opponent Beaconsfield and will be out to all but lock up the double chance with a win over the Eagles this weekend.
Last time they met Beaconsfield gave the Magpies a bit of fright as the surged home in the last quarter, but ultimately it was a five goal to one second term from the men in Black and White that gave the Magpies their third win of the season, and continued their winning streak over the Eagles.
Skipper Dylan Quirk and classy midfielder Nathan Foote were the two best Magpies on that occasion and look set to take the game apart once again.
Quirk has been in fantastic form all season and is integral to the clearance and contested ball numbers of the second placed Magpies.
In the last three weeks the number one has been named in the Narre Warren best players and has managed to find the goals on three occasions, whilst Foote has only managed one major in that time, but was impressive in their wins over Cranbourne and Olinda Ferny Creek.
The Magpies know that Beaconsfield like to build their game from the back and will be wary of speedy back flanker Jake Bowd.
The lightly built Eagle is one of the key exponents of Beaconsfield’s style of play and is coming off an impressive fortnight, named in the best against Woori Yallock and Cranbourne.
Crafty on-baller Riley Verbi will also be on Narre Warren’s radar. He booted three goals back in round two and has kicked five majors in the last three weeks.
READ | The Beaconsfield Eagles have landed, Mount Evelyn need a little bit more composure, the Alexandra Rebels fortress and Healesville FNC get off the mark in 2019.
— AFL OUTER EAST (@AFL_OE) July 1, 2019
On the netball court Wandin are out to climb into the top five for the first time this season with a win over local rivals Woori Yallock.
Back in round two the Tigers won by a comfortable 15 goals, as Madeline Hargrave and Mia Sudomirski took advantage of a rare poor performance by Rudy Tidd to pile on the goals.
It’s likely that won’t be the case again as Tidd, Tash Sinclair, who has best on court against Berwick, and Alanna Lennie have been solid over the past month in defence as the Dogs have risen up the table.
Lauren Van Der Westhuizen and Jordan Maher will look to cover Wandin starlet Cassidy Iedema with some strong partnership defence. Iedema has been super all year for Wandin with 222 goals, accounting for 58% of the Dogs goals for 2019. Stop her and the Tigers should be looking the goods.
In Division One ROC have been undeniably strong this season and have showed now signs of slowing down in recent weeks, despite having more or less sewn up a finals spot for 2019.
They’ve won their last three games against Emerald, Doveton and Pakenham Lions by more than 15 goals. No side has scored more than 33 goals against the Roos since round five as they’ve mowed their way through the rest of the competition.
But not every side has a Steph Puopolo.
Puopolo shot 24 goals when the two sides last met in round three and has been in brutal form of late. Her last three outings for the Hawks have seen her finish up with 44, 49 and 25 goals at an average of 39.33 goals per game.
The Hawks dependence on Puopolo to shoot a winning score has been highlighted previously and she will no doubt need plenty of help if they’re to hand ROC their first defeat of the season, but if there’s someone in the division that could do it alone, it might just be her.
The wheels are beginning to fall off the Belgrave bus after a very consistent and impressive start to their Division One campaign.
Prior to their round seven battle with Mount Evelyn the Magpies hadn’t lost by more than 35 points and had been more than admirable against some of the competitions premiership contenders in Monbulk, Officer and Pakenham.
But since then it’s been somewhat of a disaster as they’ve conceded 435 points in the past three outings at an average of 108.75 points per game.
Whilst they’re unlikely to face a similar offensive onslaught when they take on Warburton Millgrove at the weekend, they will wary of the Burras abilities.
Warburton Millgrove pinched a last gasp victory when the two sides last met in round three, with Mitchell Leeds kicking three goals, whilst the evergreen Tim McKail booted two.
Both players were strong performers in the Burras 65 point loss to Doveton last weekend, with McKail named best on ground as Leeds kicked all three of Warburton’s goals.
The Burras will be looking to make their home patch a fortress after they upset Mount Evelyn back in round eight. With the depths of winter upon us Mac Sparke Oval can now be graded a Heavy 10 and will be more conducive to old fashioned contested football, which Belgrave’s defence will be pleased to hear.
This weekend is a massive chance for the Magpies to get back on track.
It’s also a massive chance for the Burras to further rid themselves of a possible wooden spoon.
Coming off three straight losses against three of Division Two’s top four has brought one thing to the fore for Gembrook-Cockatoo.
There best is definitely good enough, but they can’t seem to do it for long enough.
Their biggest defeat across the three week period was a 21 point loss to Yarra Glen as they fell just 19 points short of Kinglake and were two goals shy of Yarra Junction.
The second quarter has been a real low point for the men in green across this three week stretch. They’ve lost every one of them and have a -42 differential across the three second stanzas.
The RiverPigs were able put 34 points on the board to Gembrook-Cockatoo’s 18, whilst Kinglake (21 points) and Yarra Junction (14) managed to hold the Brookers goalless in the second quarter of their clashes. They managed five behinds and four behinds respectively.
The Brookers face an Alexandra side at home who are experiencing a nice little run of form, with their recent win over Yarra Glen showcasing that Gembrook-Cockatoo will need to continue their quest to put four quarters together if they are to get the four points in this all important clash.
The Rebels have two keys players in form at either end, with defender Thomas McKinlay having an impressive fortnight and key forward Brayden Norris back in form with 11 goals in three weeks to bring his season tally to 26.
The context around this game is massive, as an Alexandra win will put the Brookers back eight points from the Rebels, and should Powelltown win against the lowly Thornton-Eildon, it will also put them back a game from the Towners.
There couldn’t be a better time for the Brookers to produce a four quarter performance.
Yarra Glen will be able to see how far they’ve really come as they face off against Seville for the second time this season. The RiverPig ladies lost by 41 goals when these two sides met in round three this season as Stephanie McNay dominated in defence.
That was the first hit out for the new look RiverPigs who have since gone on to put all sides below them on the table to the sword as they have steadily improved week by week.
The big focus will be on how their defence stands up, as Seville will have Jackie Cullimore this time around. The Seville shooter has 263 goals for the season at an average of 32.9 goals per game and sits second in the overall shooting tables.
If Katelyn Vanderkolk and Alana Stone can headline a strong defensive showing from Yarra Glen it will give their own personal belief a real shot in the arm, that they can, on their day, compete with the big three, even if they are unable to knock off the Blues this Saturday.