YARRAM will be hell-bent on bouncing back to the form which had it undefeated over the first 15 rounds of the North Gippsland football season when it hosts Woodside.
The Demons — without the services of key players Liam Farley, Tyler Chisholm and coach Matt Scholz — fell to Sale City by three points at the weekend.
Woodside, on the back of a resounding 50-point win over Cowwarr, is one of three teams vying for the coveted fifth spot on the ladder with just two weeks to go before the finals.
The Wildcats sit in sixth spot on percentage behind Rosedale and Sale City, and will need to snare an upset win over Yarram on Saturday to stay in touch.
Demons president Anthony Rodaughan said there was “always lots of interest” surrounding games against Woodside, and this weekend was no different.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re on the bottom of the ladder or vice versa, it’s always a local derby-type atmosphere and they usually bring their best game and so do we,” he said.
“It’s almost like grand final and everyone wants to play in that match, so its highly anticipated. Both sides are usually trying pretty hard, and often it’s a physical encounter too.
“We’ll be expecting good crowd with most of the town out there.”
Chisholm will return for the Demons, Scholz will return to coaching duties but won’t play after a run with illness, and Farley awaits the results of a knee scan to determine whether he can play.
Rodaughan said the Demons were “not far off a full list”, and pressure was building on the senior playing group as the club’s reserves enjoyed a purple patch.
“We have barely beaten Sale City in the reserves and we beat them by (17) goals on the weekend so people are coming back, the pressure is building on senior positions and there’s lots of depth in the reserves, so it’s a good place to be,” he said.
“Now is the time to put the hard yards.”
SALE City will travel to Gormandale with a spring in its step after becoming the first side this season to defeat Yarram.
Cousins Abe and Jacob Schuback were big for the Bulldogs in that game and will no doubt lead their troops again on Saturday.
Finals aren’t in the equation for the Tigers, but they are coming off a three-point win over Cowwarr.
The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers by 39 at home in round eight.
TRARALGON-TYERS United has enjoyed consecutive big wins in the past fortnight and could record another one on Saturday, then it travels on Heyfield.
The Bombers made light work of Rosedale last weekend, winning by 45 points, and will use the clash with the Kangaroos as an opportunity to run out a full game before facing Churchill in the final round.
The Bombers shouldn’t take Heyfield lightly, as they lost to the Kangaroos by 14 points at Tyers in round eight.
Heyfield’s hopes of making the finals ended last weekend, when it lost to Churchill by 21 points.
ROSEDALE can take a step towards shoring up a spot in the top five with a win over cellar-dweller Glengarry.
The Blues hold fifth spot with two rounds to go in the home-and-away season, but have Sale City Woodside hot on their tail.
Glengarry narrowly fell short of recording its second win of the season last weekend, losing to Gormandale by three points.
ASSURED third spot and a double shot come finals, Churchill is an unbackable favourite heading into its encounter with Cowwarr.
Having strung together six wins, the Cougars are unlikely to be bothered by the Saints, and will undoubtedly have one eye on the following weekend’s match against TTU as a dress rehearsal for the finals.
After back-to-back wins, the ninthplaced Saints lost to Woodside by 50 points, after the Wildcats kicked 10 goals to three in the second half.