STRATFORD will be looking to bounce back and keep a hold on second spot when it hosts Lakes Entrance during round 14 of East Gippsland football.
Lakes Entrance, who all but had its finals chances ended by Wy Yung two weeks ago, has been a steady improver over the course of the season and is a side the Swans can’t afford to take lightly tomorrow.
Lucknow will bank four points courtesy of the bye, and nothing short of a win would see the Swans drop to third place on the ladder.
With Keiran O’Dwyer missing last week and Josh Kiss well held, the undermanned Swans outfit struggled to find an avenue to goal. So influential in the ruck this season, the absence of Kaine Kerton hurt along with prime onballer Corey Scholtes.
Regular senior player Rowan Marsden was also out along with full back Jordan Clegg, and the Swans will be hoping to welcome back some of these players.
Tye Morrison and Michael Walker continued their good form last week, and the Swans will look to them to lead the way again in the middle this week.
Gavin Bickery led the way in defence last week, with Tim Hawkins and Luke Clohesy also prominent.
The Stratford defence will again be tested this week with Seagulls talls Macy Hambrook and James and Jesse Beha all capable of kicking a bag.
Coming off the bye and with finals highly unlikely, the Seagulls enter the contest with nothing to lose and will relish the chance to help shape the make-up of the top four in coming weeks.
Battle for fourth place
LINDENOW will host Wy Yung desperate to take its spot in the top four back.
One game behind Wy Yung on the ladder, the Cats have a superior percentage and will climb back into the top four at the Tigers’ expense with victory.
Struck by injury in the middle part of the season, the Cats are now starting to get players back and will know this contest could play a major bearing on their finals hopes.
While the Cats easily disposed of cellar dwellar Orbost-Snowy Rovers last week, they can expect to be challenged by an in-form Tigers side.
After a slow start to the season, the Tigers have steadily improved and will be keen to continue their charge towards making a return to finals football.
Accounting for an undermanned Stratford side last week, the Tigers will enter full of confidence.
Top v bottom
PAYNESVILLE will be favoured to keep its top of the table status when it hosts the bottom-placed Orbost-Snowy Rovers.
The Gulls came away with a hard fought win over fellow contender Lucknow last week, and won’t want to let this one slip as they look to keep its four point breathing space at the top of the table.
After winning two of its first three games, the Blues have lost the past eight to fall to the bottom of the ladder.
Now just playing for pride, the Blues will be hoping to recapture some of their early season form.
LUCKNOW has the bye.