Premiers to push Swans

RELATED: Round 14 teams

THE challenges keep on coming for Stratford, who will travel to take on reigning premier Paynesville in round 14 of East Gippsland football.

Two games clear on top of the table and a premiership favourite, the Swans can expect a big challenge away from home against the Gulls. Fresh from the bye, the Gulls’ confidence will be high after charging into the top four.

Recovering from a slow start to the season, Paynesville entered the top four for the first time this season despite not taking the field last week.

The form of spearhead Keith Ritchie has been pivotal in the Gulls renaissance, with the big forward now sharing league goal-kicking honours with Josh Kiss of the Swans. Which forward has the better output could go a long way to determining the result.

With the inclusion of Sam Noone and David McLay last week, the Swans are close to fielding its best side and will enter the contest with equal confidence.

With Lakes Entrance to play the lowly ranked Lucknow, Paynesville will know a loss could see it drop out of the top four and the Gulls will be desperate to keep its spot.

The Gulls won’t want to undo the hard work which saw it rocket back into finals contention and will be out to remind the Swans that they remain an imposing threat come September.

WY Yung will host Lindenow in another top four showdown.

Following a competitive effort against the ladder leaders, Wy Yung will aim to return to the winners’ list at home with the Tigers well aware victory over their rival could go a long way towards securing the valuable double chance.

The Tigers will have to quell the run and carry of the Cats, and also hold its powerful forward line. Lose and the gap to the Cats extends to eight points.

Comfortably accounting for finals aspirant Lakes Entrance with a dominant final quarter last week, Lindenow will hope to carry that form on Saturday.

The Cats will feel it has one hand on the double chance if they manage to defeat the Tigers, who will be confident of challenging the Cats, this time without the services of Brendan Fevola, this time around.

KEEN to remain in the finals hunt, Lakes Entrance won’t want to slip-up at home against Lucknow.

While it has the poorest percentage of the top five, Lakes Entrance are level on points with the fourth-placed Paynesville and four points adrift of the third-placed Wy Yung.

The Seagulls will know they can ill afford to drop the points against lower-ranked opponents, and will eye the match against Lucknow as a chance to add to their percentage.

The Magpies will relish the chance to shape the making of the top four, prevailing last week to further distance itself from the wooden spoon.

SO close to securing its opening win last week, Orbost-Snowy Rovers has the bye.

Going down by just four points to Lucknow last week, the Blues will rest in the hope it is building towards their first win.