MAFFRA will this Saturday host a different Warragul to the sides it has encountered in recent seasons.
Both sit in the Gippsland League football top four as the home-and-away season approaches the half-way mark. However, they are also entering tomorrow’s clash off defeats.
The third-placed Eagles are two wins ahead of the Gulls.
The Eagles missed the chance to consolidate second place after losing at Wonthaggi, while the Gulls were far from disgraced against Traralgon, but fell short at home.
The Eagles have won their past seven matches, and 13 of the past 14, against the Gulls. Warragul’s most recent success against Maffra, just two points, came back in 2012.
Maffra hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Gulls, losing their past 13 matches there. Warragul hasn’t won at the Eagles’ next since 1997.
However, these teams appear more evenly matched this season.
The Eagles will have to find a way to nullify the impact on Warragul onballers Nate Paredes and Brad Scalzo, while Brayden Fowler has kicked 24 goals in his return season at the club.
While the Gulls have improved this season, they are yet to really test the top sides.
The challenge Maffra provides the Gulls will be great, with the Eagles one of only three sides with a percentage more than 100. They have the second best defence and third best offence this season.
SALE will head to Moe hoping to end its five-match losing streak.
With 10 rounds remaining, it is not too late for these sides to make a meaningful run to the finals. But a loss on Saturday would be a major setback.
The Magpies’ run of defeats has seen them fall to ninth place on the ladder. Last weekend, they lost to Drouin, which entered that contest at the foot of the table.
The Lions are in seventh place — a win outside the top five — after three successive defeats. The Lions would have been disappointed with their effort last weekend in losing a winnable match at Bairnsdale.
There was a contrast in last year’s meetings between the Magpies and Lions. Moe won the first match by 27 points before the Magpies turned it around with a 130-point thumping at Sale.
WONTHAGGI will make the long trek to Bairnsdale, with both sides needing a win to stay in touch with the top five.
The Redlegs occupy fifth place after their victory over Moe, while the Power’s upset win over Maffra lifted it to sixth.
Wonthaggi sides haven’t been deterred by the journey east, returning home with victory seven times from nine games.
BACK off the bottom of the ladder, Drouin will host undefeated Leongatha.
The Hawks’ season received a boost when it won at Sale last weekend, while the Parrots juggernaut continues to roll out, following another big win, this time over Morwell.
Drouin has traditionally had trouble beating Leongatha, winning just seven from its 37 games against the Parrots.
MORWELL will host Traralgon in what has become the traditional Queen’s Birthday Monday clash.
The bottom-placed Tigers are coming off a heavy defeat to Leongatha, while the Maroons overcame Warragul.