ROUND four of North Gippsland football provides a trio of games which, even this early in the season, could shape the remainder of the year for about half a dozen sides.
In one of them, Yarram will make the trip to Rosedale.
Both sides suffered losses last weekend, with Rosedale being soundly-beaten by the well-fancied Sale City, while Cowwarr caused the upset of the season when it knocked off Yarram, handing the reigning premier a second loss in a row.
Another loss on Saturday would mean the Demons could fall to one and three after the first month of the season, which is hardly the way they’d have wanted to begin their premiership defence.
Should Rosedale get up, the Blues will stay in touch with the top two sides and put a nice gap between it and Yarram in the race for a top three position at season’s end.
Blues coach Sam Bristow is acutely aware of the hunger Yarram will be bringing to the match, noting the Demons were “a quality opponent who will be looking to bounce back after last week”.
Bristow’s own side’s chances are enhanced by the return of match-winners Dale Fleming and Rohan Hilderbrand, along with the ever-reliable Luke Rossberg.
Bristow will be looking to Brandon McDonald, Ben Jones and Frazar Brouns to fire up forward, knowing if they can kick a dozen-plus goals the Blues are half-way to getting the win.
Getting a big score on the board will be important, given Yarram’s failure to kick more than 10 goals in its pasttwo defeats.
Like his counterpart, Yarram coach Matt Scholz also hopes to have a few inclusions this week.
Scholz observed Rosedale plays a fast, free-flowing game and that the Demons would need to “win the footy on the inside and nullify their run” to get the win. He also lamented the Demons’ recent poor ball use with turnovers playing a big role in their two losses.
One thing Scholz shouldn’t need to worry about too much is his players’ mindset heading into this crucial clash. Scholz acknowledged this was one area Cowwarr had their measure in last week.
A SIDE with a chance to prove itself a genuine finals contender on Saturday is Glengarry, which will host Sale City.
The Magpies head into the game after a monstrous win over the hapless Gormandale and will be looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Bulldogs.
While a perennial finalist and fearsome outfit, Sale City has been known to drop the unexpected game here and there over the past few seasons.
Glengarry will hope this week is that game for season 2019.
An unlikely win for the Magpies would catapult them into the finals frame after a month of footy and set-up a huge second half to the season.
Meanwhile, Sale City will simply look to continue its winning ways and retain top spot on the ladder.
GORMANDALE has had the ignominy of having had the highest score of the round kicked against them in the first three weeks of the season.
That trend may continue in the Tigers’ clash at Heyfield.
The Kangaroos have had a tough start to the season, already meeting two of last year’s top three sides.
They sit on one win and two losses, but was in with a winning chance in both defeats.
COMING off back-to-back wins, Cowwarr will be full of confidence heading into its clash with Traralgon-Tyers United.
A win at home would mark Cowwarr as a genuine finals contender and give the Saints victories over two of last year’s top three sides in the first four rounds.
Even with leading goal kickers Shane Morgan and Nick Wozniak, who have 31 majors between them this season, being held to just two apiece last week, the Saints found a way to kick a winning score. TTU will need to shut down the dynamic duo and also keep a close eye on Pat Tainsh, who again has been a stand-out for the Saints in the early part of the season.
The Bombers too have some weapons up front, but their forward line is yet to fire in 2019, with no player kicking more than four goals for the season.
WIN-LESS Woodside will welcome an undefeated Churchill to its home ground.
The Cougars lose Ivan Maric from last week’s line-up, but will regain the evergreen Alan Chandler. They will be hoping Nathan McRae is also able to be added to the side to fill Maric’s void in the ruck.
With Kurt Holt to miss another week, McRae’s absence would provide Woodside a distinct advantage in the ruck with their coach Ryan Foat likely to dominate the taps.