Hill End v Morwell East
Hill End get another chance at home this weekend, when they host a Hawks side that are seemingly starting to surge into finals contention.
It hasn't been the Hillsmen's season this year, and last weeks bye has probably done them the world of good, in fact coach Mike Santo jokingly said "we struggled against the bye and just weren't able to execute and weren't good enough" and it is that sort of relaxed humour that can keep a coach and his players sane in a year in which you could be forgiven for going crazy.
That said, the visiting Hawks won't be in the mood for any jokes as they can almost reach out and touch a coveted top sixth spot.
Paul Henry, Morwell East coach "Last weekend the boys stepped up and kicked some big goals late and we hung on in another tight one, we have one more big game this week against Hill End before we hit the bye."
The Hawks have a fifty year reunion on saturday August the fifth, and a potential win over the Rovers this weekend, before the bye may well have the Morwell East team inside the sixth at just the right time for the celebration and from there the opportunity to be a part of finals football will be in their hands to either grab or let slip.
MDU v Tarwin As much as this weekend might be seen as "just another round of football" by the naive, the fact is that the result is so much more important than that, and although most could see the inevitable fight for positioning, the reality of exactly that is starting to sink in. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach “ We go to MDU next week for yet another blockbuster. Our league is pretty much the only interesting one at the moment as it’s so close. It’s great development for our group and it’s like playing a final each week” That feeling from Hemming is echoed by many coaches in the League, all of whom are excited by the responsibility of ensuring their respective sides can lift to the occasion on what is now a weekly basis. Nathan Allen, MDU coach “ We host Tarwin this week in another game that will shape the top six. If we can bring last week's efforts again, we will be very hard to play against.” That is what every coach craves, a side that is very hard to play against, and the Demons on their home deck are destined to be a tough team to crack on the back of the confidence gained from last week's win over Foster. Mirboo North v Toora On the surface at least, this clash appears to be destined to go the way of the home team Tigers, Mirboo North have shown glimpses of what they can do even in their losses, but they would be advised not to turn up on the weekend expecting a win that will be achieved simply by doing that. Peter Mongta, Toora coach “This weekend we host Toora at home so we will freshen up and be ready for a side who isn’t going that well but will look to upset any side in the back end.” That expectation is what should ensure the Tigers get a well deserved victory, but the Magpies won't be a walk in the park. Jack Weston, Toora coach, “Mirboo North at Mirboo North, play their ground well. They accounted for us easily early in the year, but with at least ten changes from that round one side it’ll be a game we hope to win!” The odds may be against the Toora team, but with contributions spread evenly across the entire team, a rare win is certainly possible and in some ways justified, given the coach and his men have not dropped their bundle despite the single success they have achieved in 2023. Newborough v Yinnar Not much is said these days at the Bulldogs club about Yinnar's grand final success over them in 2022, but make no mistake it still stings those at the top, and there is no higher than coach Craig Skinner. “Yinnar are another good team where only our best will be good enough to get the win.” Looking from the outside in, it seems nothing will satisfy Skinner but for premiership success, and another step towards that is putting the Magpies away this weekend. Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach “ Newborough at the kennel is always a challenge, especially when it's round fourteen and they're still undefeated. In saying that though it's a challenge we're really looking forward to as there's four points on offer that no one else has been able to get from the dogs.” Newborough's top position is all but guaranteed, eleven wins and a draw from their twelve matches has the Bulldogs better than two games clear of second place Fish Creek and third placed Yinnar, however Newborough would be well aware that beating the Magpies would also mean they are placed under enormous pressure to keep their spot in the top six such is the evenness of the competition, and that thought alone would be enough to put a smile on the Newborough coaches face. Thorpdale v Boolarra. As good as Thorpdale's win was over Foster just seven days ago, it will take every bit as much skill and effort to achieve the same result over Boolarra. The Demons were beaten by the top of the table Newborough, but the result should have been closer and may have even gone the Demons way with an ounce of luck. Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach "Last week the Boys turned up and took it right up to Newborough, unfortunately our skills let us down all day and the best side in the competition made us pay, but I was happy with the way we fought it out all day" A similar effort, might well bring a different result against Thorpdale, but it would mean that the Blues give one up at home and send their finals chances spiralling, and that is hard to imagine given how solid the Blues have been for most of the year. Jason Winderlich, Thorpdale coach “I keep saying it every week, but another eight point game awaits us this week against Boolarra. Tony will have the boys fired up to take some scalps as he closes out his coaching tenure. This was evident on the weekend with their effort against newborough. If you take out the second quarter where newborough had eleven scoring shots, Boolarra had more scoring opportunities.They had our measure early in the year so we will need to go to another level to challenge them. " The Blues are favoured to win, but as Winderlich indicated the Demon's will be hoping to send off their coach with some memorable moments along the way, and an unlikely victory this weekend, would certainly be one to remember.
BYE: Fish Creek, Foster, Stony Creek