With just six points separating first and seventh spot on the ladder, this weekend’s round of MC Labour Division 2 football is the perfect opportunity for sides to establish themselves as finals contenders.
Eltham’s clash with Thomastown looks to be a cracking contest on paper.
Eltham are currently the ladder leaders following their comprehensive 117-point win over Epping last Saturday.
Bronson Glasgow and second gamer Finnbar Maley were the side’s top contributors in the 19-goal win. Daniel Owen once again prolific in front of the goal, finishing the day with five goals to make it 13 majors from his last two outings.
Winning by an average margin of 96-points in their previous two fixtures, the Panthers come into this clash in hot form, but will be up for a tougher challenge against Thomastown.
Despite sitting seventh on the ladder, the Bears are also in-form and will look to go four successive games unbeaten and close the gap on the top five.
In a dramatic encounter against Lower Plenty last week, Mario Bandera’s side held on to record a draw despite leading by as much as 10 points at multiple stages throughout the match.
With injuries and health and safety protocols leaving key personnel out of the Bears side, the likes of Daniel Chadwick, Lawrence Lopiccolo and Jarryd Coulson stood up to take charge, particularly in the midfield.
Despite some impressive outings in the last month, the Bears could find themselves six points behind the top five if they were to lose on Saturday while for the Panthers, a win would put them in good stead ahead of key fixtures against St Mary’s and Banyule in the next fortnight.
In what many pundits wouldn’t have expected to be such an even match up, Diamond Creek and Watsonia do battle at Coventry Oval, as both sides look to keep or find a place in the top five.
The Creekers highlighted their defensive strengths in their 18-point win over St Mary’s last weekend.
Despite a third quarter fightback from the Burra, Diamond Creek held their nerve to complete an important victory. Defensive duo Jack Empey and Nathan Searl were superb with their intercept marking while being just as damaging offensively with multiple rebound 50’s.
Having created a lot of attacking opportunities on the day despite the wet conditions, the Creekers would finish with just five goals for the game and will hope to be more prolific this weekend.
Another, maybe unexpected, challenge lies ahead for the Creekers who face a much-improved Watsonia outfit that are keen to be part of September action.
The Saints recorded their third win of the season when they comfortably defeated the Fitzroy Stars to the tune of 59-points.
Corey Potter and Charbel Khoury were impressive, with the duo named amongst the Saints best players in their win away from home, while division two leading goalkicker Kyle Wheatley once again had no issues finding the goals, finishing the day with six majors.
Either side could finish the round as high as second if they were to get the win, highlighting the importance this result as we pass a third of the way through the season.
Having failed to take all four points against a weakened Thomastown side last week, Lower Plenty will be eager to get back on the winners list when they take on Panton Hill.
Down by three points at three-quarter time, Lower Plenty fought back to record a draw against the Bears, but will be ruing the result in hindsight as they had five more scoring shots.
Alexander Alderton, Jordan Sacco and Darcy Barden were named amongst the top players for the Bears, all of whom have enjoyed a bright start to the 2022 season.
Having gone the past four games unbeaten, Phil Plunkett’s men are proving to be a hard side to beat and will fancy themselves to continue that streak against Panton Hill this weekend.
Sitting a game clear of bottom, the Redbacks will be looking to create a further gap from the winless Fitzroy Stars this weekend.
Simon Amore’s men are coming off a 43-point defeat to Banyule but great individual performances from Charlie Cleary, who played his best game for the season, as well as Brody Tickell and Nick Parks will give the Redbacks hope they can pull off an incredible upset.
A win for Lower Plenty will continue to put pressure on the top two, and with a slightly favourable next few weeks, the Bears will be keen to keep building momentum.
Banyule will expect nothing short of back-to-back wins this weekend when they face a winless Fitzroy Stars.
After their defeat to Lower Plenty a fortnight ago, Banyule proved too good for Panton Hill with a 43-point triumph.
2019 competition best and fairest Riley Loton was stellar in the midfield, with teammates Xavier Mitchell and Kye Yodgee putting arguably their best performances of the year. Patrik Della Rocca leading the scoring with his first three goals of the season.
Having been one of the top teams of the division thus far, the Bears will be the hot favourites coming into this encounter and will want to build on a healthy percentage.
Though putting in a more spirited showing, the Stars couldn’t keep up with Watsonia last week, resulting in a 59-point defeat.
Having been the shining light in a disappointing 2022 season, Riley Livingstone was the side’s best performer in the losing effort.
With no Nathan Lovett-Murray or Andrew Hood in the loss, the Stars will be hoping to gain the duo back to help lead the Stars to an unlikely upset.
A Bears win will continue to see them near the top of the table and with a huge clash against Eltham in a couple of weeks, Banyule will be doing all they can to create momentum.
Epping will be out to put some respectability to their name when they host St Mary’s this weekend.
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Blues who have struggled since their opening round win over the Stars.
Coming off a 117-point loss in round five, the focus will be on improvement as Epping look to avoid a relegation battle this early.
The likes of Leigh Judd, Bailey Caldow and Joshua Sims put in honest performances in the losing effort.
After their second defeat of the 2022 campaign last week, the Burra are clinging on to a top five spot and will be looking to keep themselves in the finals race with a win.
In what was one of the Burra’s biggest challenges of the year and despite trailing by just five points at three quarter time, Fabian Carelli’s men couldn’t put the finishing touches o and went down by 18-points.
Jake Dambrauskas was welcomed back to the St Mary’s lineup last week, with Nicholas Gedge and Jacob Yeomans proving to be an influential duo around the ground.
After their clash with Epping, the Burra’s next three opponents are three of last year’s top four sides, so it will be crucial for them to bank the four points this Saturday.