Round 11 looks set to be a crucial weekend for many sides in Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 as we head towards the final two months of the home and away season.
At J.E. Moore Park, both West Preston-Lakeside and Greensborough will hope to go one better than their previous meeting earlier in the season.
When these two met at Greensborough War Memorial Park in Round 6, the Borough held on for a draw despite a spirited comeback from the Roosters and although the form lines of both sides have been different since, expect this game to be close.
West Preston-Lakeside have found it difficult to produce some consistent form and find themselves in danger of dropping out of the top five after losing three of their last four matches, all to fellow top five sides.
Their most of recent defeat was at the hands of Bundoora to the tune of 104 points, their heaviest loss in quite some time.
Ahmed Saad added another three goals to his tally whilst Max Dreher and Joshua Iacobaccio were some of the shining lights for the Roosters, but they’ll need all 22 players to step up if they’re to be a premiership threat again.
Whilst the Borough haven’t been flawless in recent weeks, they’ll still come into this clash as favourites following a comfortable win over Hurstbridge last week.
The arrival of former AFL premiership player Josh Caddy drew a huge crowd at Greensborough War Memorial Park last Saturday, and his influence was prominent right from the first bounce, ultimately kicking two goals for the afternoon.
A win for Greensborough will go a long way in helping close the gap between them and the top three sides while for the Roosters, they’ll remain with a slight advantage over Macleod and North Heidelberg who are breathing heavily down their necks.
Familiar rivals North Heidelberg and Heidelberg are set to do battle at Shelley Street Reserve.
The Tigers were the victors last time around at Warringal Park, with a six goal to one third quarter proving the difference in their 22-point victory.
The Bulldogs have found some form since that loss and because of it, have stepped into the finals conversation, winning three of their last five matches, including a triumph against Greensborough last month.
However, they will need to respond to their tight loss to Macleod during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend as despite solid individual efforts Billy Hogan and Charles Le Fanu, the Bulldogs not only have to worry about the sides above them, but also the Roos who share the same points with them on the ladder.
Heidelberg meanwhile currently look unbeatable at the top of the table.
The midfield duo of Lachlan Wilson and Matthew Smith alongside ruckman Sam Gilmore is proving to be a difficult task for opposition players to stop while Joshua Minogue’s form up forward has been excellent. All four players had key roles again in last weekend’s win over Whittlesea.
North Heidelberg have proven to be capable of causing a few headaches against top five sides and will be eager to end the Tigers’ seven game winning streak.
In an intriguing clash at the bottom half of the table, Northcote Park and Macleod will lock horns at Bill Lawry Oval.
The Cougars picked up a drought-breaking four-point victory last time these two met in Round 4 at De Winton Park.
Although they’ve only claimed one win since that historic triumph, Stephen Saddington’s side have produced many spirited performances in recent weeks.
They were no match for Montmorency in their Round 10 match, but had every right to hold their heads up high post game, as they were still in the hunt until three quarter time.
Jordan Perry stole the show in the defeat and continued his good form this season with nine Coaches MVP votes whilst Ricky Fandrich was the main man up forward with three goals.
Macleod will hope to keep the momentum going that they produced a fortnight ago, in their crucial five-point win over North Heidelberg.
Patrick Flynn and Reid Brandt had brilliant outings, leading the way in the ruck and up forward respectively to help get their side over the line in the close encounter.
Macleod will need to ensure they pick up the four points in order to keep putting the pressure on North Heidelberg and West Preston-Lakeside while a win for Northcote Park will not only make it two wins against the Roos this year but will also likely lift them off the bottom of the table.
Whittlesea will hope to regain some form against a very impressive Bundoora outfit at the Whittlesea Showgrounds
The Eagles will also hope to avoid a similar fate to their last outing in Round 5, in which the Bulls had a comfortable 70-point triumph.
Despite a few departures in the last fortnight, Whittlesea still have consistent contributors they can lean on in order to regain winning ways, with the likes of Jaron Murphy, Brody Bell, Sam Indian and Paul Higgins all playing key roles despite heavy defeats.
But it will take something special to topple a Bundoora side who have staked their claim as one of the most entertaining and attacking teams in the competition.
This was highlighted in their 104-point thumping of West Preston-Lakeside last week. Daniel Younan and John Jorgensen starred up forward with five goals each, with Younan also picking up seven Coaches MVP Votes.
A ninth win of the season for the Bulls will keep them within touching distance of the top of the table Tigers and will aim to use the Eagles game as a percentage boosting opportunity.
For Whittlesea, an unlikely victory could see them create a two-game gap to the bottom placed side, a handy position to be in during the backend of the year.
Montmorency are every chance to make it seven consecutive victories when they host Hurstbridge at Montmorency Park.
The Magpies are flying high at the minute, with just two wins by less than three goals in their last seven games.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s remarkable 2022 up forward continued with another five-goal haul against Northcote Park last week, with Jai Robinson remaining one of the competition’s most consistent performers.
The Bridges have continued to struggle, having last won in Round 3 against Whittlesea on Anzac Day.
Hurstbridge have produced solid performances since, the highlight being their heart-breaking six-point defeat to West Preston-Lakeside in Round 8, but at other times have looked way off the pace, including last week against Greensborough.
Montmorency will head into this clash with all the momentum as they look to stamp their authority on the competition while the Bridges will dream of an incredible upset would potentially see theme scape the bottom two.