Five huge games headline this weekend’s action of Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1, with all ten sides having points to prove.
Bundoora and Heidelberg looks set to be a massive clash at Yulong Reserve, as both sides enter the match with a 4-1 record.
The Bulls have been on a roll since their opening round defeat to West Preston-Lakeside, with four consecutive wins and an average winning margin of 37-points.
They’ll come into this game off the back of a 70-point triumph over Whittlesea. John Jorgensen kicked five, while Sam Lloyd, Luke Collins and Nathan Howard led the way in their respective roles around the ground.
Michael Ryan’s side continues to be a premiership threat, but they’ll face their biggest challenge since the opening round when they host the top of the table Tigers.
Last week, Heidelberg proved too strong for North Heidelberg, and have quickly built up the momentum they lost when they went down by one-point to Montmorency over a fortnight ago.
Josh Minogue kicked three majors for a Tigers side who had eight individual goalkickers for their 14 goals, while Matthew Smith (10 Coaches MVP votes) and Lachlan Wilson continue to make the midfield their own.
Depending on the Greensborough vs West Preston-Lakeside outcome, the winner of this clash could sit one game clear on top of the ladder.
These two met twice in the 2021 season, with Bundoora prevailing on both occasions by 36 points in round four and 44 points in round 12.
But you would expect a much closer contest between two sides who have had brilliant starts to the 2022 campaign.
Greensborough and West Preston-Lakeside will battle at Greensborough War Memorial Park in their second meeting since the 2019 Grand Final.
It was business as usual for the Borough last weekend, defeating a rejuvenated Northcote Park side by 36-points.
It’s what we’ve come to expect from Greensborough, but their defence still gets more and more impressive each match, this time Billy Bedford (10 Coaches MVP votes) leading the way with Nick Riddle and Jack Johnston also on top of their game.
West Preston-Lakeside on the other hand, will need to pick themselves up in a hurry after what’s been a less than ideal month.
It started with their shock defeat to Whittlesea in round two, before two unconvincing wins over Northcote Park and North Heidelberg in round’s three and four.
But last weekend despite a quarter time lead, Macleod defeated Rob Maiorana’s men by 12-points.
The Roosters managed to get on top in the last term despite trailing by over four goals, but the loss could prove costly as they head into the weekend sitting in fifth spot.
Aidan Tilley continued to fill the void that Ahmed Saad has left up forward with four goals, with Michael Zakkour also playing an impressive game.
These two sides last met in round two last year as the Borough held on to win by a solitary point despite a last quarter fightback from the Roosters.
Things will need to click for West Preston-Lakeside as another defeat could create an unwanted gap between them and the top four sides while for Greensborough, a fourth consecutive win could see them regain top of the table depending on other results.
Montmorency will look to continue to apply the pressure near the top when they host North Heidelberg.
The Magpies are full of confidence following their bounce back win over Hurstbridge, a 49-point victory that could’ve been much had it not been for their inaccurate goalkicking.
Co-captain Sam Binion led the way with his influential work in the midfield while Mitch Honeychurch and Stephen McCallum also proved handy with their clearance work.
Albeit against strong opposition, North Heidelberg have lost their last three games and will need to respond quickly if they’re to avoid falling further away from the pack.
However, despite those defeats to Bundoora, West Preston-Lakeside & most recently Heidelberg, the average losing margin in those games is just over 14 points, proving that the Bulldogs are still competitive, but are just missing the finishing touch.
Nicholas Matthews and Jesse Tardio continue to put together strong seasons, Tardio especially, as he sits third on the Coaches MVP leaderboard.
North Heidelberg had a comfortable 24-point lead at three quarter time last time these two sides met in round 12, 2021, but an eight goal to one final term from the Magpies saw them prevail by 20-points.
This should be an intriguing match as both sides look to stay in the finals hunt.
Whittlesea will be determined to return to the winner’s list when they battle Macleod at the Whittlesea Showgrounds.
Things haven’t exactly gone to plans for the Eagles since their famous triumph over West Preston-Lakeside in round two.
Following a tough loss to Hurstbridge on Anzac Day, Whittlesea have suffered two heavy defeats top sides, most recently, a 70-point loss to the Bulls.
Captain Xavier Dimasi has been a shining light in the last fortnight, leading the way for the Eagles in the midfield.
Despite having to contend with health and safety protocols, Blair Harvey’s side have an opportunity to bounce back when they face Macleod.
The Roos will have all the momentum following a brilliant 12-point win over West Preston-Lakeside last week.
What was more impressive was the ability of their stars to stand up when required, in particular Luke Joyce and Reid Brandt, who shone up forward with three goals each, as well as Lucas Hobbs and Patrick Flynn who were a dangerous duo in just about every stoppage.
A win for the Eagles will likely get them off the bottom of the ladder while for the sixth placed Roos, another win could see them level on points with the fifth placed side, which would be a huge boost for Craig Hayes’ men.
Northcote Park and Hurstbridge will both be desperate for wins when they lock horns at Bill Lawry Oval.
After a slow start to the 2022 season, the Cougars have been a lot more competitive in recent weeks despite most recently going down to Greensborough by six goals.
Reed Jepson and Daniel Tallariti playing integral roles despite the defeat, while Ricky Fandrich proved handy in front of goal, kicking three majors.
Hurstbridge have lost their last two matches despite a promising 2-1 start.
Those losses have come from finals bound sides in Bundoora and Montmorency but a third defeat in a row could unravel the good work they built at the start of the season.
On a positive, Lachlan East and Trent Barbero have had great 2022 season’s while Joel Naylor is proving a difficult task for defenders in the competition.
It was a comfortable win for the Bridges last time these two sides met in 2021, but the Cougars look to be up for the challenge based off the last fortnight, which will make this match-up one to keep an eye on.