THE fixture could not get any harder for Lake Wendouree.
Having gone down to undefeated North Ballarat City last week and third-placed Ballarat in the previous round, the Lakers now have to front up against Redan – arguably the in-form side of the Ballarat Football League.
It is a task that could easily have intimidated the Lakers of the past few years, but not this time around, according to coach Gavin Webb.
Without looking too far ahead, Webb had always identified this three-game block as a defining period for his side.
The Lakers got off to a flyer this year to sit in second position after five rounds.
In retrospect, however, that result came on the back of a more than favourable draw, beating East Point, Melton South and Sebastopol – three of the four bottom sides.
A third straight loss would hardly be cause for concern at Wendouree Reserve, although it would suggest Lake Wendouree still has a lot of work ahead of it.
Danny Gray is likely to miss the rest of the year after injuring his head in a car accident. Webb said Gray was still in hospital in Albury, but was in a stable condition.
Linc Barnes will also miss out this week due to unavailability.
Undermanned, the Lakers are missing a number of their best players, including their three Roosters footballers (Lucas Anderson and Ash Simpson are injured and Tom Carey is playing VFL).
Nick Aringo and William Mills come into the side.
“We’re a bit light on but that’s OK, it tests our younger brigade and our depth,” Webb said.
In a contrasting vein of form is Redan, which is searching for seven straight wins, including 98 and 88-point wins in its last two encounters.
For the Lions, Leigh Ryall will spend at least another week on the sidelines with concussion, resulting from a heavy Liam Rigby tackle two weeks ago.
Key forward Dan Colbert will also miss with a calf injury, while Nathan Blomeley is overseas for two weeks. Tim Haase and Brandon Green earn promotion from the reserves.
Coach Eammon Gill said his side would have to combat the Lakers’ running game.
“We’re just looking at each game as it comes at the moment. We’re going pretty well but it has to keep going.”
PREDICTION: Yet another Redan win.