BUNINYONG’S remarkable home winning streak will come under threat this Saturday as the Central Highlands Football League top four prepares for another shake-up.
In a rematch of last year’s grand final, the Bombers welcome reigning premier Hepburn to town, looking to protect a run of success that spans back to 2011.
Buninyong has not been beaten at home since round 12 of that season when Waubra secured a 39-point victory.
The Burras – which also beat the Bombers at Buninyong during 2011 – hit the road knowing anything less than a win will more than likely see them toppling from the top four. Hepburn is just two points clear of fifth-placed Waubra, which is expected to get the result over Carngham-Linton, while fourth-placed Gordon is set for a percentage-booster against Smythesdale.
It’s the same predicament for the Bombers, which are only four points and just over 5 per cent clear of the Roos.
“The loser of this will definitely go to fifth for next week and then it really makes it tough to make (top four) from there,” Buninyong coach Jarrod Morgan said.
Morgan said the come-from-behind draw with Waubra and fighting victory over ladder leader Bungaree in recent weeks had given the team plenty of confidence ahead of blockbuster encounters.
“There’s definitely some belief there that we can rise when we need to and match it with the other best sides,” he said.
The Bombers have named an unchanged line-up to the one that got home over Dunnstown last weekend, while the Burras are likely to make minimal adjustments to the side that pumped Creswick on Saturday.
Hepburn senior coach Clive Raak said key defender Daniel Smith would return from overseas travel today but not take his place in the side this weekend. Raak said he was unsure when Smith, who injured a shoulder in a mountain biking accident while away, would be back in the team.
Important midfielder Josh Clissold played his first senior match of the year following off-season shoulder surgery against the Wickers and will have benefited from the run.
Raak said his team’s form was “OK” after a run of 11-straight victories.
“Everyone else is going OK too. We will get a gauge on how we really go in the next two weeks,” he said.
PREDICTION: Hepburn just.