SUNBURY v REDAN
at Clarke Oval, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST MET: round 7 - Sunbury 13.5 (83) d Redan 7.12 (54)
SUNBURY (5th) – REDAN (4th)
Sunbury put Redan’s season on the line last time they met this Ballarat Football League season.
That was not that long ago – just five weeks.
The Eastern Lions inflicted a second consecutive defeat for Redan and put a sizeable dent in its aspirations.
The landscape has changed since then.
Redan was sparked into gear by that loss and has not tasted defeat in four games since, including a success over Darley and then a gritty victory over Melton.
So Redan goes to Sunbury up on confidence and with the Eastern Lions feeling the pressure after lowering its colours to Melton South and now looking over its shoulder in fifth position.
Each remains well below full strength, with Redan missing Orren Stephenson, Callum Currie, Grant Bell and Brendan Peace, and Sunbury without suspended pair Dwain Sanderson and Roger Allen, and Grant Valles (overseas). Alik Magin has been named for Sunbury, but there must be some doubt after a head kick last round.
They are big absentees for Redan, but it fortunately regains ball magnet Dean Mathews and has key defender Josh Webster from the North Ballarat Roosters among five changes.
Sunbury coach Ben Jordan believes he needs more drive out of defence if his side is to produce its best.
He said the absence of Sanderson and Valles had made it tough in this area, as had an interrupted season for Adam Short – one of the best intercept marks in the competition.
And having the likes of Liam Hoy, Mitch Phelps and Nick Willox to deal with is not going to make it any easier.
A natural born defender, Redan has taken a while to find an attacking role for Hoy, but right now as a deep goalkicker alongside Phelps the captain could not be going better.
The midfields look evenly matched, with Sunbury premiership player Greg Hay working into some strong form ahead of what will be his 100th senior game for the Lions.
He never shirks an issue – just the type needed against a seasoned Redan with Mathews Callum Currie, Dean Chester, Tom Lamb and Chris Giampaolo, who are always ball hungry.
And Sunbury will need that and more.
In: L. Bramble
Out: R. Allen
In: J. Toulmin, D. Mathews, J. Webster, D. Watson, T. Bryans
Out: G. Bell, D. Okely, K. Waterbury, P. Fitzgibbon, C. Currie
BALLARAT v EAST POINT
at Alfredton, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST MET: round 1 - Kangaroos 11.18 (84) drew with Swans 13.6 (84)
BALLARAT (10th): this was a match that got away from the Swans last time and coach Shane Hutchinson does not want to see a repeat of that. What he does want is to see Ballarat continue to show the type of form it had produced against the likes of Darley and Lake Wendouree, when the Swans went unrewarded, and turn it into a win."We need a result," Hutchinson said, with the Swans having lost their past five outings since beating Sebastopol. Daniel Hobbs returns to add experience, while defender Ash Gray has been called up from the under-18.5s as the latest youngster to make his senior debut.
EAST POINT (7th): this fixture shapes as being pivotal to the Kangaroos' finals aspirations. With a bye intervening, two weeks has been a long time for East Point to wait to make amends for its last-gasp loss to Melton. It needs a win to stay in touch with the top six and keep Melton South under pressure. East Point has improved markedly since these teams last met, but so have the Swans and this threatens to be another close one. The Kangaroos have swung the changes with BFL representative Daniel Tung a huge return, Chris Quinlan in for his first appearance of the the season after shoulder surgery, Charlie Lee back from the North Ballarat Roosters and youngster Mitch Tuddenham available after holidays
In: D. Hobbs, A. Gray
Out: A. Stepnell, C. Prendergast
In: D. Tung, M. Tuddenham, C. Lee, C. Quinlan, J. Draffin
Out: S. Tung, A. Stevenson, J. Watkins, B. Watkins, B. Leonard
NORTH BALLARAT CITY v LAKE WENDOUREE
at Mars Stadium, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST MET: round 6 - Lakers 23.12 (15) d City 11.12 (78)
NORTH BALLARAT (9th): coach Jordyn Burke is looking for more of the same from his players after a morale-boosting win over Darley. Burke said the performance had lifted the group's self-belief. As tough as he knows the Lakers will be, he is hoping for another tight battle with plenty of contested football. City should have Daniel Kilpatrick (groin) back, but does lose Mitch Gilbert (concussion) and Nathan Olver, who Burke said suffered four cheek fractures. Tom McPhan will make his senior debut after a string of strong performances in the reserves, while Harry Loader from the under-18.5s gets another chance.
LAKE WENDOUREE (1st): there is no danger of Lakers taking this lightly after their scare at the hands of Ballarat. They might be on top, but coach Tim Malone is looking for much more out of the side - especially with this another potential danger game. Luke Bucknall, Jayden Hooper and Liam Findlay are all available again after being away, so there is time for anyone to rest of their laurels. Ashe Simpson also returns, while Callum McKay is another under-18.5 debutant for Lakers. Jack Elkington is a big loss with a broken leg.
North Ballarat City
In: D. Kilpatrick, T. McPhan, H. Loader
Out: M. Gilbert, C. McGrath, N. Olver
In: L. Findlay, J. Hooper, C. McKay, L. Bucknall, A. Simpson
Out: J. Elkington, N. Fraser, D. Sliwa, J. Monk, E. McCuskey
BACCHUS MARSH v MELTON
at Maddingley Park, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST MET: round 5 - Cobras 14.15 (99) d Bloods 6.12 (48)
BACCHUS MARSH (2nd): some drama in the Cobra camp with match-winner Jarrah Maksymow disciplined by being dropped. It is a massive call, but one which had to be made if coach Travis Hodgson is not happy with his output. Despite his loss, Bacchus Marsh is bolstered in a big way by the return of Hamish Coulton, key defender Trent Angwin (foot), versatile tall Rhys McNay (soreness) and Liam Mullen. The Cobras have been playing themselves into something like their best form.
MELTON (8th): the Bloods know a win is imperative to keep touch with the top six, but what a task they face. Planning is never easy when there is uncertainty as what players might be returning from VFL ranks and this is a constant for Melton coach Brad Murphy, often not knowing until as late as Friday who he has services of.
He needs all the players he can get for this game, with mobile tall Brock McGregor and Jordyn Cotter expected to line up. Melton had its chances against Redan, but was wasteful. Murphy says its best is good enough. Anything less will not be enough here.
In: L. Mullen, R. McNay, T. Angwin, H. Coulton
Out: T. Hughes, J. Homewood, K. Dickson, L. Noonan
In: B. McGregor, L. Ericson, L. Walker
Out: N. Wallace, C. Armstrong, T. Button
MELTON SOUTH v SEBASTOPOL
at Melton Recreation Reserve, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST MET: round 3 - Panthers 16.15 (11) d Burra 5.9 (39)
MELTON SOUTH (6th): the Panthers should lock away another badly needed win. They are finally showing signs of getting their season back on track and it is important they make the most of this. South will miss the suspended Nick Kommer (two matches). With Mark Lynch, Kommer has been one of its most consistent contributors. Brendan Fevola is back though after being unavailable and this might be the day he finally lights up with something special in front of goal. Aaron Clarke is ill and will miss after the teenager made a promising debut against Sunbury.
SEBASTOPOL (11th): the Burra remains firm in its resolve to open its winning account, with coach Shane Snibson sure to remind his players they rolled the Panthers twice last year. Snibson is disappointed to confirm that key forward Michael Powell will miss four to five weeks with a hamstring injury - a factor which will not help the Burra maintain its improvement in attack. Ryan Noether does return to add to that hard edge provided by the likes of Chase Dummett and Brett Goodes.
In: D. Callus, B. Fevola, D. Vasjuta,
Out: A. Clarke, N. Kommer, B. Sullivan
In: J. Mason, R. Noether
Out: M. Powell, D. Cuthbertson