THERE is never any shortage of feeling in a Bacchus Marsh-Darley derby.
But few in recent years have had as much importance for both clubs as tomorrow’s clash at Maddingley Park, in terms of a potential finals appearance.
The Cobras and the Devils are both contenders for a top six position, something that means more than just cross-town bragging rights.
“I’m new to the area but you do pick up on the rivalry,” Darley coach Rod MacPherson says.
“I could sense an increase in intensity at Tuesday training. Everyone understands the importance of the game in terms of the whole Bacchus Marsh, Darley area.”
Those sentiments are echoed by his opposite number at Maddingley Park, Dave Callander.
“There’s no doubt it is still the old rivalry,” he says. “There’s still that build-up and urgency, and that little intangible that the winner has bragging rights in the town.
“The fact that they are quite a different side than previous years might make it a bit different than last year. At the end of the day it is a four-point game.”
Darley has lost Leigh Sobotnicki (Western Jets) and Jarrod Edwards (leg injury) for the match.
The Devils are also coming off the bye.
“We know that AFL clubs struggle to win coming off the bye but, on the positive, there were a few guys who have got a bit sore on the harder grounds early in the season, so it was a chance to freshen up the legs,” MacPherson says.
Meanwhile, Corey Cullen and Lachlan Phyland, younger brother of Declan, are possible inclusions for their first senior games at Bacchus Marsh.
PREDICTION: Bacchus Marsh by 11 points