Daylesford v Hepburn
at Daylesford, Sunday, 2.30pm
Last time: Daylesford 10.14 (74) d Hepburn 10.8 (68), round 2, 2017
Daylesford top-liner Seb Walsh is set to miss the huge clash with arch-rivals Hepburn due to injury.
Bulldogs coach Zac Tisdale said Walsh, who plays through the midfield and in attack, hurt his ankle in the second half of last weekend’s loss to Beaufort and that he would be a “massive loss” for the battle with the Burras.
Tisdale said Cade O’Brien and Emlyn Nettleton suffered respective hamstring and finger injuries on Saturday, but both were selected to take the field this weekend.
Tisdale believed the transfer of onballer Jordan Alexander back to the club from Lake Wendouree had also gone through and he is a chance to play on Sunday.
While Daylesford was well beaten by the Crows – one of the Central Highlands Football League flag fancies – reigning premiers Hepburn got off to a winning start.
The Burras managed to hold out a new-look Newlyn outfit that had been bolstered heavily during the off-season recruiting period.
But among the casualties for Hepburn was last season’s under-18 league best and fairest Bryce Coffey.
Burras president Jason Dooley said Coffey would miss in the vicinity of six weeks with a broken thumb.
Dooley said recruit Tallan Wright, who didn’t play against the Cats, would also miss some early matches after undergoing surgery for a thumb problem.
Learmonth v Rokewood-Corindhap
at Learmonth, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Learmonth 11.4 (70) d Rokewood-Corindhap 4.10 (34), round 2, 2017
Rokewood-Corindhap will showcase its new-look side under coach Damon Delaney for the first time in season 2018 on Saturday.
The Grasshoppers didn’t have a senior game in round one due to Smythesdale not fielding a team and have named a string of recruits to take on Learmonth this weekend.
Those new players selected are Jordan Grant, Mitch McLaughlin, Troy McLaughlin, Shane Dillon, Ben Allison, Brayden Ferguson, Tyler Mookhoek, Brendan Berlund and Lachlan Platt.
Delaney has taken charge of the side for the new season and is keen to get the campaign started.
“I’m looking forward to the contest and unveiling a stack of new recruits that have fitted in to the club seamlessly,” Delaney said.
“Our midfield stocks have risen allowing us to match up better on the likes of (Brenton) Powell, (Scott) Whiting and (Nick) Willox.”
Despite Delaney’s comments, Willox will be missing from the Lakies’ starting line-up on Saturday.
He has a wedding to attend and will pass coaching duties over to Powell.
Defender Nathan Ross is also unavailable this weekend, with selectors making four changes to the team that lost to Waubra by nine points last weekend.
Forward Jake O'Donnell is one of the key inclusions after being absent for the game against the Roos.
Carngham-Linton v Springbank
at Linton, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Springbank 13.9 (87) d Carngham-Linton 3.3 (21), round 2, 2017
Springbank has given a surprise call-up to Irishman Colin Vaughan.
Vaughan, who only arrived at the club in the new year and has no background in football, was named in the Tigers’ best during the reserves side’s heavy loss to Buninyong last weekend.
That has earned him a place in the senior team for Saturday’s battle with Carngham-Linton.
Springbank coach Troy Beamond said Vaughan had shown rapid improvement since taking up the sport in February.
“From his first night at the club when he couldn’t even kick… now he is a reliable kick over 25m-30m,” Beamond said.
“He can really play a defensive role.”
Beamond had a successful start to his time as Springbank coach, with his side finishing strongly to beat Buninyong by eight points last week.
Recruit Ryan Bulluss (corked thigh) and utility Mitch Keighrey (bruised hip) were among the casualties from that clash and will miss the game against Carngham-Linton.
The Saints will be heavy underdogs against the Tigers following a disappointing round one defeat to Creswick.
Carngham-Linton has four changes, with Harrison Peoples, Matt Spratling, James McErvale and Chris Hannah the inclusions into the senior team for Saturday’s contest.
Bungaree v Beaufort
at Bungaree, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Beaufort 13.6 (84) d Bungaree 4.7 (31), round 2, 2017
Bungaree: Demons coach Heath Pyke has been ruled out for the next few games with an ankle injury.
Pyke said he was awaiting MRI scan results to determine the extent of the issue, which he sustained during the round one win over Dunnstown.
Beaufort: The Crows look fairly settled after a strong round one triumph away to Daylesford.
Coach Rohan Brown and his boys, which were beaten in the grand final last year, kicked clear of the Bulldogs late to win by 69 points.
Buninyong v Ballan
at Buninyong, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Buninyong 11.11 (77) d Ballan 3.7 (25), round 2, 2017
Buninyong: Important winger Jarrod Rodgers has been named to play his first game of the year on Saturday.
Rodgers was unavailable for last weekend's eight-point loss to Springbank, but is a big inclusion for what will be Buninyong's debut on the ground that was redeveloped during the off-season.
Ballan: The Blues surprised a few by their performance against one of the competition yardsticks in Gordon last weekend, losing by just 19 points at home.
Coach Jason McNamara and his men will be hoping for a better display against the Bombers than the one that saw them kick just three goals last year.
Clunes v Creswick
at Clunes, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Clunes 11.5 (71) d Creswick 10.10 (70), round 2, 2017
Clunes: The Magpies are set to welcome in recruit Liam Horniblow, who missed last round's loss to Skipton with a quadriceps injury.
Clunes coach Johno Leoncini said Horniblow, from Modewarre, was likely to fill a role in the team's defence.
Creswick: The Wickers will be without the important Matt Miller this weekend, with the flanker unavailable due to a wedding.
Creswick started the campaign with a strong win over Carngham-Linton last Saturday and shapes as a good chance to greet the bye unbeaten.
Gordon v Dunnstown
at Gordon, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Gordon 22.12 (144) d Dunnstown 9.7 (61), round 2, 2017
Gordon: The Eagles will be without top backman Adam Toohey, who has headed overseas on holiday.
But Gordon gets back key players such as Cam Richardson and Chris McGuigan, who were missing from the side that beat Ballan on Saturday.
Dunnstown: Talented recruit Will Short is set to spend some time on the sidelines after injuring his knee in the Towners' loss to Bungaree.
Short, from Maryborough, is one of the big omissions for Dunnstown this week, but the return of defender Kyle Andrews is a big boost.
Newlyn v Waubra
at Newlyn, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Waubra 12.14 (86) d Newlyn 9.3 (57), round 2, 2017
Newlyn: The Cats welcome in former club junior and dual Hawthorn premiership player Brad Sewell for his first appearance of the year on Saturday.
But there is also some bad news at the cattery with tall winger Leigh Allen suffering a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury in the round one loss to Hepburn.
Waubra: Key figures Matt Dawson (ankle) and Jonathon Neville (wrist) are set to miss the Roos' big clash with Newlyn through injury.
Dawson and Neville were hurt in the round one nine-point triumph against Learmonth, but the return of former North Ballarat Roosters-listed defender James Lukich helps offset their absence.