NORTH BALLARAT CITY V EAST POINT
at Mars Stadium, Saturday 2.15pm
Last met: round 8, this year – Kangaroos 15.9 (99) d North City 10.10 (70)
North Ballarat City (3rd): 6 wins, 4 losses, 1 bye
East Point (2nd): 8 wins, 2 losses, 1 bye
North Ballarat City rightly has a belief it has what it takes to make a decisive mark on the Ballarat Football League season.
When it is up and running, North looks the goods.
While there have still been glimpses of its best against Darley and Melton in the past few rounds, there has not been enough of it and City has paid the price.
North Ballarat faces the possibility of a third straight loss against a rampaging East Point at Mars Stadium on Saturday.
Defeat might mean dropping two places to fifth and suddenly just percentage inside the top six with Bacchus Marsh next on its agenda and still the likes of Lake Wendouree to face in what could be a titanic battle for finals berth.
City coach Shane Skontra says his charges will need to be at their best, with him having no doubt that East Point has improved since their previous meeting in round eight which went the Kangaroos’ way.
There was just one point in that at three quarter time, but East Point finished the stronger.
Skontra said North would have to focus its efforts right across the board, such was the spread of Point’s strengths.
This is why East is proving so difficult to match-up. Nullifying selected quality players is not enough. There is always someone else prepared to provide cover and more headaches for rivals.
North Ballarat City loses the unavailable Josh Bromley-Lynch, who joins his brother Sam (concussion) and key defender Ryan Luke (jaw) as important players missing.
Brock Leonard has earned a recall to replace Bromley-Lynch.
Jake McQueen is the big addition for East Point.
He is back from Northern Blues in the VFL for his first BFL appearance since the Kangaroos last played North.
Joel Ottavi has been named on an extended interchange for Essendon in the VFL, but remains in the East Point line-up.
PREDICTION: East Point
North Ballarat City
B: B. Simpson , R. Hobbs, K. George
HB: J. Riding, S. Dunstan, C. Perks
C: S. Willian, D. Jones, O. Nash
HF: C. Jenkins, M. Johns, M. Gilbert
F: B. Leonard, W. Young, T. Bromley-Lynch
R: H. Loader, T. Speirs, S. Mc Cartin
Int: S. Scally, N. Dunstan, J. Cusack, T. George
Emg: D. Graham, M. Nevett, M. Goh, B. Draffin, M. Aikman
In: B. Leonard
Out: J. Bromley-Lynch
B: C. Lovig, D. Martin, L. Dahlenburg
HB: C. Bilney, J. Van Meel, D. Tung
C: B. Whittaker, M. Johnston, A. Nestor
HF: J. Johnston, L. Thornton, M. Rotumah-Onus
F: J. Payne, B. McDougall, J. Ottavi
R: P. Kodorenko, J. Brown, D. Semmens
Int: A. Maconachie, J. Taylor, C. Carson, J. McQueen
In: J. McQueen
Out: J. Gallagher
BALLARAT V LAKE WENDOUREE
at Alfredton Reserve, Saturday 2.15pm
Last met: round 2, this year - Lakers 11.18 (84) d Swans 7.9 (51)
BALLARAT (9th): The Swans return from a bye - a break an outfit which has been getting younger by the week needed.
Shane Hutchinson is hoping a week off has reinvigorated Ballarat for a game against a combination it thought it would be above this year.
The absence of key position duo Chris Prockter (injury) and Hayden Hughes (work commitments) is the last thing a physically light-on Swans has needed.
Hutchinson said he would be looking to rotate some of the Swans' younger players in the run home in an effort to find something extra.
Skipper Nick Garner returns from suspension, while and Pearce Antonio makes his senior debut.
LAKE WENDOUREE (6th): Getting Arthur Armstrong back after a week off is a massive plus and just what Lakers need given their scarcity of big timber.
He has had an interrupted run and Lake Wendouree needs him to get some on-field continuity.
The Lakers just keep improving, with coach Dale Power saying a better understanding of roles, especially off the ball, in a reshaped side and an ability to take on new and greater responsibilities have been instrumental.
Lake Wendouree has grabbed almost every opportunity and if it lives up to its form here it is likely to move into the top four.
The loss of Nathan Pring is a setback though.
PREDICTION: Lake Wendouree
B: S. Hutchinson, M. Bishop, T. Sutton
HB: P. Antonio, J. Leonard, D. Kennedy
C: J. Antonio, A. Stepnell, S. James
HF: M. Martin, M. Bowman, C. Prendergast
F: J. Nicholls, M. Powling, A. Gray
R: B. Van de Heuvel, K. Mellington, W. Garner
Int: B. Fraser, N. Garner, Z. Fiegert
In: A. Gray, P. Antonio (debut), B. Fraser, N. Garner
Out: H. Butler, L. Hodgetts, J. Blackburn. T. Conroy, A. McPherson
B: T. Littore, L. O'Connell, W. Henderson
HB: C. Hepworth, A. Armstrong, S. Clifton
C: A. Gillett, T. Malone, N. Nash
HF: A. Simpson, L. Hepworth, T. Nijam
F: C. McKay, J. Elkington, B. Taylor
R: T. McKechnie, J. O'Connell, B. Edwards
Int: S. Willmott, O. Yeung, K. Raven, A. Kirby
Emg: X. Schuurs, H. Robertson, D. Mahony
In: K. Raven, A. Armstrong
Out: S. Hepworth, N. Pring
DARLEY V BACCHUS MARSH
at Darley Park, Saturday 2.15pm
Last met: round 1, this year - Devils 11.12 (78) d Cobras 11.11 (77)
DARLEY (4th): The reigning produced something special in the opening round - fighting back despite injuries to win what looked like the unwinnable.
Can the Devils reproduce that same sort of spirit? Even with Heath Scotland back in the coach's box, Darley is facing a much tougher test this time.
It will lift after struggling against East Point - leaders Darren Leonard, Jake Edwards, Shane Page and Steve Kennedy will see to that.
However, their players stocks are down and depth will be an issue as Matthew Young returns after missing a week for the suspended Abe Kur.
BACCHUS MARSH (1st): Coach Travis Hodgson is expecting to have one of his strongest combinations of the year for the trip across the freeway with Jacob Chisari, Daniel Velden, Nick Stuhldreier, Daniel Foley and Alec Del Papa all returning.
Although on top and with winning combinations on every line, the Cobras believe there is still a lot of improvement in them.
Hodgson has always rated Darley highly and even though it has been off the boil on occasions he will not be leaving anything to chance.
Marsh's forward potency has gone ahead in leaps and bounds since the start of the season. East Point's strength in that area was too much for Darley. It will be the same story here.
PREDICTION: Bacchus Marsh
B: C. Cullen, S. McDonald, S. Page
HB: T. Stone, M. Young, J. Zeestraten
C: L. Delahey, S. Kennedy, T. Evans
HF: J. Carrick, M. Hanson, R. Ellis
F: J. Spiteri, H. Inglis, J. Edwards
R: D. Leonard, J. Ancrum, L. Baker
Int: L. Herring, K. Fenton, D. Robson, J. Pattison
Emg: M. Ward, J. Dodemaide, A. Azzopardi
In: M. Young
Out: A. Kur (suspended)
B: L. Phyland, D. Velden, L. Blundell
HB: M. Chisari, T. Angwin, L. Mullen
C: H. Coulton, T. Shea, J. Trowsdale
HF: B. Speight, J. Owen, D. Bishop
F: R. Stuhldreier, A. Willitts, D. Phyland
R: D. Burton, H. King, S. Sherlock
Int: J. Chisari, N. Stuhldreier, A. Del Papa, B. Griffiths
Emg: M. Sutherland, D. Foley
In: A. Del Papa, J. Chisari, N. Stuhldreier, D. Velden
Out: J. Dickson, J. Homewood, J. Fell, X. Jenks
MELTON V REDAN
at MacPherson Park, Saturday 2.15pm
Last met: round 6, this year - Bloods 16.17 (113) d Lions 5.10 (40)
MELTON (7th): There is again plenty on the line for the Bloods.
Back in winning form and with the mid-table battle so tight, they need to make the most of games against lower-ranked sides like this if they are to get back into the top six and stay there.
Melton is another combination which finds something extra at home.
Coach Aaron Tymms has largely at full-strength line-up and needs to make the most of a run with also features clashes with Melton South and then a bye.
REDAN (11th): The Lions are still on a high and who can blame them after finally tasting success.
Coach Brendan Peace has no doubt this will inject confidence into the Lions and they will need to be upbeat if they are to be a realistic chance of upsetting the Bloods.
Having experience around can make all the difference and this was evident on the return of Orren Stephenson and Dean Mathews to join forces with the likes of Pat Britt, Ben Schiltz and Jarrett Giampaolo.
Veteran defender Dean Chester is a further addition this week, back for his first game since round one.
Redan's toughest challenge will be matching some of the stronger bodies of Melton for a full four terms.
B: J. Cotter, R. Carter, D. Walker
HB: L. Heaney, B. McIntyre, L. Hickey
C: B. Crofts, M. Denham, R. Walker
HF: D. Haby, B. Archard, B. Souter
F: C. Griffiths, L. Carter, B. Kight
R: M. Orr, T. Button, R. Davis
Int: J. Hickey, L. Walker, L. Ericson, N. Gale
Emg: J. Whitehand, K. Baker, J. McGregor, J. May, B. Kennedy
In: L. Ericson
Out: J. May
B: D. Chester, P. Britt, D. Mathews
HB: K. Linton, N. Barker, J. Giampaolo
C: P. Fitzgibbon, L. Hoy, B. Schiltz
HF: L. McLean, B. Smyth, T. Watson
F: B. Thomson, W. Madden, B. Peace
R: O. Stephenson, N. Horbury, G. Bell
Int: M. Coon, A. Harvey, A. Gercovich, S. Kyatt
Emg: J. Toulmin, H. Edwards, K. Hayes, D. Okely
In: D. Chester
Out: Z. Jenkins
SUNBURY V MELTON SOUTH
at Clarke Oval, Saturday 2.15pm
Last met: round 2, this year - Lions 13.9 (87) d Panthers 9.16 (70)
SUNBURY (5th): It surely goes without saying that Sunbury wins - based solely on the fact that the Lions have so far proved unbeatable at home.
If it was only that simple for coach Ben Jordan, who will be without Aaron Christensen (ill) Mick Edwards (knee surgery) for a second week, and lose match-winner Grant Valles (foot) - a huge out - and Tim Hill (overseas).
With three losses in their past four outings, this will be a further test of the Lions' depth with 13 or 14 frontline players injured, overseas or playing VFL.
Jordan said it had been a tough run and Sunbury had no choice but find a way to get a win.
MELTON SOUTH (10th): The Lions had the wood on Sunbury last year and were not too far away earlier in the season.
Still hurting from a lack-lustre showing against Redan, the Panthers will be searching for the form which a week before that gave them a massive win over Ballarat.
The importantly regain Mitch Golby back after a two-week suspension, as well as having Jack Watkins and Aaron Clark return from Western Jets in the TAC Cup.
B: W. Healy, J. Fenner, R. Wood
HB: D. Landt, L. Goater, L. Berry
C: B. Guthrie, G. Hay, J. Landt
HF: T. Werner, R. Allen, A. Duhau
F: T. Stead, A. Magin, P. MacDonough
R: J. Eales, T. Lenaz, J. Hannett
Int: N. Doyle, D. Sanderson, C. Hansen, N. Bridgland
Emg: D. Jurczyluc, C. Casson, J. Bygate, B. Mundy, J. Johnson
In: C. Hansen R. Allen
Out: T. Hill, G. Valles
B: M. Sullivan, S. Hurst, L. Watkins
HB: F. Ray, C. Searle, M. Smith-Bye
C: D. Sharp, J. Thornton Gielen, B. Sullivan
HF: M. Notman, B. Collins, M. Lynch
F: M. Golby, A. Clarke, R. Miles
R: B. Sortino, J. Watkins, D. Houghton
Int: J. Charge, D. Clarke, B. Sullivan, S. Humphries
Emg: W. Thornton-Gielen, P. Unsworth, F. Holzer, J. Mepstead
In: M. Golby, A. Clarke, J. Watkins
Out: C. Chapman, W. Thornton-Gielen, P. Unsworth