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East Point has been hit by injury, suspension and a VFL call-up for its top-of-the-table blockbuster against Sebastopol in the Ballarat Football League at Marty Busch Reserve on Saturday.
Half back Jess Baird is out with a knee injury suffered against North Ballarat City last round and number one ruckman Jaykeb Lench will start a two-match suspension. Lench accepted a set penalty after being reported for striking Josh Chatfield.
Jacob Brown returns to Essendon after being one of the Roos' best against North.
On the plus side, the Roos regain versatile forward Bryson McDougall and defender Dallas Martin, who will be playing just his second game of the season.
Fortunately, key forward Brad Whittaker is right to play despite sitting out three quarters against North Ballarat with a corky.
Sebastopol has strengthened its book-ends with the return of defender Grady Snowden and forward Brett Goodes.
Snowden has not played since the Burra's win over Redan in round 11.
Despite the big inclusions, Sebastopol remains without Luke Kiel and James Keeble.
Kiel was only expected to be rested for one week, but coach Leigh Hutchinson said he had not pulled up from training as well as expected.
NORTH Ballarat City has lost captain Simon McCartin and young defender Josh Chatfield to injury for its cut-throat clash with Darley at Mars Stadium on Saturday.
City coach Shane Skontra said wear and tear had finally caught up McCartin, who had been struggling for several weeks. He sat out the last quarter of North's loss to East Point.
Riely Ranieri plays his first senior game for the year up from the under-19s, while Tom Bromley-Lynch and Alex Riches have earned recalls.
REDAN will be without boom recruit Shaun Grigg for Saturday's road trip to play bottom side Melton South on Saturday.
Grigg is unavailable owing to AFL-related media commitments.
He has made two appearances for the Lions spaced over three weeks and has assured coach Jarrett Giampaolo he will be right to play the last two home and away rounds, then finals. Grigg needs to play one more game to qualify for finals.
Cooper Atchison is being rested after school football during the week.
Former coach Brendan Peace is the surprise inclusion after just two appearances in the reserves.
He hung up the boots after standing down as coach at the end of last year. Peace offers a wealth of experience and leadership.
LAKE Wendouree youngster Jacob Lohmann will debut for North Melbourne in the VFL as 23rd player.
Bacchus Marsh will debut Jack Burgess from the under-19s against Lakers at CE Brown Reserve on Saturday.
The Cobras have also regained Brodie Easton and recalled Billy Griffiths.
Melton has made four changes for its home game against Sunbury, which has three.
PREVIEWS AND LINE-UPS
SEBASTOPOL v EAST POINT
at Marty Busch Reserve
LAST MET: round 4, Roos 11.14 (80) d Burra 7.7 (49)
SEBASTOPOL (2nd, 9 wins, 4 losses): top spot and a top two position are on the line for each.
Win and the Burra is number one, lose and it almost certainly drops to fourth.
This is how cut-throat the jostling inside the top six is with three rounds to go.
Sebastopol is playing as well as anyone as eight wins and a one-point loss in its past nine games reveals.
It will line up much stronger and give this game one big shot.
This will be the best indication so far of what it might produce in the finals.
EAST POINT (1st, 10 wins, 4 losses): the Roos were back to their menacing best in the second half against North Ballarat City, and that was with a few injury worries.
It was an ominous warning to all other premiership contenders with finals not far away.
They will need to up to that form again against the new kid on the block - a side with much to prove.
This match-up is going to say a lot about each side with so much at stake.
PREDICTION: East Point
B: Jacob Wilkinson, Grady Snowden, Tom Petersen
HB: Sam Jenkins, Tony Lockyer, Ben Hutt
C: Jordan Gercovich, Lachlan Cassidy, Marshall Cain
HF: Geoffrey Lovett, Hugo Papst, Simon Butler
F: Toby Hutt, Michael Powell, Brett Goodes
R: Tobias Thoolen, Ryan Noether, Daniel Widgery
Int: Tom Holmes, Chase Dummett, Dayne Furness, Matt Austin
Emg: Jack Mason, Bradley Weightman, Shaun Henry
In: Brett Goodes, Grady Snowden
Out: Benjamin Trew, Bradley Weightman,
B: Bryson McDougall, Joel Gallagher, Daniel Tung
HB: Lucas Dahlenburg, Joel Van Meel, Drew Murphy
C: Isaac Quick, Joel Mahar, Clay Bilney
HF: Daniel Semmens, Brad Whittaker, Billy Jones
F: Jordan Johnston, Jake McQueen, Mitchell Tuddenham
R: Mitchell Walsh, Matthew Johnston, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus
Int: Dallas Martin, Chris Carson, Aden Nestor, Cameron Lovig
Emg: Jordan Taylor, Chris Banwell, Joseph Dodd, Nicholas Canny
In: Dallas Martin, Joel Gallagher, Bryson McDougall
Out: Jesse Baird, Jaykeb Lench, Jacob Brown
NORTH BALLARAT CITY v DARLEY
at Mars Stadium
LAST MET: round 5, Devils 13.9 (87) d North 9.12 (66)
NORTH BALLARAT CITY (7th, 6 wins, 7 losses): not for the first time, North is playing for its season.
It has to win to keep in finals contention. While City will run into a side with almost as much desperation as it possesses, there is no question it will respond - just as it has in the past.
Coach Shane Skontra has laid down the law in no uncertain terms after a shocker at the hands of East Point.
It cannot possibly play that badly again, or at least be allowed to go that badly. Expect some big names to stand up.
DARLEY (6th, 8 wins, 5 losses): the Devils continue to have pundits scratching their heads.
After round 10 they were second, two games clear of fourth and an undisputed premiership challenger.
Since then losses to East Point, Sebastopol and Sunbury have changed where Darley sits.
There is no questionaing its ability. Win and it plays finals. Lose and finals are no certainty.
PREDICTION: North Ballarat City
North Ballarat City
B: Clay Jenkins, Ryan Hobbs, Adam Turley
HB: Samuel Scally, Benjamin Simpson , Elliott Lamb
C: Izaac Johnson, Jason McNamara, Sam Bromley-Lynch
HF: Harry Loader, William Young, Timothy Speirs
F: Mitchell Gilbert, Tom Bromley-Lynch, Dylan Graham
R: Cameron McCallum, Oliver Nash, Brock Leonard
Int: Fiachra O'deasmhunaigh, Alexander Riches, Brock Freeman, Riely Ranieri
Emg: Fletcher Loader, Fletcher Toose, Jack Simpson, Darcy McEldrew
In: Tom Bromley-Lynch, Alexander Riches, Riely Ranieri,
Out: Simon McCartin, Josh Chatfield, Harrison Mulcahy
B: Jake Ancrum, Jacob Zeestraten, Nash Reynolds
HB: Leigh Spiteri, Darren Leonard, Mark Hanson
C: Blake Colley, Bailey Waasdorp, Shane Page
HF: Trent Angwin, Joel Cadman, Heath Scotland
F: Tom Evans, Jake Edwards, Bryce Stephenson
R: Bradley Spiteri, Luther Baker, Brian Graham
Int: Andrew Azzopardi, Joseph Nesci, Corey Cullen, Jack Bewley
Emg: Dylan Beecham, Duncan Cadman, Mitchell Ward
In: Bradley Spiteri, Joseph Nesci, Jack Bewley, Andrew Azzopardi,
Out: Khyle Forde, Lachlan Herring, Jackson Carrick, Harley Inglis
MELTON v SUNBURY
at MacPherson Park
LAST MET: round 6, Lions 13.16 (94) d Bloods 15.12 (102)
MELTON (5th, 8 wins, 5 losses): for the Bloods, it is as good as the start of a finals series with Sebastopol and Redan to follow.
Right now, finals are not locked in. Melton can do that though with a win. Darley can also help by winning.
The Bloods showed in beating East Point two rounds ago it has what it takes to go a long way when at its best.
They will need to be that this time - a factor which will be helped by playing at home
SUNBURY (3rd, 10 wins, 4 losses): second position is the reward awaiting the Lions if they get over their arch-rival.
Their biggest challenge is getting a major scalp away from home - something they have not yet done.
It looms as a sleeping giant, but Sunbury's only three wins on the road have been against the bottom three.
If it beats this mindset, it should win and be right at the pointy end of the premiership race.
B: Lachlan Walker, Ryan Carter, Ryan Davis
HB: Billy Crofts, Jaycob Hickey, Anthony Hibbert
C: Dyson Stevens, Matt Denham, Riley Walker
HF: Shaun Campbell, Mark Orr, Mitchell Brockwell
F: Liam Carter, Braedan Kight, Lachlan Hickey
R: Ben Archard, Jack Walker, Connor Griffiths
Int: Ashden Crone, Jai Whitehand, Jordan Kight, Jared May
Emg: Billy Dixon, Kurt Baker, Joshua Parsons, Jake Syme, Christopher Jones
In: Jared May, Jake Syme, Jai Whitehand, Ashden Crone
Out: Brett McIntyre, Benjamin McMahon, Harrison Hanley
B: Dylan Featon, Daylan Kempster, Jack Landt
HB: Mitchell Conn, Grant Valles, Nathan Wood
C: Liam Berry, Gregory Hay, Harry Power
HF: Michael Edwards, Leigh Brennan, Andrew Duhau
F: Jarrah Maksymow, Jack Sheahan, Jack Hannett
R: Jayden Eales, Lachlan Bramble, Alik Magin
Int: Jiaya Mitchell, Alec Goodson, Corey Mobilio, Reece Wood
Emg: Ben Guthrie, Thomas Werner, James Rizk, Timothy Hill, Jack O'Leary
In: Harry Power, Jack Hannett, Jack O'Leary
Out: Dylan Landt, Ben Guthrie, Thomas Werner
LAKE WENDOUREE v BACCHUS MARSH
at CE Brown Reserve
LAST MET: round 11, Cobras 11.13 (79) d Lakers 7.12 (54)
LAKE WENDOUREE (9th, 3 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw): this is the Lakers' best shot a win in the weeks remaining.
This time last season Lake Wendouree and the Cobras were preparing to play finals. Not this time.
Now though it is all about playing for pride.
Lakers have done enough to deserve another victory, but it is hard to confident with just one win since round three - so long ago.
BACCHUS MARSH (8th, 5 wins, 8 losses): the Cobras were always going to be under pressure to keeps their place in the top six this season after low-key recruiting.
Then losing newcomers to injury did not help. They have had to rely too much on some old heads, making it impossible to match it with the top-end outfits.
The Marsh can finish the season on a relative high though with a win here.
PREDICTION: Bacchus Marsh
B: Oliver Yeung, Lachlan O'Connell, William Henderson
HB: Joshua Bibby, Jack Elkington, Scott Carlin
C: Bailey Edwards, Shane Hutchinson, Tom Salau
HF: Caleb Hepworth, Jamie Norton, Ashley Simpson
F: Mitchell Phillips, , Jacob Coxall, Robbie Emerson-Jones
R: Liam Hepworth, Ben Taylor, Joel O'Connell
Int: Sean Willmott, Nathan Pring, Sam Clifton, Callum Harte
Emg: Jonathon Millane, Harrison Robertson, Paul O'Connell
In: Jonathon Millane, Sam Clifton,
Out: Kynan Raven, Jacob Lohmann
B: Thomas Wardell, Daniel Velden, Tim Hughes
HB: Brodie Easton, Quade Butt, Ryley Stuhldreier
C: Matthew Chisari, Nicholas Stuhldreier, Harrison King
HF: Liam Mullen, Jake Owen, Jack Parente
F: Connor Stone, Aaron Willitts, Billy Griffiths
R: Daniel Burton, Kain Dickson, Tyson Shea
Int: Ricky Shortis, Jacob Pawlowicz, Jack Lalor, Rylan Porter
Emg: Jack Burgess
In: Brodie Easton, Billy Griffiths, Jack Burgess, Rylan Porter
Out: Baiden Cracknell, Simon Lafranchi, Jakob De Winter
MELTON SOUTH v REDAN
at Melton Recreation Reserve
LAST MET: round 9, Lions 17.26 (128) d Panthers 8.5 (53)
MELTON SOUTH (11th, 1 win, 12 losses): it is back to the grind for the Panthers.
The season cannot come quick enough, but in the meantime all they can do is battle on.
South does play its best at home and as always it will produce patches of promising play.
However, sustaining it is a constant issue and keeping pace with Redan heading to finals will prove beyond it.
REDAN (4th, 9 wins, 4 losses): the Lions have the potential to climb their way back into the top two.
This is the second in a run of three games which gives coach Jarrett Giampaolo the chance to rediscover the edge Redan had through the first half of the season.
If the Lions are to go deep into the finals, it is time to put the pedal down and this is the perfect fixture to ignite that run.
B: Ryan Holzer, Daniel Leggett, Shaun Lord
HB: Jacob Thornton-Gielen, William Thornton-Gielen, Dale Houghton
C: Dillon Sharp, Brody Sullivan, Billy Sullivan
HF: Cody Chapman, Brayden Wood, Sean Humphries
F: Samuel Hurst, Aaron Clarke, Matthew Sullivan
R: Broden Collins, Paul Bower, Daniel Vasjuta
Int: Jonathon Bell, Shaun White, Rhys Lee, Rhys Souter
Emg: Mitchell Fino, Patrick Unsworth, Jack Morrissey, Jack Mepstead
In: William Thornton-Gielen, Aaron Clarke, Shaun White,
Out: Jack Mepstead, Nathan Gemmell, Patrick Unsworth
B: Jarrett Giampaolo, Patrick Britt, Zac Jenkins
HB: Dean Chester, Benjamin Smyth, Keenan Waterbury
C: Jacob Short, Liam Hoy, Dean Mathews
HF: Alexander Harvey, Lachlan McLean, Brendan Peace
F: Laityn Withers, Angus Cleary, Grant Bell
R: Orren Stephenson, Lachlan George, Hayden Edwards
Int: Liam O'Brien, Patrick Fitzgibbon, Stuart Aberdein, Jordan Baker
Emg: Sam Carr, Todd Douglass, Nicholas Barker, Scott Whiting
In: Brendan Peace, Hayden Edwards
Out: Cooper Atchison, Shaun Grigg
LAKE WENDOUREE v. BACCHUS MARSH
B: Lachlan Dodd, Nicholas Clifton, Michael Britt
HB: Aiden Lourey, Jesse McLean, Neville Fraser
C: Xavier Schuurs, Harrison Robertson, Fletcher Brennan
HF: Paul O'Connell, Robbie Emerson-Jones, Stuart Cox
F: Tom Mc Kay, Michael Page, John Forbes
R: Jonathon Millane, Tom Salau, Joel Moriarty
Int: Alexander Parrot, Andrew Clifton, Stephen McCulloch, Archie Bissinella
B: Lleyton Pigott, Kyle Grima, Zachary Miesen
HB: Simon Lafranchi, Ben Singor, Baiden Cracknell
C: Samuel Rousch, Daniel Bonnici, Dominic Miesen
HF: Declan Phyland, Nicholas Strangio, Alex Sweet
F: Samuel Griffiths, Scott Howson, Joshua Harrington
R: Jye Dickson, Kane White, Phillip Hoyland
Int: Mathew Cuppens, Timothy Walsh
MELTON v. SUNBURY
B: Kurt Baker, Tom Button, Nicholas Milburn
HB: James Robertson, Malcolm Beck, Christopher Jones
C: Joshua Parsons, Heath Abela, Jake Buttigieg
HF: Jordyn Cotter, Mark Farrar, Lochlan Ericson
F: Matthew Huckstepp, Billy Dixon, Blake Nicholson
R: James Taylor, Jacob Grech,
Int: Chris Reilly, Murphy Wilde, Bradley Newman
B: Christopher Lucas, Andrew Gilbertson, Bradley Mundy
HB: Ben Riley, Joshua Muir, Dwain Sanderson
C: Ben Guthrie, Nathan Bridgland, Daniel Jurczyluc
HF: Mitchell Pearce, Ben Brennan, Brody Pink
F: Dylan Caruana, Jacob Bygate, Jack O'Leary
R: Trent Luke Stead, William Healy, Mitchell Trimboli
Int: Jack Dillon, Paul Barry, Daniel Nutt, Corey Hansen
MELTON SOUTH v. REDAN
B: Jayden Smoors, Daniel Cooper, Leigh Notman
HB: Patrick Unsworth, Heath Fleetwood, Rhys Souter
C: Thomas Keane, Dean Van Heemst, Jack Morrissey
HF: Nathan Gemmell, Jackson Reale, Dylan Nicholson
F: Zachary Giblett, Joshua Binek, Daniel Martin-Walker
R: Anthony Curtis, Ryan Sutherland , Zacchary Price
Int: Taylor Dale
B: Simon Remington, Xavier Curran, Riley Petrascu
HB: Dylan Page, Nicholas Barker, Dustin Okely
C: Kayde Linton, Sam Carr, Callum Bourke
HF: Scott Whiting, Matthew Ward, Lleyton Scheele
F: Ashley Barker, Jacob Toulmin, Kyle Hayes
R: Thomas Godson, Connor Barnes, Todd Douglass
Int: Matthew Sandford, Liam Grills, Daniel Burnett, Matthew Bourke
Emg: Brenton Riordan, Angus Cocking, Joel Neal
NORTH BALLARAT CITY v. DARLEY
North Ballarat City
B: Andrew Lambert, Liam Cullinan, Matt Willian
HB: Max Lawless, Matthew Nevett, Matthew Goh
C: Tynan Haintz, Nathan Olver, Bailey Holloway
HF: Thomas McPhan, Jacob Duffy, Sam Bowen
F: Mitchell Hay, Darcy McEldrew, Joshua Partington
R: Scott Howard, Fletcher Toose, Jack Simpson
Int: Harry Murphy, Josh Cullinan, Christopher Metcalfe, Thayne Turley
B: Ross Gundry, Brad Layton, Zane Dix
HB: Drew Locke, Kirk Fenton, Daniel Robson
C: Benjamin Holt, Sam Hitchings, Jesse Psaila
HF: Mathew Thacker, Jordan Spiteri, Daniel Granato
F: Travis Stephenson, Ryan Pinder, Dale Peacock
R: Bradley Spiteri, Kyle Doyle, Jessee Pattison
SEBASTOPOL v. EAST POINT
B: Mitch Jolly, Adam Young, Christopher Jeffrey
HB: Joshua Morgan, Baden Stevens, Lachlan Lamb
C: Jack Mason, Bradley Weightman, Jack Cooper
HF: Luke Noether, Daniel Lewry, Lachlan Hind
F: James Carroll, Taylor Stewart, Brandon Dummett
R: Hamish Everett, Shaun Henry, Jai Harvey
Int: Brad Broughton, Luke Parker, Aiden Broughton, Riley Henderson
Emg: Alexander Wallis
B: Mackenzie Spark, Liam Gunn, Zachary Gladman
HB: James Duffy, James Lewis, Jeremy Learmonth
C: Bailey Medwell, Tom Walton, Brent Fitzpatrick
HF: Andrew Stevenson, Ethan Lawler, William Petrowski
F: Jordan Taylor, Chris Banwell, Joseph Dodd
R: Andrew Maconachie, Joel Spratling, Nicholas Canny
Int: Jake Miocic, Ashley McArthur, Jaime Tung, Jethro Kirby
LAKE WENDOUREE v. BACCHUS MARSH
B: Harry Turner, Cody Brooks, Jack Butler
HB: Cooper Brennan, Charlie Carr, Ned Nash
C: Stephen Fitzgibbon, Sam Canny, Jye Gourlay
HF: Marlin Staley, Samuel Morrow, Ethan McLaren
F: Will Clark, Will Tickner, Matthew Jones
R: Tom McKechnie, Harry Carter, Charlie Lloyd
Int: Hugh Valpied, Siddharth Rajesh, Kai Lohmann
B: Dimitri Lambris, Byron Drew, Tyler Sutherland
HB: Jack Darling, Liam Taylor, Jack Crawford
C: James Mayne, James Dickson, Andrew Bettio
HF: Jai Carlton, Jack Burgess, Ben Taylor
F: Jaye Fell, Mason Dickson, Jay Homewood
R: Jack Eeles, Xavier Jenks, Luke Timms
MELTON v. SUNBURY
B: Benjamin Martin, Harrison Hanley, Justin Newton
HB: Josh Cooper, Jack O'Rourke, Alexander Robinson
C: Jake Syme, Adam Tomac, Max Scoble
HF: Jaymes Coombe, Lochlan Lamberton, Joshua McMahon
F: Johnny Armstrong, Dylan Jobson, Brock Willmott
R: Bailey Mawson, Kyle Rodgers, Hudson Wilde
B: Uriah Matenga, Caelan Pitts, Ethan McDonald
HB: Lochlan Jones, Dylan Bygate, Isaac Smithwick
C: Connor Gills, Thomas Werner, Ty Davidson
HF: Jordan Taylor, Luke Goater, Connor Lever
F: Nathan Doyle, Cooper Lamb, Murphy Boyd
R: Joel Muir, Brock Landt, Thomas Schwarzenberg
Int: Riley Looker, Luke Healy, Luke Bailey, Mathew Eldridge
MELTON SOUTH v. REDAN
B: David Curtis, Logan Brett, Nicholas Baas
HB: Mitchell Fino, Joshua Frew, Jackson Eekelschot
C: Samson Hubert, Jesse Geddes, Richard Frew
HF: Eethan Hunt, Christopher Mackie, Nathan Johns
F: Rohan Mullan, Tyler Rogers, Jayden O'Loughlin
R: Cooper Richardson, Brodie Souter, Jacob Spence
Inter: Sam Hubert
B: Sam McDougall, Owen Davidson, Micah Darby
HB: Ryan Thiesz, Nicholas Vincent, Rhys Elliott
C: Finn Lappin, Jack Jones, Harry Twaits
HF: Dennis Coolwell, Elijah Kelly, Sam Cole
F: Ryan Jerera, Kayne Councillor, Mick Derrick
R: Fergus Macdonald, Liam Phillips, Declan Phillips
Int: Leyton Priest, Patrick Stephenson, Ethan Tebble, Zach Forbes, Hamish Britt
NORTH BALLARAT CITY v. DARLEY
North Ballarat City
B: Broden Haintz, Charles Patterson, Ryan Polkinghorne
HB: William Peucker, Ryan Wood, Lachlan Becker
C: Lachlan O'Keefe, Jarrod Curran, Lachlan Opie
HF: James Curran, Matthew Aikman, Mitchell McKee
F: Riley O'Keefe, Charlie Perks, Fletcher Loader
R: Isaac Pertzel, Harrison Mulcahy, Alexander Kirby
Int: Max Tassell
B: Lane Havelberg, Jye Stephenson, James McNair
HB: Ben Wood, Duncan Cadman, Nicholas Hartfiel
C: Bryce Galea, Joseph Nesci, Regan King
HF: Jaiden Martin, Dylan Beecham, Mitchell Ward
F: Nathan Gale, Will Johnson, Adam Azzopardi
R: Thomas Presnell, Jack Bewley, Andrew Azzopardi
Int: Keenan Chapman, Brodie Ward
SEBASTOPOL v. EAST POINT
B: Luke Boers, Angus Atchison,
HB: Dale A Foran, Brady Dunne,
C: Samuel Hill, Jim Hall , Hayden Gilmore
HF: Timothy Landwehr, I Kadek Irvan, Zander Hourigan
F: Will Ringin, Mitchell Miller, Aaron Miller
R: Nathan Pitts, , Jackson Rigg
Int: Lathem Shaw, Chris Slater, Deejay Redmond
B: Jobe Quick, Aidan Hanrahan, Jack McCallum
HB: Jacob Medwell, Nate Rieniets, Mitchell Welsh
C: Darcy Strange, Lachlan Walton, Kyle Smith
HF: Ethan Prenc, Elliot Strange, Trent Severino
F: Matthew Butler, Ambrose Vallance, Jack Thornton
R: Joshua Findlay, Will McLoughlin, James Richardson