MGFL’s clash of the heavyweights

Dean Macdonald has been key for Yallourn/Yallourn North so far this season. photograph hayley mills

Dean Macdonald has been key for Yallourn/Yallourn North so far this season. photograph hayley mills

FOOTBALL

MID GIPPSLAND

This weekend's round seven clash between Mid Gippsland heavyweights Trafalgar and Yallourn/Yallourn could well be a 2018 grand final preview.

Trafalgar have taken all before them this season and are undefeated atop the senior ladder while the Bombers have won the last five on the trot.

The teams have contrasting styles – the Bombers have a perfect mix of youth and experience, pace and composure while the Bloods have a solid team structure, spreading well in the back half of the field and are selective with delivery inside forward 50.

Yallourn have a super key forward in Dean McDonald and his work with or without the ball is first class.

Trafalgar have a number of options in front of goal and they all seem to work well together.

The Bombers have utilised the wide expanses of their home oval well and it lends itself to the many pairs of speedy legs and some good, quick leading forwards.

The test for Trafalgar is whether they can stop the relentless run while the hurdle for the visitors lies in the patience to deal with a very well organised side that can close gaps quickly.

Yarragon v Yinnar

The Panthers will win a game against more favoured opposition before this year is out and periods of play have shown much more than their ladder position indicates.

Yarragon coach Rob Cahill would love for it to be this week – a win against the likes of Yinnar would be exactly the result his club needs – but it doesn't look like happening.

Yinnar, even below full strength, have the depth to continue winning.

Coach Jaime Aitken has been fully tested for most of 2018 with as many as eight first choice players unavailable for a variety of reasons.

The Magpies are likely to welcome just a couple of those campaigners back which will lend weight to their job of winning their sixth game of seven rounds played.

Yinnar might be doing what they need to do – no more no less – to guarantee themselves a top three spot at the pointy end of the season, and that's when we might see them at their very best.

Thorpdale v Morwell East

The reality of what it takes to be a real contender may have hit home for Morwell East last week.

There was no shame in their loss to Yallourn/Yallourn North, but it was an indication of how many contributors are required for a full game.

Make no mistake, the Morwell East side is sure to be knocking on the door of finals but they need to stand up in a game like this.

Thorpdale have already had to manoeuvre their side around with some season-ending injuries which are starting to stretch their limited depth but at this stage they are standing up well.

The fact that the Blues take on the Hawks on their home deck adds weight to their favouritism and a couple of key forwards in Ed Greene and Chris Redl might test the Hawks.

Mirboo North v Hill End

Mirboo North find themselves in exactly the same position as last year when they went on to win the premiership.

The Tigers might have been forgiven for second-guessing themselves after the first month of football but their confidence on-field has lifted.

On the other hand, Hill End haven't been able to deliver to coach Mike Santo's expectations and the Rovers are sometimes failing to run out games with energy and intensity.

Hill End will need to lift if they're to match it with one of the best in the competition this weekend.

Boolarra v Newborough

A fortnight ago you may have been forgiven for thinking this could be the game the Demons ended their long losing streak.

Boolarra have shown encouraging patches of play against some decent opposition but big losses to Trafalgar and Mirboo North over the past fortnight may have dented their confidence.

The Bulldogs are not far off being a good side and you couldn't question the players' commitment.

They may still be two or three quality players away from a finals berth.

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