Hawks hope for home ground advantage

FOOTBALL

Newborough's Jesse White looks to get a kick away during round 13. photograph hayley mills

Newborough's Jesse White looks to get a kick away during round 13. photograph hayley mills

MID GIPPSLAND

A fortnight ago you could be forgiven for pencilling in a win for Morwell East in this home ground clash against Hill End.

Once seen as finals aspirants, Morwell East have suffered losses to Yinnar, Mirboo North and Newborough in recent times.

The only factor in their favour is a home-ground advantage as they welcome the Rovers in the round 14 clash.

Hill End did the job comfortably last week against Boolarra and have previously performed well in the trying conditions of winter with their round two win against Newborough away from home one that springs to mind.

Mirboo North v Yarragon

The Tigers are playing with renewed confidence in recent weeks and come up against Yarragon this weekend.

The defending premiers' loss to Trafalgar was seemingly the wake up call they needed.

This weekend they are planning to send a message to the rest of the league by naming two new boon recruits in Jason Winderlich and Joel Reynolds.

The two former AFL players are sure to add experience and versatility to an already solid outfit.

The Panthers have been good this year but not great. They have been honest and continually push the best sides in the competition to within a goal or three.

Expect the same this week.

They won't be blown out of the water but they will be hard pressed to cause an upset against Mirboo North.

Newborough v YYN

This is the one that Newborough would really want – a win against the odds and against rivals Yallourn-Yallourn North.

The Bulldogs turned at the half-way mark of the season with just two wins to their name but have been undefeated since.

They have strung together some impressive games with a draw against Yarragon followed by wins against Hill End, Yinnar and Morwell East last week.

The chance of clawing into the top five is still alive and with that in mind you can expect the home side to throw absolutely everything at the Bombers.

Yallourn-Yallourn North also have something to prove.

Last week's loss at the hands of Yinnar would worry coach Barrie Burnett given the Magpies were still short of their best and the bigger bodies of Yinnar were hitting the contest hard.

Newborough will bring the same strategy to this clash – plenty of hard hits and fierce body work can be expected.

If the Bulldogs can continue their winning streak then finals beckon and the Bombers' hold on second spot will also be threatened.

Thorpdale v Yinnar

It is one thing to be hitting the packs hard when they are full of lighter-framed bodies but the Magpies can expect the Blues to fight fire with fire this weekend.

Thorpdale are a much stronger outfit in the wintry conditions and won't be knocked off the ball easily.

As much as the top-five sides are feeling reasonably confident about grabbing a finals spot, it's which spot they will hold that may be crucial in the long run.

A top-three side is guaranteed a double chance and only Trafalgar have sealed that.

This fact will not be lost on coaches Jaimie Aitken and Josh Collie. Both would be fully aware this clash is worth more than the four premiership points.

Yinnar did well last week but meeting Thorpdale at their home might be a bridge too far.

Boolarra v Trafalgar

It looks like Trafalgar will be going through the motions when they travel to face Boolarra this weekend.

The Bloods have just one loss next to their name for season 2018 and have been impressive in most of their matches this year – even when they're not they seem to be winning anyway.

Coach Clint Einsiedel's biggest job is to keep his squad injury-free, relatively fresh and ready to lift to a whole new level in six weeks' time.

For now, he may even choose to rest some players this week or try some new faces.

Boolarra will welcome the league leaders with the best they have and the local community would do well to witness the difference between top and bottom.

It is the sort of clash that Demons coach Tony Giardina will learn lots from.

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