DESPITE the VFL being cancelled this weekend due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak seeing Victoria head into lockdown for the near future, the remaining state leagues will go ahead with business as usual as another huge round of action is set.
This weekend’s SANFL action kicks off with an enticing clash as Norwood travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to take on the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Norwood will be confident heading into this clash, having won one more game than their opponents, but the Eagles will have the home ground advantage, and are fresh off a 100-point belting of West Adelaide last week. The Eagles are yet to confirm any changes, with the side likely to enter the clash with just the one change as Troy Menzel will miss with a wrist injury, and don’t be surprised if Norwood enter the match unchanged.
Moving to Flinders University Stadium, the Central District Bulldogs will be looking to cause an upset as they take on the South Adelaide Panthers on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have won just two games for the year but are riding a wave of confidence following last round’s 10-point win over Sturt. The Panthers will prove a tough task, as they enter the clash heavy favourites thanks to their spot in second-place on the ladder. The Bulldogs will include Thomas Graham into a forward pocket as they attempt to boost their scoring output.
Over at Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide are gearing up for their clash with West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon in a match that has significant ramifications for both sides. West Adelaide’s hunt for the finals is slowly slipping away on a weekly basis, with the side winning only two games for the year. A win here would put them only one victory away from entering the top five. Port Adelaide currently sit at the bottom of the top five, and a loss would close the gap for those below them quite substantially. The inclusion of Jono Beech for West Adelaide will only increase the chances of an upset here.
Glenelg will attempt to keep their remarkable undefeated streak going, as they prepare to take on the Adelaide Crows at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Given Glenelg are yet to lose a game, they will enter the match heavily favoured over the Crows, who have won just one game so far this season. However, teams rarely remain undefeated for this long, so the Crows may just be smelling an upset here. Glenelg’s loss of Lachie Hosie to a hamstring injury will only compound this. Keep an eye on this one.
The final match of the round sees the Sturt Sabres travel to Prospect Oval to take on the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon. Both sides currently sit with a 2-5 record after seven rounds, and a win here for either team will be crucial in the race for the finals. Both sides suffered a loss of 11 points or less last round, so redemption will play a big factor here. It is just a matter of which side will rise to the occasion and which side will crumble.
The WAFL action for Round 8 starts over at Leederville Oval as the Peel Thunder will attempt to upset Subiaco when the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco are one of the form sides of the competition having only lost one match, while the Peel Thunder have been solid but not spectacular so far with three wins and three losses. Subiaco are expected to win here, but Peel Thunder will throw everything they have at this side. Subiaco will regain Brandon Matera to add some experience to their forward line.
Two teams in the middle of contrasting seasons will face off, as East Perth travel to Revo Fitness Stadium to take on Claremont on Saturday afternoon. Claremont currently sit on top of the ladder with a 5-1 record after their first six games while East Perth have won just the one solitary game so far this season. Claremont are heavy favourites heading into the clash, but there are no certainties in football. Both sides are yet to confirm their changes.
West Coast’s struggles are likely to continue as they take on South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. West Coast had their best opportunity to claim their first win of the season last round and couldn’t capitalise, and they face an even tougher opponent this weekend, with South Fremantle looking to use this as an opportunity to climb up the ladder. To make matters worse, South Fremantle will regain on baller Jared Doney to boost their midfield stocks.
Steel Blue Oval will be home to a crucial clash as the Swan Districts will host East Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. Only percentage separates the two sides with East Fremantle narrowly in front by four percent, good enough to see them in the top five. The winner of this clash will move into the top half of the ladder, so the stakes are certainly high for both sides. Keep an eye on Swan Districts on baller Samuel Fisher, who has been in fantastic form of late.
The final clash of Round 8 will see West Perth head over to Provident Financial Oval to take on West Perth on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit outside the top five only by percentage, having both recorded three wins and three losses for the season so far. With plenty of teams currently holding a similar record, expect both sides to enter this clash with plenty of passion and determination. West Perth have included Jason Salecic into their squad while Simon Hayward will return for Perth.
QAFL action returns for a ninth round of football, starting at Rococo Oval, where Noosa will host Broadbeach on Saturday afternoon. This is shaping up as a one-sided affair, with Broadbeach undefeated from their six games, having established themselves as a competition powerhouse. Noosa’s season is almost a polar opposite. The side is yet to register a win for the 2021 season, and look fairly off the mark. A boilover here would send shockwaves through the league, but if Jordan Moncrieff can get off the chain for Broadbeach again, it will be game over.
Over at Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador are preparing for their clash with Wilston Grange on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have won just the one game for the season, and are currently in the middle of a five game losing streak. They are desperate for a win, and they will be fighting tooth and nail for an upset on Saturday, but Labrador will be a tough egg to crack. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley will be leading the troops from the midfield, so Wilston Grange will need to keep a close eye on him at stoppages.
In arguably the most exciting match-up of the round, Maroochydore will travel to Jack Esplen Oval to take on Morningside on Saturday afternoon. The two sides occupy the second and third spots on the ladder, only separated by percentage (although Maroochydore has played and lost one more match so far). With Broadbeach undefeated so far this season, these two sides will need as many wins as they can if they are any hope of snatching top spot on the ladder should Broadbeach slip up. Mitchell Scholard has booted 14 goals in the past three matches and is named to line up on a half-forward flank for Maroochydore, so keep an eye out for him.
Next up for the QAFL action, Palm Beach Currumbin will play host to Sherwood Districts at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these two sides, and a loss here for Palm Beach Currumbin would see them lose a grip on the top half of the ladder. Sherwood Districts will be looking for a rise up the ladder to join the top five. Palm Beach Currumbin midfielder Corey Joyce has enjoyed a stellar start to his 2021 campaign so expect him in the thick of it on Saturday afternoon.
The final QAFL match of the round will see Mt Gravatt head over to Sir Bruce Small Park to take on Surfers Paradise on Saturday afternoon. The sides are just one victory apart, so there is plenty to play for here for both sides. Mt Gravatt dominated Noosa last week, with their victory nearing the triple digit mark, while Surfers Paradise got the job done against Redland-Victoria Point last round. With both sides coming off a win, there will be plenty of confidence around the change rooms, it’s just a matter of who can back it up on the field.
The TSL will hold their ninth round of football this weekend, and it all kicks off at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon, as Clarence host Glenorchy. Clarence are well-known to perform better on their home deck, so Glenorchy face an uphill battle in this clash. Clarence skipper Jeromey Webberley returned to the lineup last week, and was excellent off half-back, so don’t be surprised if he cops some attention from the opposition, as they try to slow down the ball movement of their opponents.
Moving to Lauderdale Oval, Lauderdale will be hosting the Tigers in an interesting match-up on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale have still only won the one game, but certainly look a better side when skipper Allen Christensen is in the side. This was displayed when they gave Launceston their biggest challenge of the year to that point, and looked certainly capable of beating anyone. This will be put to the test on Saturday as they take on the Tigers, a side that is chugging along nicely, and have a list full of guns such as Elijah Reardon.
The final game of the round looks to be fairly one-sided, as North Launceston head to North Hobart Oval to take on the Demons on Saturday afternoon. North Launceston did the – previously – impossible and defeated cross-town rivals Launceston last Friday night, a result which stunned the league, given Launceston’s start to the season. The Bombers played unbelievable footy, and got themselves a win that could be the key moment in a premiership quest. The Demons will face a tough challenge stopping them, having claimed only one triumph themselves this year. They will need to put some work into nullifying the effect of North Launceston midfielder Jay Foon who was best on ground last weekend.
Picture credit: Solstice.Digital and Photography