Game of the year looming

Back in to action this week as we approach the end of round two and the uninterrupted downhill run to finals.

KICK: Ramblers' Shawn Fitzgerald gets a kick away under pressure in the game before the bye. Photo: Lisa Warner.

KICK: Ramblers' Shawn Fitzgerald gets a kick away under pressure in the game before the bye. Photo: Lisa Warner.

There will be pivotal clashes again this week, with the only certain thing at the moment being United Yeelanna to finish on top.

Eyre United v Tumby Bay

Tumby Bay travel to Ungarra to take on the Saints with the Blues keen to get back on track after losing their past two encounters.

They should welcome back key players this week, noticeably Mitch Lawrie and Tom Kelly, and Calvery and Edmonds should also return.

They have received solid service from James, Hind, Walker and Murphy in recent weeks, and with Franklin and Lawrie slowly working back to their best after long lay offs with injury, the Blues can build momentum going in to finals.

They simply have to win this game if they are a serious contender and want to keep their stake on second spot and the double chance.

The Saints have mixed their form all season – their best is handy and capable, but they have too often let themselves down by not playing four quarters of footy.

Telfer, Hall, Traeger, Fitzgerald and the underrated Lochie Gale have been consistent performers, but they need more from their second tier players if they are to play finals.

This one has plenty on it – the local derby with both sides desperate for a win and you would expect nothing short of a tough, tight encounter.

If the Blues are anywhere near close to full strength they look to have a bit too much class for the home side, and Tumby for mine to get up by 3-4 goals.

Lock v United Yeelanna

Lock will face the toughest task in Great Flinders when they travel to the Eagles’ fortress at Karkoo to take on the ladder leaders.

Yeelanna have not put a foot wrong and sit high and mighty at the top of the table, and in reality have been rarely challenged.

Watson, Carr and Michael Crettenden have got better with the season and look to have been managed well, having spent plenty of time up forward as valuable avenues to goal.

Martin has gone from strength to strength, and Jolly, Breed and Norton add to their depth.

The Roos had another close loss against Ramblers a fortnight ago, and have to somehow address this slide of losses since winning their opening two games.

They have been more than competitive, but cannot get wins on the board, yet they remain in close touch of the final four if they can turn their form around.

Sam Britza made a welcome return two weeks ago, and with quality players in Morton, Kelly, Siebert, and the Heath and the Brown brothers, they have talent at their disposal.

Roo’s fans won’t get a reprieve this week. You simply cannot tip against a powerful Eagles side, who will go on to win their 10th game on the trot in comfortable fashion.

Cougars v Ramblers

In this week’s match of the round, home-town rivals Cougars and Ramblers do battle in this year’s first game at Kapinnie Oval.

Cougars have re-ignited their season, winning their last two games, while Ramblers will be desperate for a win to keep in touch with the double chance.

The Magpies were missing big names in their last game and should expect to get up to six players back, including the experienced duo Rob Shirley and Wes Bilney.

They had good service from younger players Hall, Skinner, Sampson and Rule in their win against Lock, and will need these players to stand up against a Cougars side that looks on the march.

Cougars have had their fair share of troubles in finding a way to beat Ramblers but one senses the time is right for them to turn that around.

Hazelgrove will be a massive loss and looks set to miss up to a month with injury, but they have plenty of quality players in the mix.

Lochie Paech has been in outstanding touch in the middle and Levi Konitzka is an outstanding player that will look to expose Hall with his mobility.

Monfries looms as a key if he plays, and Sam Ness has returned to form, while Howell, Green and Pedler have been valuable players.

This should be a great contest and looms as one of the games of the year – another tough one to pick, but I’m going with a minor upset in tipping Cougars to win by less than two goals.