Weekend footy previews

THE Southern Football League’s Round 17 roster games will be played this Saturday, August 11. SFL acting media liaison officer Brett Direen previews the games to be played. Huonville has the bye.

Cygnet v New Norfolk
CYGNET will be back at home after a really poor loss on the road to Lindisfarne last Saturday at Anzac Park. Things do not get any easier for the Cygnet team as they face the benchmark team of the competition and premiership favourite, New Norfolk. The Eagles have taken all before them this season, and apart from the early loss to Kingborough, have proved to be a class above the rest of the sides in the competition. Even when run close by opposition sides, which is rare, they always seem to find another gear.

Cygnet have been a steady improver this season and are aiming for a finals berth for the first time in a number of years; however their big loss to the Blues last week has made that appear very difficult. They have a number of talented players in Palmer, Duggan, Watson and Halton who have been instrumental in their improvement, and have the ability to match it with the top sides – however a sustained four quarter effort especially against top four sides is required. The Eagles have fitness, pace and talent all over the ground and with seasoned veterans such as Belcher, Carver, Thompson and Bonnitcha, they are extremely hard to match up on all day.

The game will be won in the centre of the ground and the Port will require a very good start to apply some scoreboard pressure, otherwise it may be a long day at the office. They will need to ensure Halton receives support up forward and is not two-teamed by the Eagles defenders. The Port need to close the game right up otherwise their percentage will take another pounding on top of last week’s big loss. While you would expect the Port to be competitive early in the match, it will be hard to come back mentally from the Lindisfarne performance the week before. New Norfolk’s edge in class all around the ground should see them record a percentage boosting victory on the road in their march into the 2012 finals series.
Central Hawks versus Kingborough (Oatlands)
THE Central Hawks return home to Oatlands Oval to face the might of the Kingborough Tigers in what will most likely be a lop-sided contest. The Hawks were brave in their loss to Sorell at Pembroke Park last Saturday; however the Kingborough side is starting to hit its straps at exactly the right time of the season. The home side have had a frustrating season under new coach Lewis, and must be admired for fronting up each week while still to register a victory for the season so far. They have some good players in Brown, Ladic, Horne and young Daly, but too often these players lack support from others that lets them down badly. When they all play consistently as a team, they have produced some encouraging results.

The Tigers have slowly been returning to full strength with a long injury list and with players of the quality of Peterson, King, Collis and Lamprill their leading goal-kicker up forward, are very hard side to stop when playing with confidence. The Tigers tend to build their forward moves from their half back line with Fielding and Philp both having classy recovery and foot disposal skills to their running players. Coach Henley would have liked what he saw at Dodges Ferry three weeks ago, and will be keen to sew up third spot on the premiership ladder with a commanding victory. While you can expect the Central Hawks to be fairly competitive early in the match in front of their home crowd, the class, pace and strength of the Tigers should see them take over to record another percentage boosting victory on the road as they head into finals action.

Brighton versus Dodges Ferry
BRIGHTON is back at home at Pontville Oval to face the Dodges Ferry Sharks in what will be the match of the round. Both sides should be fresh coming off the bye. The Robins are in a three-way battle with Cygnet and Huonville for the final spot in the finals with a superior percentage in their favour. To have any chance of seeing finals action, the Robins will need to win this match as they have a bye in the final round of the season. They had been in a real form slump but managed to get some confidence back with a good win over Sorell on the same oval three weeks ago. Dodges were monstered by Kingborough at home in their last outing in a shock result and Coach Miller will be looking for them to hit back hard with finals quickly approaching. Another loss could see them drop to fifth spot if Claremont beats Sorell. It will be interesting to see how the Sharks respond mentally after the big loss to the Tigers on their home ground.

The Robins have good players in Willing, Boucher and Steele while Martin is dangerous in the goal square. They play the Pontville Oval well and should have a big crowd behind them with the stakes so high. The Sharks have been playing some very good football until the Kingborough blemish and have players in Curran, Barwin, Cusick and Ricky Martin up forward who can kick a winning score. Both coaches will be looking to get their match ups spot on. Both sides like to play fast attacking football. The match will be won out of the middle of the ground and whichever forwards are able to take advantage of that and get on top and convert accurately should see their team to victory. Expect the Sharks to hit back hard but the Robins should have too much to play for and should record a narrow victory in front of their home crowd in a game that would not surprise either way.

Claremont versus Sorell
THE Claremont Magpies will host the Sorell Eagles at Abbotsfield Park in what should be an entertaining affair. The Magpies will be fresh after the bye while the Eagles will be confident of a good showing after a solid victory over the Central Hawks at home last Saturday. After two straight losses before the bye, the Magpies will be looking for a confidence-boosting victory, and looking to sew up the vital fifth spot in the final six for the finals, especially with a tough final game against the in-form Tigers to come. The Sorell team will be looking to finish the season on a bright note, and string a couple of wins together. They have struggled on the road this season and also lacked consistency.

The Magpies have a strong home ground advantage and if their on ball division get on top, and the Eagles defenders allow space for key forward Curtain to work in on the big ground, Sorell could be in for a torrid day. Players such as Corbett, Bennett, Sweeney and Brown must be watched closely by the Sorell brains trust. The Eagles also have some talented players in Williamson, Bentley, Hitchens and Reimers, and should not be treated lightly by the Magpies. Claremont play their home ground superbly, driving opposition sides wide then attacking from their half back-line straight through the middle corridor to get the ball quickly into Curtain and their crumbing forwards. Their half forwards and pockets will often create “dummy” leads to create additional room for Curtain to work into space for one on one contests. Expect Sorell to provide plenty of cheek early in the match but the Magpies with far more to play for should pull away in front of a big home crowd and record a convincing victory.

East Coast Bombers versus Lindisfarne
The East Coast Bombers return to Triabunna Oval to face the rampaging Lindisfarne ‘’Two Blues” in what will be a tough encounter for the home team late in the home and away season. The Bombers suffered a big loss to the Huonville Lions on the road last Saturday and will be down in confidence. Lindisfarne dismantled a disappointing Cygnet side in the second half of their match at Lindisfarne Oval, and will be looking for another big win on their march to finals action. The Bombers play their home ground well, and if they are able to get on top in the mid-field early, must ensure they convert that onto the score-board and apply some real pressure to the Blues early in the game. They have good players in Wiggins, Giffard, Morrisby and Dudgeon who provide good drive for their side; however it will take a massive team effort across four sustained quarters of football to get over the red-hot Blues. Lindisfarne are used to playing on smaller grounds like Triabunna Oval and with players of the quality of Braslin, Hobden, Quirk and Flood, can cut sides apart with their quick ball movement into their potent forward line where Crawford and Marriott lurk. When they play with confidence, they are capable of beating any side in the competition. While you would expect the Bombers to give some cheek early in the match and put on a far better display for their home crowd, the Blues with a real edge in class all over the ground should continue to ‘’fly under the radar’’ and record another percentage boosting victory on the road as they further prepare for finals action.

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