ROUND 10 PREVIEW
Endeavour Hills vs Black Rock (Barry Simon Reserve)
After another win against an opponent in its half of the ladder, Black Rock gets a crack at a finals-bound team.
The Jets are anchored to the ladder’s fifth rung, having occupied that position since Round 4.
They must upset Endeavour Hills to give themselves any hope of replicating last season’s heroics.
Then, they snuck into the finals from a seemingly hopeless position, storming home to win the last 10 home and away games.
When these sides met early this season, it was a 68-point win to the Falcons on Black Rock’s turf.
Since then, the Jets’ inability to overcome the top sides has been further exposed and injuries continue to test Black Rock’s depth.
A Jets’ win this week would be a major boilover, with the Falcons possessing too much depth all over the field.
South Yarra vs Hampton Park (Fritsch Holzer Park)
When Hampton Park hosted South Yarra early this season, the Redbacks recorded a 162-point win.
But for a late Michael Higgins’ major, the Yarras would have gone goalless.
Injuries have since forced South Yarra to dig deep to find back-up players.
Interestingly, a couple who have mostly played Thirds footy proved last round they are not out of their depth at senior level.
That is promising for the long term, but in the immediate future another heavy loss awaits the Yarras.
It may take a while for Hampton Park to adjust to life at Fritsch Holzer Park, a ground that will afford the Redbacks no space.
Nonetheless, they are too good not to adapt.
Hallam vs Ashwood (Hallam Reserve)
Hallam was desperately unlucky not to record its first win of the season last round, suffering a bitter one-point defeat against Heatherton.
This week, the Hawks host an Ashwood side eager to bounce back after falling just short against Hampton Park.
Effort level is rarely a problem for Hallam.
The Hawks will give their all, but can’t contain the wealth of talented players at Ashwood’s disposal.
Expect another big day for Paddy Carroll in the middle and it will be no surprise if his brother Dale gets on the end of his good work and boots a bag of goals.
Ashwood won the last encounter between these teams by 79 points and the Hawks will hopefully get closer this time.
Heatherton vs Springvale Districts (Ross Street Reserve)
When Springvale Districts hosted Heatherton in Round 3, the Tunners were competitive.
The Demons took until the third term to shake off Heatherton and only won by 26 points, despite keeping the Tunners goalless in the second half.
Heatherton’s best can again make Districts work for a win.
However, the Tunners’ unconvincing victory over inexperienced Hallam last round does little to suggest they will topple the second-placed Demons.
In-form forward David White marked strongly in Heatherton’s attacking arc last start, booting four majors.
If he finds more support from the likes of zippy small forward Khaled Kandakji, the Tunners can kick a competitive score.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Springvale Districts, with injuries increasingly testing the Demons’ list.
Last week Nathan Brown, Tom Cooper and Daniel Saldanha joined a growing list of casualties.
“Our depth will be tested over the next month. We’ve had nine forced changes in the last three weeks,” Demons’ coach Kris Thompson said.
Springvale Districts should still account for Heatherton fairly comfortably..