With the Kyabram District League interleague bye fast approaching, this weekend presents a cut-throat clash between two sides separated by four points on the ladder.
Girgarre (10th) will welcome Dookie United (11th) this Saturday afternoon for what is looming to be a crucial match as both sides are in desperate need of a win to stay within contention of the top-six.
The Thunder have only the one win this season, a crushing win against Ardmona and are coming off a 35-point loss to Murchison-Toolamba last weekend.
Girgarre was unable to get the job done against Nagambie in round four, with the Lakers steamrolling past the Roos in the second half, booting nine goals to two.
‘‘The group was pretty disappointed, we felt like we had good control of the match at half-time, however, a lapse in the third term cost us the match,’’ Girgarre coach Shannon Tucker said.
‘‘The main message out of the match was that we need to play consistent four-quarter football.
‘‘Despite the result not going our way, we still learned a lot out of the match which is a positive.
‘‘This weekend now presents a massive game against Dookie, they still have star power and we know it will be a tough contest.’’
Boom recruit Will Barnes was best afield for Girgarre in only his second game for the club, with the smart defender roaming the half-back line and showcasing his talents.
Lachie Hill has joined the club and presents a versatile option across the ground and Ryan Butler has been impressive in attack for the Roos.
‘‘Billy (Barnes) was great last week and he’s only going to get better as the year goes on once he gets to know everyone,’’ Tucker said.
‘‘Ryan has been in good form as a target for us in attack, he’s a very team-orientated player and hopefully he can continue to hit the scoreboard.
‘‘But we are just looking for an even contribution from the group and having a few new guys into the side is going to take a few more weeks to get to know each other.’’
Pat McMullan has been one of United’s standout performers in the first month of action, running out entire games in the ruck and defensive trio Brodie Gook, Luke O’Sullivan and Will Bagley have starred along the last line of defence.
Dookie United’s coach Brendan McMullan said his troops were keen to make amends for the 35-point loss to Murchison-Toolamba, with the Thunder sweating on the recovery of two key players.
‘‘The boys are really keen to make amends this weekend, we had a fairly good discussion post-game and they are looking forward to getting out there against Girgarre,’’ McMullan said.
‘‘Sam Bowmaker copped a high knock last weekend and will be monitored closely during the week, his health comes first so we won’t risk him if he isn’t 100 per cent.
‘‘Brad Ridings only played half a game last week, he has a cut to his shin and we’ll see how he pulls up.
‘‘But we will be hoping our game can match up to Girgarre’s, we’ve just tried focusing on ourselves and making sure we can execute what we have worked on.’’
Murchison v Lancaster
Lancaster will need to pack its kicking boots this weekend when it travels to take on Murchison-Toolamba in a battle between third and eighth on the ladder.
The Wombats had a tough day in front of the sticks in their win against Longwood, kicking 9.21, and will need to be fair more accurate when they face off against a firing Grasshoppers outfit.
Lancaster’s Jack Donnell kicked three majors and Nick Ryan was best afield in the 66-point win against Longwood.
The home side has been led from the front by Ashton Cashion, Dylan Milne, Dylan Moncur and Adam MacGibbon in the first month of football and will again look to those four to help clinch a win at home.
Stanhope v Rushworth
The Tigers pack will descend upon the Lions’ den this weekend when Stanhope welcomes 13th-placed Rushworth.
Stanhope powered past Merrigum last weekend and clinched a 35-point win in what turned out to be a physical game of football, with three Merrigum players sent off during the contest.
Stanhope’s Drew Haebich kicked four goals and Jamie Spencer and Braydon Corish gave important support to be the top performers on the day.
Rushworth is coming off a 103-point loss against Shepparton East, but with a four-goal haul to Jack Martin and a best afield display from Hayden Gray, there were still multiple positives to come out of the tough day at the office.
Avenel v Tallygaroopna
Avenel returns to action this weekend having drawn the bye in round four and looks to be challenged straight away when it plays host to ladder-leader Tallygaroopna.
The Swans will be hoping the bye has helped some of their star players recover from injury, with Dean Giles and Sam Durnan expected to line up this weekend.
The reigning premiers enjoyed a dominant 240-point win against Ardmona last weekend, with 18 individual goal-kickers as well as Kane Handley’s six-goal and Nick Fichera’s five-goal efforts.
Josh Wellington had one of his best outings with his new club, kicking two goals and earning best afield honours.
The Swans’ recruit Kyle Maynard will be hoping to continue his great season, with the silky mover finding plenty of ball in his first three games for the club.
Longwood v Violet Town
Longwood Recreation Reserve will play host to the battle of 12th-placed Violet Town and 14th-positioned Longwood, as the two sides look to improve on their points tally.
The Redlegs recorded a 66-point loss against Lancaster last weekend and have just the two points to their name after an abandoned game against Rushworth ended in points shared.
Longwood’s Lachlan Cox was a standout in the loss to Lancaster, with the utility now stringing multiple impressive outings together and playing coach Mick Galvin kicked the only goal, as the Redlegs continue their development.
For Violet Town, it was unable to rein in this year’s surprise packet Undera, with the Towners suffering a 52-point loss at home.
Jayden Guppy (two goals) and Nathan Abley (three goals) were standout performers for the Towners in last weekend’s defeat to Undera.
Undera v Merrigum
Undera welcomes Merrigum to town on Saturday to settle a neighbourhood dispute.
A genuine rivalry rumble will have the Lions, second on the table and undefeated, battle the in-form Bulldogs.
The Dogs will be champing at the bit to get at the Lions, particularly after losing their first game of the season last weekend against Stanhope.
Jake Ross, Tom Cooper, Jacob Chessels and Rohan Hearn were some of the Bulldogs’ best, and will be looking for their teammates to lift.
Meanwhile, the Lions roared their way to a 52-point win against Violet Town, a phenomenal seven-goal second term setting up their fourth straight win.
Danni Heazlewood, Kaine Herbert, Zac Brian and Jack Hajro have been lighting the world on fire for the Lions and will be keen to keep good form rolling.
Ardmona v Nagambie
Ardmona enters its round five home clash against Nagambie on the back of a tough day out against Tallygaroopna, which rounded out the opening month with new coach Tim Keegan.
The Cats continue to develop as a new side and will take positives out of the performance from Isaac Handy (two goals) and David Gilby last week against Tally, as well as their first-round outing when they kicked 6.13 (49) — their best score in the past two seasons.
Nagambie registered a solid second half outing in its win against Girgarre, with coach Anthony Haysom (three goals) inspiring his charges to a 39-point win.
Zach Winter-Irving played his third game and was a standout, while Ben Hutton (three goals) and Michael Shiels (two goals) provided plenty of options for last year’s grand finalist’s as it looks to improve on its ladder position.