Round 6 Preview

One third of the home and away season will be completed this weekend with the Norm Minns Oval taking centre stage as top of the table Wangaratta host Myrtleford.

The Magpies have blitzed all of its first five opponents but can expect to face its biggest challenge against the inform Saints keen to impress.

Mixed news for the Pies at selection with coach Ben Reid and star forward Michael Newton both returning; however Joe Richards and Matt Kelly will miss with injury.

The Saints welcome back giant ruckman Dawson Simpson, where along with Cal Crisp could have an advantage over the Pies.

North Albury fresh off its first win in 1022 days will also have a fresh coaching team with former premiership players Corey Lambert and Clint Gilson taking over the reins as co-coaches.

Previous coach Luke Norman announced he was stepping down just two days after the win over Raiders, with work commitments and increased travel the reason.

They will fancy their chances against cross town rivals Lavington at Bunton Park, who like North Albury are blooding many young guns in their line-up.

The game could see two of the rising stars of the competition Sam Azzi (North Albury) and Billy Glanvill (Lavington) oppose each other.

The Albury Tigers have named Daniel Cross for his first game of the season, along with Nick Coughlan who is based with Werribee in the VFL and looking for some match time. The Raiders have a tough month ahead of them and will need big games from its experienced pair in Jarrod Hodgkin and Brad St John to stay competitive. A win to the Tigers could see them return to the top three if the Saints were to go down to the Magpies. Four teams are equal with three wins from third to sixth.

In what looks like the closest contest of the round Wodonga will host an inform Wangaratta Rovers at the John Flower Oval, Wodonga. The Rovers have strung together three wins in a row after losing its first two. Charlie Thompson has been named along with Todd Bryant to bolster the on-ball ranks. For Wodonga it is very simple – a win keeps alive a flickering finals hope – a loss and finals action would become very unlikely with just one win – expect a fierce contest.

Sunday football returns with the Murray River rivals Corowa Rutherglen and Yarrawonga locking horns at the John Foord Oval. The Pigeons have made a great start to the season with four wins leaving them in second position and a chance to widen the gap on the Roos who are one game behind. The match presents the Roos with the perfect opportunity to show themselves and the league where they sit in the pecking order of potential finalist. Yarrawonga have been playing efficient possession based football, while they haven’t blown sides away they are always in the contest and love a battle. Star recruit Michael Gibbons was again not named to play despite earmarking this match as his return from a calf injury.

Staying at Corowa and what a blockbuster of a netball clash on Sunday when unbeaten Corowa Rutherglen take on the number one contender Yarrawonga.

In one of the most anticipated home and away games in years the Roos have a chance to really put space on the Pigeons for the minor premiership.

The Roos have not put a foot wrong so far with Liv Sinclair and Sophie Hanrahan leading the charge, while the Pigeons depth has got even deeper with several inclusions to an already strong squad.

Another top four clash will see one of the competitions big improvers come up against each other at Bunton Park where Lavington and North Albury do battle. The Hoppers will still be wondering how they lost last week after leading Raiders by four goals with two minutes left – they face a very inform Panther unit. 

Grace Hay, Steph Clancy and Maddi Plunkett have been in great form, while for North Albury coach Em Browne has had a brilliant season. Panthers in a close one for mine.

Albury and Wodonga Raiders will have top five aspirations on the line when the Tigers host Raiders fresh from that famous fightback last Saturday against North Albury. Both sides have had some good patches of play during the year but have struggled with consistency and unavailability. Mackensey House was superb in midcourt last week for Raiders with her and Molly Goldsworthy playing a pivotal role in squaring the game.

Wangaratta with a bye last week will be looking to bounce back from its rare loss in round five. Myrtleford after a winning start to the season has lost four straight.

The final game will see Wodonga and Rovers search for their first win of the season. Both sides have shown big improvement and a win will be a huge boost for confidence. The Rovers will be keen to celebrate the 200 club game milestone by Bree Schutt with a victory in what should be a tight contest.