Round 2 Preview

Club football and netball is back on the agenda for round seven of the SS&A OMFNL with one-third of the season over and interleague bragging rights for football secured.

The league is still on a high after OMFNL and GVL produced one of the most attractive games at that level for some time. The O&M retained the Ash-Wilson Trophy with the 7 point win.

Wodonga the only unbeaten team after six rounds will play its first game in 21 days when they host Wangaratta Rovers at the John Flower Oval.

It’s a huge game for the Sam Murray coached Hawks who after winning its first three games have not tasted victory since April 22 and remain in a vulnerable top-five position.

A win for Wodonga would give it a one-game and percentage break in first place over the chasing pack that includes Yarrawonga and Albury.

The Bulldogs should be close to naming its strongest team of the season with coach Jordan Taylor and midfielder Jack Yelland big chances to play.

An intriguing battle looms at the Norm Minns Oval where last year’s grand final winners Wangaratta take on the defending premiers Lavington.

The unusual scenario will unfold where the same two teams clash at the same venue when the last premiership was awarded in the OMFL 1342 days ago.

The stakes are high once again, particularly for Lavington who are yet to beat a side above them on the ladder as they sit one game away from 4th and 5th placed Magpies and Rovers.

Wangaratta will still be without suspended coach Ben Reid. Other than that both sides should be near full strength in what should be a red-hot contest.

North Albury will go into its clash at Bunton Park against Myrtleford confident of notching its second win for the season, following recent good form.

Both sides have had similar seasons being extremely competitive, with just a quarter or two costing them dearly in most games.

Saints big man Kyle Winter-Irving is starting to find his rhythm in the league, while at the other end, Josh Minogue has been the Hopper’s best forward.

The Saints should welcome back the speed and run of Elijah Wales and Ashton McPherson who both missed the Yarrawonga clash in round six.

Albury Tigers will have a wonderful chance to secure a strong position inside the top three when they play host to the Wodonga Raiders.

The Raiders showed encouraging signs in the second half against Wangaratta, where they outscored the Pies and with Cam Ellis-Yolmen set to return from injury they will be dangerous.

Albury were impressive last-round winners against Rovers and with a host of inform interleague stars in Jim Grills, Lucas Conlan and Riley Bice will be firm favourites to take the points.

The highlight of the netball week so far has been the selection into the Australian side of Howlong young gun and Wodonga Raider’s netballer Mia Lavis.

Lavis starred for Victoria in the goal circle at the National Netball Championships recently in Darwin, which earned her a place in the Australian 17 and under side.

The ten-player team will compete in the FAST5 netball at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago from August 8-10.

Lavis was a part of the O&M 17/U side which last Saturday beat the Goulburn Valley. It is the first time netball is being played in the Commonwealth Youth Games.

In club netball the match of the round could be any of the four evenly matched games – the Albury v Wodonga Raiders clash could have a big say in finals spots.

A Raiders victory would see them go two games and over twenty percent ahead of Albury and would also keep their top three chances alive and kicking.

North Albury at home will be quietly confident of defeating second-placed Myrtleford despite the ladder positions.

Wangaratta hosting Lavington could well be a preview of a finals clash later in the year. The winner of this game will take a good look at a double chance at the end of the season.

The final game will provide an opportunity for Wodonga and Wangaratta Rovers to register their first win of the season – with the Bulldogs at home most likely.