The local footy season is on the home stretch. With top-of-the-table clashes, cameos from former AFL stars and local derby’s, this weekend of local footy isn’t one to be missed.
It promises to be yet another unmissable weekend of local footy.
There’s battles for supremacy, AFL champions taking the field and old, famous rivalries set to add another chapter.
Here is everything you simply cannot miss this Saturday:
THE LOG JAM AWAITS SEPARATION
Four teams sit on six wins in the Premier Division of the Eastern Football Netball League but that congestion should slimmer after Rowville and Blackburn collide on Saturday.
Rowville, third, travels to Blackburn, fourth, after a big win over Park Orchards.
Blackburn, meanwhile, is running hot after defeating Vermont. The key focus for the Burners will be stopping Hawks forward Lachlan Wynd, who is leading all comers with 32 majors this season.
The mouth-watering clashes don’t remain within the confines of the top flight however, as 1st Division also has a matchup to look out for.
Ladder-leaders South Belgrave roll out the welcome mat for Gary Ayres’ Montrose in an eye-popping battle. Montrose is 7-3 while South Belgrave sits unblemished.
FAMOUS CLUBS FIGHT FOR FOURTH
St Kevins, fourth, is set to host Old Xaverians (fifth) for a spot inside the top Victorian Amateur Premier Division top four.
While the Xavs have hit some form as of late, they lost to St Kevins in a tight one the last time the two sides met back in May.
BATTLE OF HEIDELBERG
North Heidelberg travel to taken on Heidelberg with more on the line than derby bragging rights.
The Bulldogs – fifth with five wins – need a win as sixth-placed Hurstbridge take on West Preston Lakeside and have a better percentage.
Heidelberg, meanwhile, is sitting two points clear of second and look to be premiership front runners.
DO THE HAWKS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
Woodend-Hesket welcome Diggers Rest in an enthralling top-of-the-table clash in the Riddell District league.
Diggers Rest, first with an unblemished 8-0 record, travel to the Hawks’ nest with a wind of confidence, as the last time the sides met resulted in a comfortable Burras victory.
The Hawks have won each of its seven matches since that Round 1 defeat and on their home patch are as good as anyone.
While a win would ascend the Hawks onto a level playing field, the Burras would likely still sit atop of the ladder with a far superior percentage.
TOP SPOT UP FOR GRABS
The best of the best meets in the Southern league with a top-of-the-table clash in Division 1.
Cheltenham and Dingley will face off with pole position on the line.
The Dingoes and Rosellas have followed a similar script. Both side’s lost their first match before winning their next eight.
SWANNY FINDS NEW HOME
All eyes will be on Dane Swan when he makes his debut for Pines in the Mornington Peninsula league on Saturday.
The former Collingwood Brownlow medallist has joined the Pythons for the remainder of the season, hoping to help them make the Division 1 finals.
Pines host Frankston Bombers at Eric Bell Reserve in a vital fourth-versus-fifth clash.
Swan could line-up on former AFL-Bulldog and Sun Jarrad Grant, who has been in hot form for the Bombers, with 20 goals in nine matches.
SURPRISE APPEARANCE IN MPFNL
Ex-AFL Magpie and Crow Ben Crocker will make a surprise appearance for Langwarrin in its MPFNL Division 1 clash with Mt Eliza.
Crocker is Carlton’s VFL captain this season and has registered Langwarrin as his home club through a friendship with Langy player Tim McGenniss.
With Carlton’s VFL side having a bye this week, Crocker has opted to have a kick with Langwarrin, which has lost its past seven matches.
Langwarrin co-coach Josh Beard said Crocker would play as a high forward and hoped he might be able to inspire the Kangaroos to a much-needed win.
GREAT PICK UP FOR DROMANA
Undefeated Dromana will unveil a star signing when it hosts Bonbeach in MPFNL Division 1.
The 10-0 Tigers have added St Kilda City midfielder Madison Andrews, winner of three league best and fairests.
He has crossed to Dromana to play alongside his brother, full-forward Jordan Andrews.
Darley will return home to play at Darley Park for the first time since last year after upgrades to their ground are almost completed.
The club, in conjunction with the state government and the Moorabool council, has been upgrading its change rooms, pavilion and ground for the use of not only the football and netball club but other parties as well.
Work was set to be completed earlier this year but it didn’t happen and now the club finally can return home. The side will take on Redan on Saturday.
Both teams, at this stage, will play out of makeshift change rooms with that expected to be sorted out and the club to play out of their new facility before the end of the year.
ABLETT PLAYS AGAIN
AFL legend Gary Ablett will play for the first time in Victoria since his retirement, playing for Creswick in the Central Highlands league.
The team will take on Ballan at home with more than 2000 tickets already sold for the event.
Ablett, according to the Creswick coach, will play at half forward and in the midfield, as the team looks to win its second game of the season with the former Brownlow Medallist in action.
CAN THE PIES WIN?
Maryborough might have its best chance to end its 37-game losing streak in the Bendigo league when it takes on Castlemaine on Saturday.
The team’s last win came against Castlemaine in 2021 and were competitive against the Magpies in their first game this season, losing by 11 points.
Conditions are expected to be muddy and wet, making it a close contest already. So can the Pies end their run?
TOP TWO CLASH IN MID GIPPSLAND
Newborough will be looking to keep their unbeaten run going in the Mid Gippsland league but face a tough test, taking on second-placed MDU (Meeniyan Dumbalk United).
The Bulldogs have won all eight matches this season but have had challenges in the past two rounds, beating Stony Creek by 24 points and then holding off a challenge from Thorpdale, led by former Essendon player Jason Winderlich, to win by 14.
MDU enter the contest on a four-game unbeaten run, including a 21-point win last week over Stony Creek. A cracking contest is expected.
FIRST FINALISTS LOCKED IN?
If results go their way this weekend, three teams in the Omeo District league can guarantee themselves finals, four rounds out from the end of the regular season.
The top three takes on the bottom three in the competition with wins to the top three guaranteeing themselves a spot in the top four finals format.
Omeo-Benambra (3rd) faces Bruthen (5th), Swifts Creek (2nd) face Buchan (4th) with ladder leaders Swan Reach taking on last-placed Lindenow South.
MILNE HEADS EAST
Former St Kilda small forward Stephen Milne will play for Yarragon this Saturday in the Ellinbank and District league.
In his first game in Victoria this year, he will play for the Panthers against Trafalgar. It’s an important game for Yarragon with a win keeping them in the hunt for finals.
A loss would keep them at least a game and a half behind the top five. Milne will later host a sportsman’s night with former Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan.
BATTLE FOR THE WRFL TOP-TWO
When Altona welcomes Point Cook in Division 1 of the Western Region league on Saturday, there will be lots on the line.
A win for the visitors would put them in prime position to secure a double chance, given they’d move two games clear of the Vikings.
BATTLE OF WANGARATTA IS ON
The Wangaratta Rovers and Wangaratta Magpies will renew hostilities when both face in the Ovens and Murray league on Saturday. The Rovers will be looking to complete the double after beating the Magpies in round 1 by two points. It’s a pivotal game for both clubs with both teams on 20 points and inside the top 5. The winner can edge closer to the top two while for the loser it puts them back into the back and keeps them one game back from those outside of the top five.
AKERMANIS HELPS OUT CLUB
Former Brownlow Medallist Jason Akermanis will don the boots for Wahgunyah this Saturday in the Tallangatta league. The Lions have lost 31 games in a row and while Akermanis might not guide them to a win over Thurgoona, he’ll provide a valuable target in the middle and the forward line to give them a boost on the day.
LOVETT-MURRAY HEADS WEST
Former Essendon player Nathan Lovett-Murray will play for Penshurst this Saturday in the Mininera and District league against the best team in the competition. To celebrate indigenous round, the Bombers will have the 145-game player play and wear a jersey designed by Penshurst player Andrew Vella and a local junior at the club. The Bombers will take on Tatyoon who have won all nine games this season and sit on top of the ladder.
Originally published as Key talking points ahead of a big weekend of local footy