GRFL - Maroons, Blues to face off

READY. Nullawil and Murrabit will meet tomorrow for the first time since last year's preliminary final.

READY. Nullawil and Murrabit will meet tomorrow for the first time since last year's preliminary final.

TWO of the Golden Rivers Football League's top sides during the past decade will meet tomorrow in a key match in the battle for a spot in the top four.

Nullawil will host defending premiers, Murrabit in the first match between both sides since last year's preliminary final.

The match will be the Maroons' first hit-out since April 29, when the Mallee-based side defeated Wakool by 195 points.

The Blues go into the match on the back of a 121-point win against Macorna, but had two of its key players – Bryden and Dylan Morison – play in last weekend's Golden Rivers Football League interleague side, whereas all of Nullawil's players had the weekend off.

Both Morrison boys will face significant match-ups tomorrow. Bryden will have a run-with role against Scott Mathiske in the midfield, with Dylan to take on the role of stopping Maroons goalkicker, Kal Heslop.

Andrew Oberdoefer looms as another key player for the hosts, with Josh Dwyer and Andrew Spitty to rotate between the ruck and centre half-back to stop the Maroons' centre half-forward.

The Blues also boast a dominant forward line, with Nathan Henry, Hugh Foott and Justin McConnell all capable of kicking multiple goals.

Jarrod Kemp will be Grant Ford's first choice to battle Henry, with Brett Barker and Matthew Hayward to provide assistance.

Murrabit lost to Nullawil by 39 points when the teams met in round one last year, with the Blues prevailing by nine points in round eight and by 14 points in a wet preliminary final at Quambatook. 

PREDICTION: Murrabit will win by 20 points.

Bombers in race

WANDELLA will look to remain one win off top spot on the Golden Rivers Football League ladder with a win against Wakool tomorrow.

Inaccurate kicking in front of goal hurt the Bombers in the side's 12-point loss to competition leaders, Ultima 13 days ago, whilst the Hawks were no match for Hay, going down by 139 points.

Wandella is locked in a three-way battle with Hay and Murrabit for second spot on the ladder, whilst the Hawks' four losses this season have been more than 100 points.

If Wakool is to record a second consecutive win against the Bombers, Stephen Arthur's men need to find a way of stopping Sam Sperling in front of goal.

The forward showed in last weekend's AFL Victoria Community Championship match how valuable he is to Wandella's premiership hopes, with Reagan Hamilton his potential opponent tomorrow.

If Sperling cannot get the ball, the likes of Justin Robinson and Paul Grayling could dominate, meaning a potential bleak day for the Hawks.

Luke Kirkland will be just as dangerous for the Hawks in the visitors' forward 50, with Matt Wilkinson best suited for the challenge.

Wakool won by six points when the teams last met in July 2015. The result will go Wandella's way tomorrow.

PREDICTION: Wandella will win by at least 80 points.

Tough day for Tigers

MACORNA faces the daunting prospect of taking on the Golden Rivers Football League's only undefeated side tomorrow.

The Tigers – who are yet to win a match in season 2017 – will look to produce one of the upset results of the season when the team hosts Ultima.

The 'Roos inflicted Wandella's first loss of the season 13 days ago, whilst the Tigers went down to Murrabit by 121 points.

It is difficult to see how Michael Rowe's men can produce a win, considering it took the side more than one half of their round five match to kick the side's first goal of the game.

Daniel Edwards, Jessi Lampi and Ricki Waters will be key goalkicking options for the Tigers, but will struggle with the pressure Luke Kelson and Lachlan Paull will produce.

Steve Lyons, Callan Farrell and Arnold Kirby could have a big day in front of goal if Lachlan Allison and his fellow Macorna defenders cannot contain these three key forwards.

However, it will be the midfield where Ultima will secure this match, with James Summerhayes and Tom Bull to be too quick for Joel Dwyer and company.

Macorna stunned Ultima in round one last year, producing a 16-point win, with the 'Roos prevailing by 40 points in round eight.

PREDICTION: Ultima will remain undefeated thanks to an 80-plus point win.

Northern battle

One of the matches of the round will occur at Hay, with the Lions to host an improving Moulamein.

Although sitting seventh on the ladder with a 1-4 record, the Swans have challenged a number of their opponents in season 2017, and will look to record their first win at Hay since 2013.

The inclusion of Tom Isma in the midfield and Max Baldissera at half-forward has given Tony Mudge's side added strength and pace, which will be tested tomorrow.

Lions coach, Taylor Williamson goes into the match with added confidence after being best on ground in last weekend's GRFL interleague effort, whilst key forward, Jackson Ferguson will be well rested after last taking to the field 13 days ago.

Andrew Low will get the job to stop either Baldissera or fellow Moulamein goalkicker, Patrick Caldwell, with the midfield tussle between Isma and Simon Bunyan to be a highlight.

However, if the Swans are to record a second win of the season, the side will need to work out a way of stopping Ferguson, with the versatility of Ben Booth to be Mudge's first choice.

Hay won by an average winning margin of 86 points when the teams met on two occasions last year. The result will be the same, but the margin will be significantly closer.

PREDICTION: Hay will win by 40 points.

* QUAMBATOOK has the bye.

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