THE Central Murray Football Netball League minor premiership chances of the Mallee Eagles and Woorinen will be on the line tomorrow.
Sitting second and third on the ladder with nine wins in season 2017, both teams hold a three-victory advantage over the battle for fourth and fifth spot on the ladder – all but guaranteeing a qualifying final appearance on August 26.
However, the loser of tomorrow's match will fall two wins behind competition leaders, Kerang, and with only four matches to play after this weekend, will struggle to close the gap.
The Eagles' last loss came against the Tigers back in round two, with the club claiming nine consecutive victories since April 8.
The Tigers' 21-point defeat to Kerang was the club's first loss since round one, and Marcus Demaria's side will look to make amends tomorrow.
A poor first half riddled with errors cost the Tigers the win last weekend, whilst the Eagles dominated in their 139-point win against Tyntynder.
Both teams have scored more than 1000 points this season – with the Eagles holding a 1207 to 1069 advantage – whilst the visitors have conceded 47 less points in 2017.
All-out attack will be the way Dean Helmers' side will approach the match, with Caine Hillier and Zak Saad looking to dominate for a second consecutive week.
The Tigers will play more cautiously, with Kane Donnan and Will Watson to help get the ball to Doug Beames and Jamie Nicholas.
The Eagles also go into the game with a win the last time the teams met at Woorinen – a 67-point victory in round one, 2016.
PREDICTION: All-out attack will help the Mallee Eagles record a 20-point win.
Will the Kangas stay in touch?
FRESH from breaking a six-match losing streak, the Cohuna Kangas will look to remain in touch with the Central Murray Football Netball League top five with a win against Nyah-Nyah West United tomorrow.
The Kangas accounted for Balranald by 65 points in the club's first win since April 29, whilst the Demons moved to fourth on the ladder following a 47-point win against Swan Hill.
With the Swans – who are locked with the Kangas, Koondrook/Barham and Tyntynder on five wins for the season – favourites to defeat Lake Boga tomorrow, this is a vital match to the finals hopes of both sides.
The Kangas will remain sixth on the ladder with a win, but will be level with the Demons on six wins for the season.
However, a Nyah-Nyah West United victory will see the Kangas sit one win outside the top five alongside the loser of the Koondrook/Barham v Tyntynder encounter.
Tomorrow's hosts showed last weekend it has various avenues to goal, with Jack Dehne, Sam Dehne and Beattie leading the way in front of goal.
If this trio fire again and Harrison Keely dominates his potential match-up against Matthew Curren, a sixth win of the season is on the cards.
The Kangas will need to be mindful of Alex Erlandson and Justin Caccaviello – who led the way for the Demons last weekend – with Mason Fehring to be key in defence for the hosts.
The Kangas defeated the Demons by 13 points when the teams last met in round two. Another close result is certain tomorrow.
PREDICTION: Nyah-Nyah West United's class will help the team record a 20-point win.
Finals calling for Raiders, Bulldogs
THE chance to remain in touch with the Central Murray Football Netball League top five will be an incentive for Koondrook/Barham and Tyntynder tomorrow.
Sitting outside an elimination final placing percentage, the loser of the match between the sixth-placed Bulldogs and eighth-placed Raiders will be one win outside the top five come 5pm tomorrow.
After winning their first three matches of the season – including a 53-point win against the Raiders back in round two – the Bulldogs have struggled with consistency, leaving Jay McDonald's team in a battle with three other sides for fifth spot on the ladder.
One of those teams is the Raiders, who snapped a two-match losing streak last weekend in a 60-point victory against Tooleybuc/Manangatang.
Dean Limbach was the key in the Raiders' win last weekend, booting 10 goals and stamping himself as the league's main forward.
This is something McDonald will need to be mindful of if the visitors are to win. Luke Brown will be best suited to stop the Raiders spearhead, with Matt Thomas and Nathan O'Toole able to take advantage of any loose ball opportunities.
Brad Carroll – who missed the Bulldogs' win against the Raiders in round two – will be the visitors' key scoring option, with Raiders coach, Neil Bradley to look to Matthew Dean or Blake Chant to contain the stalwart.
The midfield battle between the Raiders' Patrick Goble and Tyntynder's Bryce Delmenico will be a highlight, whilst Jack Fenner and Jackson Flisher will need to contain Bulldogs' ruckman, Justin Ellis if the hosts are to climb up the ladder.
PREDICTION: Home ground advantage will help Koondrook/Barham produce a 20-point win.
Balranald's Blues to continue
KERANG will look to build on its long-standing record against Balranald tomorrow, with the five-time defending Central Murray Football Netball League premiers looking to retain its one-win buffer at the top of the competition's ladder.
With the Mallee Eagles and Woorinen also meeting tomorrow, the Blues will be two victories ahead of the loser of the match of the round if the club can record a 12th consecutive win against the 'Roos.
Travis Matheson's side recorded a 117-point win when the teams last met in round two, and a repeat effort is a possibility tomorrow.
However, the visitors go into the game knowing they can challenge the premiership favourites at Riverside Park, only going down by eight points when the teams last met in Kerang more than 12 months ago.
Kerang showed in its 21-point win against Woorinen last weekend it has an all-rounded game built on defence and counter-attack.
Brad Pay, Marty Kelly, Bronson Booth and Ryan Gillingham took advantage of each Tiger turnover, delivering the ball to Luke Cotchett and Scott Lockwood.
If Ben Jones and Luke Henery cannot contain the home team's midfield, the Blues' percentage will continue to grow.
Ben Fuller – who kicked three goals in Balranald's 65-point loss to the Cohuna Kangas last weekend – will be pivotal to the visitors' goalkicking options, but will face stiff competition from Patrick Taban.
PREDICTION: Kerang will win by 80 points.