CMFNL - Hat-trick chance

ON TRACK. The Central Murray Football Netball League could produce a third consecutive AFL Victoria Community Championship win tomorrow.

ON TRACK. The Central Murray Football Netball League could produce a third consecutive AFL Victoria Community Championship win tomorrow.

THE Central Murray Football Netball League will look to record a third consecutive AFL Victoria Community Championship win tomorrow and continue its climb back up the competition's rankings.

The league will host neighbouring competition, the Sunraysia Football Netball League at the Swan Hill Showgrounds in what will be Kerang premiership coach, Travis Matheson's senior interleague coaching debut.

The three-time Kerang premiership coach will look to emulate the efforts of his former Blues teammate and co-coach, Troy Coates, who guided the CMFNL to wins in the past two years.

The league was on the verge of dropping out of the top 20 when the now Strathfieldsaye coach took over the role, orchestrating wins against North Central in 2016 and Heathcote District last year to set up tomorrow's clash involving the 17th and 18th-ranked competitions in the State.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the quality of the group of players from both sides take part," Matheson said.

"We've had a number of training sessions leading up to the match, with our squad of 29 to be reduced to 22 (last night)." 

Sunraysia is in a similar predicament to what the CMFNL was before Coates took over the coaching role in 2016.

It has been six years since tomorrow's visitors have claimed a championship win, losing to Hampden, Murray, South East and Wimmera between 2013 and 2016.

Tomorrow's match will also be the first time Sunraysia has played in the championships since its 52-point loss to Wimmera two years ago, with the league choosing not to compete in last year's competition after being drawn to travel to the Bellarine Football Netball League.

"Although I have not seen the Sunraysia squad as yet, I know their midfield will be quite strong," Matheson said.

"As for our side, we are really balanced across each line, thanks to good quality players.

"Hopefully the Swan Hill boys will be able to give us some inside knowledge as to how to play on the showgrounds."

Sunraysia's hopes were impacted in the past few weeks after former Carlton player, Adam Hartlett injured his knee last month and Luke Stanbrook underwent a knee reconstruction following last weekend's matches.

Both players were leading the competition's goalkicking, meaning the visitors' coach, Ash Connick may need to rely on small forwards to score.

As for the hosts, injuries and absences are at a minimum, meaning the side has a strong chance of recording a third consecutive win.

Travel will not be a factor for the neighbouring leagues, with Sunraysia not needing to head to Swan Hill today for the match.

The winner of this match will move to 15th in the rankings and take on the loser of the game between Murray and Gippsland in 12 months' time.

For the loser, an encounter against the victor of the North Central v Southern Football Netball League awaits in 2019, with the team to sit 20th in the rankings.

PREDICTION: Local knowledge will help Central Murray record a 20-point win.

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