Division 2 Preview: Round 9

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Anna Pavlou

We’ve reached the half-way point of 2019, with Bulleen taking their bye this week. Let’s see what’s programmed to go down in Round 9…

Another game that may very well mirror finals, this one against Brunswick and Yarra Old Grammarians. The boys from Yarra had a tough and close loss last week, while at the other end, the Brunswick boys have had a double bye and will be refreshed and primed to take on a potentially tired Bushrangers outfit. The major loss for the Bushrangers is star forward Luke Barker, who had been piling on the goals before his injury a few weeks back, meaning Yarra will need to find alternate goal-kicking avenues or try a different game style in order to apply the much-needed scoreboard pressure they are struggling to grasp. The Nobbers are still sitting pretty in second position and will look to the return of their young boys to help them in front of goal. The pace of the likes of Francis Evans and co. This game will be closer than we think, however as both sides love to play a run and spread style which allows for a free-flowing, high scoring affair. Don’t be surprised if you see a spread of goal kickers from both sides as well as high-pressure, high scores at both ends.

Glen Eira and Hawthorn will meet again in Round 9 and this time, the Hawks will be searching for redemption. After their losses in Division 3 last season, Hawthorn will be eager to right their wrongs and put a win on the board for 2019. Glen Eira on the other hand are on a steady roll, slowly building a team that is willing their way into the Division 2 fixture for another season. The Gryphons will look to the return of a few key players to get their machine rolling smoothly, but have been on a positive streak lately as their results show. The Hawks have shown promising signs, playing decent and dominative quarters of footy, but are struggling to play out a comprehensive four quarters. They’ll look to work on their clearances and variety of goal options in order to play a harder-to-stop team game. The bye has been beneficial for both sides with a fair few injuries, but it looks as if the poise, composure and game structure form the Gryphons will prevail in this game.

It is extremely difficult to fault the game of the Whitefriars boys, but Ivanhoe have shown strong signs recently that put them up for contention this week. The Hoers love to play a contested game of footy, which they can use to catch the free-flowing, fast-running Friars style off guard and hold them back from booting big scores. The Hoers had a great win against Yarra old Grammarians, a real finals contender, so could play the same style on their home ground to command the Friars attention, while slowing down the game and reducing wing movements. But, it’s still hard to overlook the Whitefriars, who are sitting pretty on top and don’t look like slowing down any time soon. Look out for Michael Nitas for the Friars in front of goal, as he looks to push for top spot on the goal kicking leaderboard.

MHSOB will take on Power House on their small ground, which both sides are very much suited to. Although both sides match up well on paper, the Unicorns, however, have the pace that Power House are struggling to find. James Tran has been convincingly strong around the ground for the Unicorns, so the House will need to find a ready-made match-up to stop Tran’s impact that spawns from the middle. River Carroll has been strong in front of goal for Power House, but will need to overcome the strong defence that the Unicorns has shown in recent weeks.

If the House can play a more contested game where they slow down the MHSOB run on their home ground, the game could be closer than expected. It’s hard to see the Unicorns losing at home, as they play a spreading, wing-dominant game that is difficult to master.

BYE: Bulleen Templestowe