Well here we go, after a few weeks off we are ready to conclude the first half of the season and there is a couple of huge games in this round which could set the tone for the second half.
For a few teams this will be an opportunity to continue on their way as they march towards finals, whilst for others an opportunity to kick start their season and give themselves every chance at further success towards the end of the season.
MANNING v SAFETY BAY
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Z Boddy, C Owen, R Kennedy, S McBriar
R Hall, B McVicar, G Hodges, J Hanafee
C Carruthers, S Hide, G Wilkes, S Foran
G Smith, G Taylor, J Thorington, L Piper INS: Z Boddy, B McVicar OUTS: R Parr, G Ogg
Manning after starting the season undefeated through the first five weeks, came down to earth a little but still occupy that all important 4th place on the ladder, albeit only marginally above a couple of teams and will want to maintain or increase that this week.
Safety Bay have struggled to gain any momentum so far this season, although they were close to gaining their first win last start. I do believe they will gain a win or 2 this season, however playing Manning at Manning, I don’t think it will be this week.
KARDINYA v SOUTH PERTH
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G Pauling, T Alberti, P Davies, D Angell
D Brown, L Such, T Antonio, J Galipo
J Opie, T Kinnane, N Griffin, K Pride
R Bresland, S Walker, M Biglin, O Dawson INS: T Kinnane OUTS: D Mortley
A huge game for both sides as they would no doubt be disappointed with their first half performances.
Kardinya sitting in 9th place, even with the player losses they suffered, would not be comfortable sitting where they are and will need to start to string some games together to dig themselves out of the hole they are in.
South Perth, considered by many as preseason favourites are sitting mid pack with 4 wins and 4 losses and they too will want to start off the new year on the right foot to keep in touch with the top 4.
Quality players on both sides and on paper and form you would tip South Perth, however Kardinya playing at home with so much to play for, I think they will get over the line in a close one.
OSBORNE PARK v SORRENTO
S Loftus, C Biddle, A Pasalich, I Lilburne
C Packer, J East, R Lawrence, M Rollings
N Stevens, T Weir, M Dewson, S Pasalich
R Brown, K Pickering, E Martin, G King INS: No changes OUTS:
C Lander, R Cunningham, P Morgan, G Murray
D Nicholls, A Elmer, A Walton, F Tyson
R Butler, P Knight, P Flack, M Burton
B Eagles, M Hulbert, B Lucas, S Mortimer INS: B Lucas OUTS: G Taylor
Another game with a lot riding on it even at the half way point of the season.
For Osborne Park, after a slow start have started to show something of late, and despite a hiccup in the game before Christmas have started to climb their way out of the dangerous bottom 2, but still 9 points adrift of 4th spot.
They will need to string a few wins together to give themselves a chance but it won’t be an easy task this week as they face 3rd place Sorrento.
Sorrento have been the pleasant surprise of the first half as most had written them off at the start of the season, but with 6 wins and 2 losses they have no doubt silenced some critics. Can they keep it going for the second, that remains to be seen, however they have done the hard early work and will not want to let it slip.
For that reason, I think Sorrento will prevail in a close game and get secure the aggregate to get their second half rolling.
NORTH BEACH v MOSMAN PARK
M Sweeney, M Sear, G Crosthwaite, G Yabuka
M Douthie, P Walker, M McConnell, L Mola
C Margin, G Devenish, R Aitken, J Clayton
J McGinlay, B Gillingham, S Richards, J Post INS: No changes OUTS:
M Cranswick, J Barry, J Adams, A Daley
C Hoffman, T Southern, M Robertson, A Gryta
D Marsland, T Massang, S Swanson, W Tan
A Southern, T Cranswick, S Anning, M Van Bemmel INS: No changes OUTS:
Both sides sitting middle of the pack having started their seasons with a lot of promise, are still hanging in there and both coming off last game wins will be keen to get back out there and start the second half with a bang.
North Beach suffered a mild little hiccup halfway through the first round, but have regrouped the past 2 games with big wins against teams sitting 1st and 3rd on the ladder will go in with a lot of confidence.
Mosman Park having an up and down like season so far have shown that when they are at their best they can match it with anyone and will no doubt also go into this game with some confidence as they look to get their second half rolling in the right direction.
However North Beach at home and coming off 2 big wins I think will see them gain the big end of the points and keep in touch with the top 4.
North Beach 7 -1
DOUBLEVIEW v CAMBRIDGE
J Slavich, S Scott, R Haring, L Thorn
C Slavich, A Williams, R Bates, A Wetzler
K McIlroy, S Gosstray, S Cerff, G Faulkner
R Moyle, B White, B Pearce, T Whitfield INS: B Pearce OUTS: D Cosgrove
C Adams, R Bolton, N Bolton, P Potts
B Nairn, D Opie, C Wooldridge, D Leeson
E Johannes, S Rushforth, L Bolton, A Garlick
C Harris, S Mawdsley, N Lewis, A Foster INS: No changes OUTS:
Top of the table clash and what a way to kick off the new year.
Both teams sitting at 6-2 and only separated by 2.5 points for the winner of this, it cements their spot in the all-important top 4 whilst for the loser it drops them back into the battle with the chasing pack.
Doubleview undefeated at home this year will no doubt want to keep that trend going, and coming off a close loss before Christmas will be looking to get their second half going in the right direction.
Cambridge, like Doubleview, have set the tone this season and despite a couple of surprising losses have set the standard that other teams are trying to reach. Having 2 skippers in the top 4 of the skippers list certainly gives the team a lot of confidence moving forward and sets the tone for the rest of the season.
With all that being said, I think they are 2 very evenly matched teams and one could argue that the home side whichever team was playing at home will go in as favourite and for that reaon I will tip Doubleview at home in a close one.