SFL ROUND 2 Preview
BY Gary Williamson
Huonville v New Norfolk (Good Friday)
Huonville is at home for the second week in a row, trying to open their account for the 2014 season. They face a mammoth task taking on last year’s premiers New Norfolk on the rebound after a heavy loss to Claremont last Saturday under lights.
Huonville was gallant last week against an improved Dodges Ferry, going down by six points and the players should strip fitter this week after a good hard hit out and they will be competitive and determined to make up for last week’s loss.
New Norfolk will also be looking to finish off the game strongly after a good solid three quarters last week after it faded badly in the last term to be overrun by Claremont and will be determined to increase their intensity and pressure for a full four quarters.
The Eagles should regain some key players from injury and with a powerful forward line, if they can win the centre clearances the Huonville defenders may struggle against their high marking forwards. The Lions need to get the ball to the ground at all costs to use their pace and switch the ball and create the loose man to try to run the ball through the middle of the ground to give their forwards the best chance to score in a one on one contest.
Whilst you expect Huonville be competitive for half the game, New Norfolk’s class and experience should see the Eagles record a solid victory away from home.
Brighton v Claremont (Good Friday)
Brighton stays at home for the second week in a row and will be looking to open its account for the season, but facing the in-form Claremont will be a big challenge. Brighton was easily defeated last week against East Coast Bombers and the new players in the side will take time to gel and we should expect an improved performance this week. The Magpies will be full of confidence after defeating last year’s premiers New Norfolk by 40 points in a great start to the season and they will be full of confidence and will not want to put on a poor display.
Brighton will need to play more accountable football against the powerful Magpies and will need to make sure they get their match ups correct as if they turn the ball over Claremont will score heavily on rebound. Claremont coach Kim Excell will not let his players relax or be over confident after last week’s win and he should have them primed for a big display on Good Friday to keep their momentum going early in the season. You would expect Brighton to put up a good performance early in the game but the strength and class of Claremont will prevail as they should record an easy victory on Good Friday and hopefully the local crowd come out to see what should be a good game of football.
Hobart v Cygnet (Good Friday)
Newcomers Hobart get their second home game in a row and take on Cygnet in a game where both sides will be looking to open their account after being defeated in round one. Hobart struggled in the first week at home against Lindisfarne and with another week’s training under coach Steve Woods they should show general improvement and know the standard of play required in the SFL. Cygnet was disappointing at home to Sorell and will need to bounce back this week and would set themselves for a game they believe they can win to get their first four points of the season. Hobart showed good patches of play last week and you could not fault their endeavour and attack on the football, but they need to improve their skills. The Tigers also need to restructure their forward setup as they were only able to kick five goals last week and they will need to score a lot more heavily if they are to take the points.
Cygnet was good for three quarters last week but faded in last quarter and will need a more consistent effort and more importantly their lesser players need to contribute right across the ground if they are to win the game. In what should be a really close game, perhaps Cygnet with a few more experienced players will see them sneak over the line, but Hobart will be setting itself for a big game at home in front of what should be a good crowd on Good Friday.
Dodges Ferry v Sorell
Dodges Ferry is at home to take on Sorell in what promises to be a close and entertaining game as both sides recorded surprise wins in the first week of the season. Dodges Ferry under new coach Brad Curran showed a fierce determination to win against Huonville away from home and would have gained a lot of confidence and momentum coming into this traditional big clash. The Eagles under new coach David Lewis were surprised winners away from home against Cygnet and finishing off the game strongly their fitness levels will ensure they run this game right out.
The Sharks are always hard to beat at home and play their small ground well by avoiding the wide open wings and moving the ball straight down the middle. The centre clearances will be the key to winning the game as both sides have good forwards who are dangerous in the one on one contest. Perhaps Dodges Ferry may have a few more experienced players and depth at their club and with a vocal home crowd behind them they should appear a little bit too strong for the Eagles, however a win for the away side would not surprise.
East Coast v Lindisfarne
The Bombers are at home and looking for their second win of the season when they take on Lindisfarne in what promises to be an entertaining game against two evenly matched sides. The Bombers were big winners away from home last week against Brighton and they must realise they will need to be at their best if they are to take the points. The Two Blues also had a great start to the season by thrashing the league’s new side Hobart, however it was hard to gauge the strength of their win as it appears Hobart will struggle for class and depth this season.
The Bombers have a dangerous forward line with a good mixture of talls and small goal kicking players and if they can win the midfield battles and move the ball quickly into their forward line the Two Blues may start to struggle to contain their goal kicking power. Lindisfarne also has a lot of experienced players who have played a lot of finals football and their strength and pressure around the contest will give them a solid advantage around the ground. Both sides like to play a fast brand of football however we expect a much closer contest between two sides that look evenly matched. Perhaps the away side Lindisfarne may have a little bit more class towards the end of the game that must be at their best as if the Bombers get in front on their home ground they are very hard to run down.