It is a battle of the birds in the Picola District Football League south-east division on Saturday with Katunga hosting reigning premiers Shepparton East.
The Swans, who defeated Katandra last week, will be out to hand the Eagles their second loss in three weeks.
However, the task has been made more difficult with star forward Dylan Sidebottom ruled out for the rest of the season.
Sidebottom, who has kicked 23 goals, tore his Achilles tendon in last week’s victory and co-coach Daniel Burness was devastated for him.
‘‘He has been really good for us this season,’’ Burness said.
‘‘It is shattering, he and Callum Wilson have been in fine form this season, but now we have to shuffle things around.’’
Oliver Small is expected to make his return to senior football after successive leg breaks and Burness credited the forward’s perseverance.
‘‘He is coming back this week, he will be a direct replacement for Dylan,’’ Burness said.
‘‘He has worked hard in his recovery, broke his leg once and then did it again, but we can’t deny him his chance in the seniors as his form warrants it.’’
Reflecting on the game against the Eagles, Burness has a few tricks up his sleeve, but said it was tough to beat such a well-balanced side.
‘‘You have to beat them as a collective, most games are won in the middle and we will try and do that,’’ Burness said.
‘‘They are a very good side, they are very competitive across all lines so we have to be on our game.’’
East will be boosted with the return of Nathan Barolli (ankle), reigning best-and-fairest winner Jamie Spencer (groin) and Rob Osborne.
‘‘They are big inclusions for us, the three of them are all terrific players, so it will be great to have them back,’’ Eagles coach Dwain Vidler said.
His side may be the heavy favourites, but Vidler was well aware of the Swans’ threat.
‘‘They are a very good team, we have played them already this season and they took it to us,’’ Vidler said.
‘‘Wilson is a dominant forward, Eamon Reeves is a gun and so is Shannon Emmett.’’
Sidebottom booted two goals last time the two sides met and Vidler had mixed emotions when he heard the forward was not playing.
‘‘It’s not great for him, he is a fine player and we wish him well,’’ Vidler said.
‘‘In saying that, it is a little bonus for us, he usually plays really well against us.’’
Katamatite v Dookie United
When it rains, it pours and unfortunately for Katamatite and Dookie wins have been hard to come by this season.
Placed seventh and sixth respectively, the two clubs have only registered five wins between them, with two of United’s victories coming against the Tigers and Katandra.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are yet to beat a side above them, with their only two wins coming against winless Katandra.
Dookie has also lost three of its past four games and on Saturday felt the full wrath of Tungamah.
The Bears were too strong, defeating a hapless United side by 76 points.
McMullan (17 goals) is too often relied on to kick his side a winning score.
Tungamah v Waaia
Tungamah is the Picola District Football League south east’s most in-form side, having won seven games on the trot.
Jeremy O’Brien’s side completed the impossible a fortnight ago when it beat Shepparton East and it will look to add Waaia to its list of scalps.
The Bombers have been up and down this season, with many having had them as an outside grand final chance.
Waaia has won three out of its past five games, with their two losses coming against Rennie and Shepparton East.
The Grasshoppers not only smashed the Bombers by 77 points last round, but also usurped them in third place.
The Bears just keep on winning and last week they proved too strong for Dookie.
Rennie v Katandra
Rennie was without two of its biggest stars last round, but that did not stop it putting together its best performance of the season against Waaia.
Playing coach Craig Ednie and forward spearhead Chase Strawhorn are out indefinitely, but a raring Grasshoppers side should easily account for Katandra at home on Saturday.
The Kats are one of two winless sides across the two Picola District league divisions.
Co-coach Ramadan Yze is optimistic about his side’s youth and believes the win-loss column is not reflective of their performances.
Ryleigh Shannon and Corey Hickford have been two of Katandra’s more consistent performers.