Do not expect a Swan dive this time

July 13, 2017

Kasey Duncan was one of Avenel’s best yet again on Saturday before he went down with a knee injury, and is awaiting the results of scans to see what damage has been done.

Things will be different this time around.

In round one, Nagambie powered past Avenel in a one-sided Kyabram District Football League grand final rematch.

That day the Swans were underdone after a lacklustre pre-season and the Lakers won by 44 points.

Avenel enters this rivalry clash after seven straight wins, while Nagambie is on top of the ladder and is refreshed after a week off.

Nagambie coach Linc Sullivan said he was looking forward to a superb battle in the midfield.

The Lakers have stars such as Michael Roberts, Mick Shiels and Anthony Haysom, while the Swans boast coach Don Stirling and Michael Morgan.

Avenel has lost reigning McNamara medallist Kasey Duncan for the year with a knee injury.

‘‘They (Avenel) had a slow start to the year, but it will be a really good contest and both sides are dominant in the midfield, so it should be a good battle in there,’’ Sullivan said.

‘‘I wouldn’t take too much out of the round one game, they’ve added a couple of players and improved a lot since then.’’

Ruckman Alex Tattersall is still on the sidelines, but could be back in two weeks, while Tyrone Muir could make a surprise return later in the season.

Muir looked to have had his campaign ended when he broke his arm against Lancaster last month.

Avenel will be without Andrew Green, Grant Hateley and Ben Quick for a few weeks, with the trio jetting off overseas.

Swans boss Stirling said he was confident his side would put in a better effort than when the sides met in April.

‘‘They really dominated us in round one, they’re a pretty slick outfit over the last few years and have been able to keep that core group together who have played a lot of footy with one another,’’ Stirling said.

‘‘We had seven guys make their debuts at the club in round one and that always makes a big difference, but we’ve been improving as the season has gone on.’’

Avenel got the job done at Murchison last week, defeating the Grasshoppers by 45 points.

Veteran Paul Arandt has been in outstanding form, as has Nathan Thomas, Scott Tyers, Mitch Thomas and William Lewis.

Murchison-Toolamba v Stanhope

It will be interesting to see how Stanhope backs up after an incredible victory last weekend.

The Lions pulled a rabbit out of the hat at Lancaster, reeling in a 30-point deficit midway through the final quarter to defeat the Wombats.

It can sometimes be difficult to respond from such an emotional game, but the Lions will need to against an energetic and youthful Murchison-Toolamba team.

Shannon Tibos, Nathan Carroll, Tom Karacsay, Jon Cooper and Jake Ewart were excellent in the loss to Avenel last Saturday for the Grasshoppers.

They won’t play finals, but James Milne’s team can certainly shape it.

Jack Exell is always a dangerous prospect in the Lions’ forward line, while Michael Coad was instrumental after switching into the ruck.

Girgarre v Violet Town

Finals are out of the question for Girgarre, but the Kangaroos need to finish off strongly.

It will be a tough ask on Saturday when the Roos host Violet Town, who are keeping pressure on Nagambie at the top of the ladder.

Shannon Tucker’s Roos are without a win since beating Rushworth on May 20, losing six straight games.

It was a low-scoring scrap last week against Merrigum, with Girgarre scoring just four goals.

Sean Horsburgh’s Towners have been quietly going about their business, cruising to a 10-1 record.

Violet Town is coming off a 58-point win against Rushworth, with Pat Horsburgh (five goals) in terrific form and has to be in with a chance of taking home the McNamara Medal.

Jake Cowman, Sam Poole and Greg Dyer have been playing consistently well.

Rushworth v Tallygaroopna

Tallygaroopna will have to continue its charge for a top-two finish without star Tyson Sidebottom on Saturday.

The Redlegs will travel to Ironbark Stadium to take on Rushworth with Sidebottom serving a one-game suspension for striking in the 240-point demolition of Undera last week.

Chris Earles’ side has had some recent percentage-boosting wins and Rushworth shapes as another opportunity to do that.

But the Tigers were more than competitive against powerhouse Violet Town last Saturday as some players start to return from injury.

Rob Osborne has been a constant in Rushworth’s forward line, with 64 goals for the season, while Billy Wall, Shaun Young and Daniel Doolan are reliable contributors.

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