Katamatite faces an uphill battle this weekend to get its Picola and District Football League season back on track.
Reeling at 2-6 after four consecutive losses to some of the league’s best sides, the tough stretch continues hosting Blighty on Saturday.
The Redeyes are surging, third on the ladder at 6-2 and enter off a 157-point smacking of Jerilderie.
Tigers coach Jedd Wright expected a fierce game and for his side to keep fighting in the back half of the year.
‘‘They’re a very slick side, Jed Brain is a fantastic footballer, but if we can keep him quiet, maybe to three or so goals, we’re a good chance of keeping them to a score we can top,’’ Wright said.
‘‘We see ourselves as a good chance of a win (this weekend) and we’re confident if we play good footy we can win a few games.
‘‘We’re still hoping to get five or six wins and sneak into finals.’’
Blighty has responded well to its two-point loss to Strathmerton, beating Berrigan by 14 points before the Demons win.
Brain kicked eight at the weekend and will be a clear focus for the Katamatite defence to try and shut down.
Coming off a 4-14 season in the Picola league south-east conference, Wright said he had seen promising signs from his up-and-coming team.
‘‘I think our focus for the season has been constantly improving and I think we’ve seen that,’’ he said.
‘‘Obviously we’d like to have won a couple more matches, but we’re pretty confident when we play our best football we’ll start to stay with sides and string a few wins together.
‘‘I think it’s about changing attitudes and the way we stick to our structures whether it’s the first quarter or the last quarter.
‘‘Consistency is important, each game we’re winning a quarter here or there, but we need to play four quarters to give us our best chance.’’
Wright said young Shankus Ryan had impressed him with a consistent season, as had Harris Dickason and Luke Riordan.
Katunga v Mathoura
After a 31-point humbling at the hands of Deniliquin, Katunga will need to make a statement in its weekend Picola District Football League meeting with Mathoura.
The Swans outscored the Roos in the second and third quarters, but could not close the gap enough to steal an upset win, eventually copping the five-goal beating.
The good news was the continued good form of gun forward Callum Wilson, who backed up his 11-goal haul with another six big ones.
Mathoura enters the game fresh off its second win of the season, a five-goal triumph against fellow battler Yarroweyah.
The Timbercutters moved within one game of the top eight, but will need to improve considerably against the league’s more competitive sides to make finals a reality.
Rennie v Berrigan
Rennie’s and Berrigan’s clash on Saturday could carry some serious finals implications.
Berrigan is 4-4, but Rennie is 3-5, and whichever side wins will do its chances of holding on to its spot within the top eight absolutely no harm.
The Saints enter off the bye, but impressed the week before with an 85-point mauling of Jerilderie, Tom Irvine and Ron Middleton kicking four and three goals respectively to carry the load.
The Hoppers lacked intensity against Strathmerton, held to just 20 points in a lop-sided game.
Chase Strawhorn has made an impact on his return to the Rennie line-up, kicking the side’s two goals last weekend.
Berrigan has given many of the league’s top teams pushes this season and will look to turn that into points this weekend.
Deniliquin Rovers v Tocumwal
Deniliquin Rovers are in the middle of a scintillating patch of form, and will be looking to lock up another big win when they travel to face Tocumwal this weekend.
The Roos proved too good for Katunga last weekend, comfortably handling the fellow finals aspirant by 31 points.
Again it was their multiple weapons shining up forward that proved a massive factor, with Aaron Purcell, Brody Lumber and Rick Waters slotting 10 between them.
It has been a different story in recent weeks for Tocumwal, losers of five straight games in sliding to a 1-7 record.
Sam Jenkins, Sam Hatty and coach Tim Garlick were the star performers in the side’s most recent loss to Katunga, a 74-point thrashing away from home.
The Rovers are hot favourites to record a strong win.
Strathmerton v Waaia
Two of the Picola Districti league’s upwardly mobile sides will go head-to-head this weekend in a contest that promises anything.
Strathmerton has not lost in five games, but Waaia has gone even better, not having lost a game this season.
The Bombers added another page to their ever-growing resume by comprehensively beating Picola United last weekend, winning by 35 points despite what coach Matt Brown labelled a poor first quarter.
But without drawing too much attention to themselves, the Bulldogs have snuck to a 6-2 record and seem perfectly poised to give the Bombers one of their biggest challenges of the season.
Strathmerton’s second-ranked defence will be put to the test, with Bombers Charlie Burrows, Dylan Cornick and Connor Brown joining the coach in a loaded forward arsenal.
Picola United v Yarroweyah
Picola United showed it can hang with the competition’s best side on Saturday, yet will still leave last round’s clash with Waaia terribly disappointed with its showing.
Its challenge now is to bottle that disappointment and turn it into an improved display against hapless Yarroweyah.
Having pushed Waaia within 35 points, the Blues would fancy their chances of belting a struggling side like the Hoppers, particularly given the strong form of players like Clinton Barnes and Darby Walsh.
Yarroweyah would have been expecting a better display against Mathoura, pushing hard, but eventually falling by 30 points.
Keegan Oliver continued excellent form with four goals in a best-on-ground showing and will need to be even better if the Hoppers are to stay within touching distance of United.