The South West Football League will be back in action this weekend after a bye for the Landmark Carnival.
It will be interesting to see how the break will affect the competition, with some teams coming into the week fully refreshed, while others will come in full of confidence after the South West claimed the Landmark championship for the first time since 2015.
Check out our preview of the round’s games and let us know who you think will win.
Donnybrook vs Collie Eagles
It would take a minor miracle for Donnybrook to miss out on playing finals for the first time in 13 years. The Dons have been by far the most consistent team all year and have picked up wins against all nine other clubs in the competition.
The Collie Eagles will be playing for their season on Saturday. The Eagles sit three games outside fifth spot and with only seven games to go in the season, they’ll probably have to go unbeaten across that span to make it.
It’s not absolutely unthinkable as the Eagles have been much improved over the last four rounds, but their hopes will hinge on the form of two key players – full back Mat Michael and full forward Joel Houghton.
Michael has been one of the best defenders across the competition all season and continued that form in the Landmark Carnival, while Houghton is known for kicking big bags of goals, but is under a bit of an injury cloud.
However the Dons midfield will prove to be too strong. With Hayward medal favourite Chris Atthowe and Landmark Carnival best and fairest Jace Cormack in great form and regularly hitting the scoreboard, it’s hard to see how they can be beaten.
But if Donnybrook’s run is going to end any time soon, this may be the week. The last time Donnybrook lost it was a rainy Saturday afternoon at VC Mitchell Park and it looks like those conditions will be repeated.
Prediction: Donnybrook by 31 points
Harvey Bulls vs Harvey Brunswick Leschenault
The Harvey Bulls and Harvey Brunswick Leschenault face off on Saturday for the Harvey Fresh Cup.
Despite their spot on the bottom of the ladder, the Bulls will come into the match with confidence as they knocked off the Lions away from home when they met earlier in the season. They also come in refreshed, with no Bulls taking part in the league Landmark competition.
The Lions have been the most inconsistent team this season, so there’s a chance they could do anything this weekend.
Star midfielder Jesse Crichton is in fine form after his best on ground performance in the Landmark grand final and Mitch Andrews will most likely give his midfield a lot of opportunity to move the ball forward regularly.
The Lions will need to find forwards to hit the scoreboard though as they are currently the lowest-scoring team in the league, but if there’s any team they’ll feel comfortable scoring against, it’s the all-out attacking Harvey Bulls.
Prediction: Harvey Brunswick Leschenault by 24 points
South Bunbury vs Augusta Margaret River
The last time South Bunbury and Augusta Margaret River met, there was a little bit of controversy with the scoreboard and South Bunbury claimed a one-point win, its first of the season.
Since that day, the Tigers and the Hawks have taken very different paths. South Bunbury now sits second on the ladder and has won six of its last seven games.
The Hawks, on the other hand, have been ravaged by injury and inconsistency throughout the season. The Hawks’ inability to string multiple wins together – they’ve won back-to-back games just once this season – as left them just outside the finals positions with a 5-6 record.
The game is almost certain to be low scoring and hard fought. Despite the strengths of their respective forward lines, both teams have struggled to kick big scores and average around 66 points a game each.
But South Bunbury has shown a love for close games this season, with more than half of its games decided by less than two goals.
Prediction: South Bunbury by four points
Bunbury vs Carey Park
If there’s one game that could easily go either way this week, it’s the clash between Bunbury and Carey Park. Both teams are clinging on to the bottom of the finals positions and have identical 6-5 records this season.
Neither team is in particularly great form of late, with the Bulldogs on a two-game losing streak and the Panthers snapping their own two-game losing streak with a one-point win over Harvey last round.
The problem for Bunbury is scoring. The Bulldogs are one of the lowest scoring teams and apart from Brett Peake’s 33 goals, only Mark Longbottom has cracked double figures with 10. The inability to kick big scores means the Bulldogs are susceptible to big defeats if their defence doesn’t hold up.
Carey Park has the opposite problem. The Panthers are the league’s highest scorers, but their fast-paced, attacking play means they regularly concede big scores.
It’s likely this game will be won in the midfield, so it will be interesting to see if which team will give their forwards more chances to score.
Prediction: Bunbury by seven points
Eaton Boomers vs Busselton
The Eaton Boomers are one of the form teams of the competition coming into round 12.
The Boomers are riding a three-game win streak and have shown some improved scoring over that time, averaging 98 points a game – almost four goals more than the league average of 74.5 over the same period.
But Busselton can’t be counted out. The Magpies have got their season back on track over the last two rounds, with solid wins over Harvey and Bunbury.
The key to the Magpies’ resurgence has been the forward line. Busselton has looked much more dangerous going forward since captain Aidan Fraser and Jed Kemp have returned from injury with the pair kicking 13 goals between them over the last two weeks.
Also of note is Eaton’s strong home record. The Boomers love playing at Glen Huon Reserve and have lost just one game in front of a home crowd this season, while Busselton have picked up just one win on the road against Harvey.
Prediction: Eaton Boomers by 19 points
Catch up on the 2018 South West Football League season: