Just five rounds remain in the Ovens Murray Football Netball League with the minor premiership, the top three and the top five still up for grabs as a thrilling finish looms to see who plays finals.
It would be hard to argue against round 14 being the most evenly matched round of the season with all four games and all eight teams not assured of four valuable points.
The match of the round will see second-placed Albury travel to Norm Minns Oval to take on last year’s grand final winner Wangaratta who trail the Tigers by one game.
The Tigers have named one of its strongest sides for the year with ex-AFL star George Horlin-Smith back from an overseas trip.
Wangaratta has lost Jackson Clarke for another week but will again have its star-studded forward line of Michael Newton, Ben Reid and Cal Moore to call on.
Yarrawonga has named former Carlton star Michael Gibbons for his first game since Albury five weeks ago. Gibbons missed due to suspension and hamstring strain.
Harry Wheeler misses again for the Pigeons who have named an extended interchange bench with several players under a fitness cloud.
Yarrawonga make their first trip back to Lavington since the 2022 grand final and will need to be at its best to dispose of the improving Panthers.
Lavington kept its season alive at Wodonga last week and if they were to knock over a top-three team in the run home they will play finals.
Ben Ashley Cooper is still missing with a shoulder injury, while Luke Garland although named will be very doubtful with concussion protocols from last week’s knock.
Myrtleford will fancy its chances of an upset when they are at home to Wodonga, the Saints won’t play finals but they can certainly disrupt some team’s aspirations.
The Dogs despite two losses in its last three matches have played some terrific football and will have too much at stake to go in complacent.
A promoter’s dream would be two of the league’s smoothest and classiest operators Simon Curtis (Myrtleford) and Angus Baker (Wodonga) going head to head.
Saints could find themselves on the bottom of the ladder if Raiders were to defeat North Albury at home – a tight result looks almost certain at the McNamara Reserve.
Can Wodonga Raiders reverse the result of round five and get their second win of the season when North Albury attends Birallee Park.
The Hoppers have so much at stake with a win keeping them potentially one game out of the top five and with a good run home – they can’t afford to lose this one.
Raiders have shown their best football is very competitive – they just can’t maintain it for four quarters – strap yourself in for this one it should be a cracker.
The match of the round in netball will be at the Lavington Sportsground when fifth-placed Lavington take on the premiership favourites and undefeated Yarrawonga.
The Panthers will take heart from their narrow loss back in round 5 and a good home and away record it recent times against the Pigeons.
Another tight contest will see two of the youngest sides in the competition Raiders and North Albury clash with Raiders needing to win to maintain third place.
Raiders won the first clash by three goals but have improved significantly and with the goal-shooting talent of Taylor Donelan and Emily Stewart, the Raiders should prevail.
Wangaratta will have too much class and experience for their home clash with Albury. The Magpies with Issy Byrne and Brooke Pryse in great form are still the biggest threat to Yarrawonga.
Currently in second place they still need to tick a few boxes to secure the double chance. Albury is 3 games out of the top five and will continue to use the talented youth coming through the ranks.
Myrtleford in fourth place are sweating on either Wangaratta or Raiders to slip up and will not let its home clash against eighth-placed Wodonga slip into a complacent approach.
Finally, the OMFNL Hall of Fame committee has announced another inductee for the Saturday week’s function and another upgraded to legend status.
Rutherglen, North Albury and Wodonga legend John Smith will become the seventh Ovens and Murray Hall of Famer to be elevated to legend status.
While Myrtleford netballer Anndrea Crisp Sullivan will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Crisp Sullivan won four premierships in almost 400 games for the Saints.
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