IF ladder position is anything to go by, this round’s TAC Cup action is not likely to cause too many upsets.
But, like so many times before, these teams can produce surprise results and take home four points that did not look likely before the match.
In the opening match of the round, Dandenong Stingrays take on Northern Knights.
This match certainly looks like a ‘put the glasses down, game over’ type result in favour of the home side.
Northern has played patches of good footy, but the Stingrays are unbeaten and when challenged, have come up with all the aces.
It is hard to see them getting beaten on their home deck by a side that has only beaten Tasmania this year.
Geelong Falcons host Western Jets down the highway in Werribee for the second consecutive week at the venue.
If the Jets from round one can turn up, they are half a chance, but if the Falcons bring their A game, it will be very hard to stop them.
TAC Cup fans will find some salvation in the North Ballarat Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers clash.
Many like myself feel the Rebels have been underperforming to this point, and against an understrength Oakleigh Chargers, could be the side to cause an upset.
I had the Rebels in that top six group at the start of the season, and with talented players across the field, I’m backing them to knock off the Chargers in this one.
Bendigo Pioneers host Eastern Ranges in Kyabram at the same time, and without vice-captain Kobe Mutch, it will prove a huge task for the Pioneers.
The Ranges lost to Geelong last week and will be looking to bounce back with a win.
Unless the Eastern bus gets lost on the way to the match, it’s hard to see them not coming home with the four points.
That being said, stranger things have happened and there are a few players in the Pioneers squad that have impressed this season.
Closer to Melbourne, Calder Cannons host the Murray Bushrangers.
There’s no denying that aside from a nine-goal Karl Brown haul last week, the Cannons have not been the Cannons we’re used to.
The Bushrangers have looked so strong this season and only a draw with the Dragons has week has stopped them going toe-to-toe with the Stingrays on top of the ladder.
This might be a bit of a danger game for the Bushies, because they have lost a number of kids who will take the field for NSW/ACT.
If the Cannons could use any match to spring back-to-back victories, this is the one and there’s no better time to knock off a top opponent than when they’re understrength.
In the final match of the round, Gippsland Power will host the Sandringham Dragons.
The Power have become known as a side that always keeps fighting, but this year it’s been like their fighting a massive uphill battle.
Outside of Ben Ainsworth, the side lacks polish and Ainsworth won’t be there due to his four-game suspension.
Sandringham aren’t full strength despite the return of Hamish Brayshaw from injury and the Brighton Grammar side having a bye, but they wouldn’t need to be based on the performances of the Power this season.
For the sake of the fans at all the games, it is hoped that the lower sides can take it up to the top teams and mix up the ladder a little.
Peter Williams’ tips:
Lock em’ in selection: Dandenong Stingrays
Question marks selection: Calder Cannons
Game to watch: North Ballarat Rebels vs Oakleigh Chargers