Make or break round for TAC Cup

 Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

ROUND 12 in the TAC Cup provides a number of must-win clashes that could make or break seasons.

In the first game of the round, Eastern Ranges host the Dandenong Stingrays in what could have ramifications for both sides.

For the Ranges, a loss could see them sensationally drop out of the top eight after being considered a premiership contender at the start of the season.

The Stingrays went down to Calder last week and will desperately want to regain form, but remain understrength for the clash.

Eastern is likely to go in favourites with Josh Begley and Tom Jacotine among the ones to watch for the Ranges.

In the next game of the round, it is hard to see the Murray Bushrangers having any problems against the Northern Knights.

The Knights are coming off a good performance against the Pioneers, with the Bushrangers in form despite missing key players, they should easily see off the metro side.

Trent McMullan and Lachlan Tiziani booted nine goals between them last week and will look to impact again, while Harry Morrison returns from a back injury.

For the Knights, Mason Blakey is their top prospect, while Carlton father/son Jake Bradley is a player Blues fans might keep an eye on.

Both Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers played impressive matches last week, but the Chargers fell short of victory, while the Power got home for their second win of the season.

With no school football on this week, the Chargers welcome back a near-full strength squad with the exception of Vic Metro players, including Jack Higgins.

Higgins looks a likely first round draft pick next year, while Toby Wooller is another one to keep in the memory bank for 2017.

Another bottom-ager Tyrone Hayes is one Power player fans should keep an eye-on after some eye-catching performances for Vic Country.

Down in Werribee, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in a top four clash.

With the Dragons understrength given their top prospects played with Vic Metro on Wednesday, Geelong is expected to extend its lead at the top of the table.

Brett Blair is an over-ager that continues to kick goals – figuratively and literally – while for the Dragons, Goy Lok is an over-ager to watch.

Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons make the trip to Swan Hill in what will be a close game.

A Pioneers loss will all but rule them out of finals, while handing Calder an almost guaranteed top eight spot.

If the Pioneers get up, the finals race is well and truly opened.

Kayle Kirby (Bendigo) and Karl Brown (Calder) are big goal kickers on their day and will be looking to put in good performances to continue to stake their claim this year.

In the final match of the round, North Ballarat Rebels will take on the Western Jets at Stawell.

A few weeks ago this looked like a no brainer with the Rebels getting up, but it appears to be closer than first thought given the Rebels remain understrength.

Back-to-back losses at home have the Rebels treading lightly in fifth and they will want to gain some vital breathing space on the pack below, while keeping in the hunt for top four.

The Jets need to win to remain in the finals hunt, with Oliver Junker (Western) and Cedric Cox (North Ballarat) among the ones to watch.

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