The round begins at KGV as Hobart Zebras host a Devonport side trying to revive their suddenly stuttering campaign, having dropped points in their past two games to fall four points behind South Hobart at the top of the table.
But if Devonport are stuttering then the Zebras have stagnated, and the trip South doesn’t appear quite as daunting as it once might have. After taking 13 points from their opening 5 games of the season, Zebras have now taken just 10 from their past 10 games. Yet in spite of their poor run of results, they still boast the best defence in the league, conceding a league low 12 goals.
This isn’t overly surprising given the injuries have hit them at the other end of the park, and their strong back 5 of Mercuri, Hey, Groenewold, Lewis and Warrener have all played the majority of the games. Their problem has been scoring goals, hitting multiple goals in a match just once in their past six outings.
With Sanders having to drop deeper into midfield and the likes of Walsh and Mckeown missing games they simply haven’t had the firepower up top. Against a strong Devonport defence this week with Reynolds looming as a good match up for Huigsloot, it’s hard to see them scoring too many goals this week either. But can Devonport crack the tough Zebras defence?
They couldn’t find a way through Launceston City last week, although they will certainly enjoy the KGV surface which suits their passing game a lot more.
Have the last two weeks revealed the Strikers to be a young side that has punched above their weight and gone as far they can in the title race? Or is it just a temporary set back? Given their form over the past 18 months, write them off at your own peril! We will find out on Saturday afternoon though as the Strikers begin a crucial month that has them playing the rest of the top four.
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