Two undefeated teams meet in the game of the round in what should be an absolute cracker of a contest.
Devonport Strikers v Hobart JEEP Zebras, Valley Road, Saturday 9 April, 2:00PM
The home side has been flying this season, following up their impressive road victory over the Warriors with a clinical display against Launceston City last week. Zebras meanwhile have not had the chance to play against a fellow title rival just yet, but have comfortably dealt with what Rangers, Launceston and Clarence have thrown at them. This by far represents their sternest test to date in the league.
Having shown a rock solid defensive line up the first two weeks, last week’s 5-1 result was notable in that it saw Devonport’s attacking talent, notably striker Brayden Mann, exploding into life. It was the type of performance Mann has forged his reputation from and a dangerous sign to the rest of the league. He will certainly prove a tough match up for the Zebra’s back line, with his ability to quickly react and find a yard of space in the box, as well as his constant movement, making him a nightmare for defenders to mark.
Kingborough Lions v Northern Rangers, Lightwood Park, Saturday 9 April, 2:00PM
This is a battle between two sides who are reeling having each been beaten badly by competition heavyweights last week. This fixture offers a realistic chance for both sides to arrest their early slide and get their first points of the season, with both sides losing all three of their opening fixtures.
Both were played off the park last week, not seeing a whole lot of the ball, so they should be able to enjoy more possession and hopefully offer more of an attacking threat this week down at the Den. Kingborough have gone through a tumultuous period, with the 9-0 defeat to Olympia coming days after the resignation of coach Colin Robbins and they are all too aware that three points here are badly required to steady the ship. Mark Broadbent has been brought in as the interim coach for the next four weeks whilst the board search for a permanent appointment and he gets a chance to help put their season back on track with a winnable fixture against another side that have had all manner of problems this season.
Launceston City v South Hobart, Mitsubishi Park, Saturday 9 April, 4:30PM
Launceston City welcomes the league leaders South Hobart to Mitsubishi Park in what should be an interesting contest. Launceston were overwhelmed at Valley Road last week but in front of their home crowd they will be expected to make life difficult for South Hobart in what should prove a tough road trip for sides this season. South Hobart have not missed a beat so far in 2016, remaining perfect in both the league and Lakoseljac Cup.
The loss of Carlo Coppari who returns to Italy for the next month is a big blow, whilst Dom Rossi will miss again, this hurts what they can offer in an attacking sense. It means the likes of Isaac Degetto, Nathan Bartlett and Aaron Campbell will need to step up to cover the loss and try to provide a very settled back four of South Hobart with some questions. Dan Brown is available for selection again having missed the past two weeks with concussion but it might be tough to make any changes to what has been a rock solid back four of Feral, Ludford, Lewis and Quaile.
Clarence United v Olympia FC Warriors, Wentworth Park, Saturday 9 April, 4:30PM
With Clarence United returning to the top flight of Tasmanian Football, there is also a return of the Eastern Shore Derby. One of Tasmanian football’s fiercest rivalries, the hotly anticipated clash is set to play out in front of what is sure to be a fired up crowd at Wentworth Park.
It’s fair to say there is little love lost between the two clubs so both sides will be desperate for the win and the local bragging rights that come with it. Olympia will go in as heavy favourites, having bounced back into form with a convincing 9-0 victory over Kingborough with star imports Borbor Sam and Lawrence Shuruma both looking back to their best. Trailing the league leaders by six points already, there is no room for slip up’s and Clarence would dearly love to be able to help strike a blow against their fierce rivals title claims.
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