Modewarre vs. Newcomb @ Community Bank Oval, Saturday 2:10pm
Modewarre has a gilt-edged opportunity to bounce back from its Good Friday loss to the reigning premier when it hosts Newcomb. The Warriors will welcome back BFL Team of the Year member Daniel Sturzaker from suspension, while fellow defender Scott Driscoll is also available after serving his ban from an incident in last year’s semi-final loss to Barwon Heads. Geelong premiership player Nathan Ablett is also in the mix to take on the Power. For the second consecutive years, Newcomb was on the end of a hiding from Barwon Heads to open the season. The Power managed just three goals in suffering a 150-point loss. Coach Rory Nicol will be hoping for an improved effort against Modewarre.
Last meeting: Round 14, 2017: Modewarre 27.22 (184) def. Newcomb 9.5 (59) @ Community Bank Oval
Prediction: Modewarre by 72 points
Drysdale vs. Anglesea @ Mortimer Oval, Saturday 2:10pm
After causing a minor upset in beating Queenscliff by 47 points to open season 2018, Drysdale will face a sterner challenge when it hosts Anglesea. Despite having eight new faces in their line-up, the Hawks took no time to find some chemistry, something that will be crucial against a star-studded Roos side. Anglesea pushed Geelong Amateur to eight points, but fell just short of its first win over Ammos since Round 1, 2011. The forward combination of Dale Carson and Jordan Erskine kicked six goals between them, and limiting their influence is something Drysdale coach Wade Chapman will be keen to do on Saturday. Expect talented youngster Kyle Davis to be given a job on one of the Roos’ spearheads.
Last meeting: Round 10, 2017: Anglesea 15.13 (103) def. Drysdale 13.6 (84) @ Alcoa Oval
Prediction: Anglesea by 21 points
Portarlington vs. Barwon Heads @ Ron Evans Oval, Saturday 2:10pm
For the second time in two seasons, Portarlington has struggled to score in its opening round clash with Ocean Grove. After an early goal to Michael McNeill, the Demons could manage just one more major for the remainder of their 83-point loss to the Grubbers. Making matters worse were injuries to recruits Luke Williams, Nyaburu Kelly and Tom Kelly, as well as Nick O’Neill. It was a contrasting scenario for Barwon Heads, who kicked 25 goals in having 52 scoring shots in a 150-point dismantling of Newcomb. Ballarat league recruit Mitch Phelps wasted no time announcing himself to the competition, kicking 11 goals. With the battle for spots inside the top five expected to intensify as the season continues, the Seagulls will see this as a chance to further boost their percentage.
Last meeting: Round 17, 2017: Barwon Heads 27.29 (191) def. Portarlington 6.5 (41) @ Ron Evans Oval
Prediction: Barwon Heads by 61 points
Geelong Amateur vs. Ocean Grove @ Queen’s Park, Saturday 2:10pm
The only meeting of teams that won in the opening round, as modern-day rivals Geelong Amateur and Ocean Grove clash at Queen’s Park. The two meetings were split in 2017, with Ammos getting home on that now infamous afternoon early last season when the heaven’s opened on Geelong and forced a number of games to be delayed. In the return meeting, the Grubbers did enough to come away with a 14-point win. Amateur’s recruits, including former GFL stars Daniel Lovick, Brad Surkitt and Adam Donohue, wasted no time settling in, helping their side to an eight-point win over Anglesea. Ocean Grove made light work of Portarlington in former skipper Kelly Williams’ 150th game, even without captain James Linton and star recruit Luke Cartelli. Linton will again be missing through suspension, but Cartelli is expected to play after missing Round 1 while on his honeymoon.
Last meeting: Round 9, 2017: Ocean Grove 14.7 (91) def. Geelong Amateur 11.11 (77) @ Ray Menzies Oval
Prediction: Geelong Amateur by 16 points
Queenscliff vs. Torquay @ Queenscliff Recreation Reserve, Saturday 2:10pm
Torquay suffered just two home-and-away losses on its way to winning last year’s BFL premiership. One of those was against Saturday’s opponent Queenscliff, when the Coutas sprung one of the upsets of the season with an eight-point victory at Spring Creek Reserve. The return meeting was also tight. The Tigers got home by 18 points, but if not for inaccuracy (7.14) Queenscliff may have kept its 2017 season alive going into the final round. The Coutas have injury issues out of their loss to Drysdale, with a knee problem set to sideline veteran big Nik Orvis. That means youngster Michael Randone is likely to have the task of limiting the influence of Torquay recruit Jake Reeves, who had an absorbing battle in the ruck with Modewarre co-coach John Meesen as the Tigers overcame the Warriors by nine points on Good Friday.
Last meeting: Round 17, 2017: Torquay 11.8 (74) def. Queenscliff 7.14 (56) @ Queenscliff Recreation Reserve
Prediction: Torquay by 42 points
Tom King is the editor of krockfootball.com.au. Visit the website for more regional football coverage.