South Hobart host Tilford Zebras to headline a big round two of the Victory League.
In a blockbuster round of fixtures, two teams that were touted for big things this season meet off the back of good Round 1 outings.
South Hobart and the Zebras matchup will see a Master versus Apprentice battle as South Hobart Manager Ken Morton’s former right hand man Jed Donoghue, faces him as Tilford Zebras Coach for the first time in the Victory League season, since crossing to the Zebras.
In the Summer Cup, the pair met and Tilford Zebras shocked South Hobart, knocking them out of the competition with South Hobart suffering a rare loss to go down 4-2.
South Hobart made a first round statement, blowing away Glenorchy Knights 8-1 with the forward partnership of Brayden Mann and Andy Brennan slotting hattricks to tear apart the Knights.
Despite the bright start South Hobart come into their Round 2 match with some worries, with some serious injury clouds over several key players.
Talented young goalkeeper Kane Pierce is awaiting the results of an MRI scan to determine the extent of a knee injury sustained in training mid-week and is in serious doubt for the clash.
Defender Matt Lewis and midfielder Caleb Ludlow are touch and go and will undergo fitness tests to determine their availability.
Ludlow and Pierce are pivotal players for South Hobart and their absence could have a major impact on the result of the clash.
Pierce’s injury if serious, would be a cause for concern for Morton and would see experienced gloveman Mark Moncur given first team duties between the sticks.
Tilford Zebras fought out an arm wrestle up against Devonport last week, grinding out a 2-0 win. Joel Stone scored on debut in his new colours after crossing from Devonport in the off-season, Stone impressed with attacking flair, adding to an already potent attack that boasts the dangerous pair of Alex Leszczynski and Adam McKeown. Leszczynski tore apart South Hobart in their last meeting and will be important when they meet again in Round 2.
Tilford Zebras will likely be without midfielder Marcello Marchioli through injury and reserve goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford but have keeper Rob Kay returning to the Victory League squad in his absence.
The 2014 Victory League title favouritism has been split between South Hobart and Tilford Zebras in the lead up to the season and will inevitably be influenced by the result of this massive fixture.In the other matches this round, Launceston City face a good prospect of claiming their first Victory League win, up against Kingborough Lions at Lightwood Park. The Lions were thumped last week by Olympia and will be looking to open their account at home but Launceston City will be far from easy-beats, the northerners showed last week that they have improved from their dismal 2013 season.
An injury rattled Knights without keeper Sam Kruijver and central defender Tyler Harrison travel north to the NTCA to take on Northern Rangers. Rangers will come in confident off the back of a 4-1 northern derby win so the Knights may face an uphill battle.
To close out Round 2, Devonport Strikers host Olympia, Olympia have added sharp english midfielder Alex Ralph to their squad and will be looking to turn around their form on the road.
Devonport made Valley Road a fortress in 2013 and will be looking to make a tough trip again in 2014 so the clash shapes up as a beauty.