Ground: Coughlin Park, Horsham, Saturday, 2.20pm.
Last time they met: Round six, 2014. Horsham Saints 10.13 (73) d Minyip-Murtoa 10.12 (72).
HORSHAM Saints will look to bounce back from defeat when they host Minyip-Murtoa on Saturday.
The Saints had won six in a row before a nine-point loss to Warrack Eagles, while the Burras will go in full of confidence after three consecutive wins.
Just a solitary behind separated the sides earlier this year and with third place on the ladder up for grabs, both will be equally keen to snare the four points.
Saints coach Shayne Breuer said he was expecting an equally close contest.
“As we’ve found week-in, week-out with that top six, it’s all very close,” he said.
“One week you’re fighting for second and the next week you’re fighting to stay in the top three.”
Burras coach Scott Arnold agreed – but said it wasn’t the be all and end all.
“Obviously we could potentially swap positions if we win, but it’s more important at the end of the 16th round, not with three or four to go,” he said.
Arnold said Burras skipper Adam Gerdtz would be a definite inclusion, while Breuer said a number of Saints reserves were pushing for senior berths.
Breuer believes stopping the Burras tall forwards – including the likes of Clinton Midgley, Brayden Ison, Chris Delahunty and Kieran Delahunty – will be pivotal.
“We’re not the tallest team around, so how we go about negating them could play a big part,” he said.
The Saints forward line is more than dangerous also, built around 50-goal forward Gavin Kelm, with players such as Jacob Cooke-Harrison, Leslie Butler and George Walker all contributing.
“Our supply to our forwards wasn’t as good last week, but we’ve been getting a few different guys standing up and kicking goals and not relying on the same one or two,” Breuer said.
Arnold said matching it with a Saints midfield boasting players such as Nathan Clough and Pat Knott – and preventing their forward drive – could be game-defining.
“I think they’ve got the best midfield in the competition,” he said.
“It will be a massive challenge for us to compete with them.”
Consistent Burra John Delahunty could hold the key for the Burras in the middle, while in-and-under Gerdtz will be a major inclusion, particularly if the Coughlin Park surface remains heavy.
In-form ruckman Michael Rowe will be crucial for the Saints, competing against Burras duo Dan Smith and Kieran Delahunty.