With the local Football Federation Victoria men’s state league clubs coming off a break, sports reporter Lance Jenkinson assesses how they have fared so far and what they can aspire to achieve in the final eight rounds of the season.
State league 2, second, 33 points
Hoppers Crossing is striving to be a part of the top tier in the state leagues and is poised to make a run at promotion.
The Reds are just two points back from leader Altona City. The two clubs have been playing musical chairs in the top two all season.
The highlight so far for Hoppers Crossing was its 7-1 mauling of Moreland United on opening day, a win that set the tone for a fantastic first half of the season.
The Reds are big scorers, averaging 2.85 goals a game.
They have five players with five goals or more – Kwaku Dade (eight), Fab Albuquerque (seven), Daniel Sweeney, Liam McDermott and Taira Matsumoto (five each).
If Hoppers Crossing wants to win the title, it will need to fix lapses at the back.
Generally, the Reds are good defensively, but their off days are alarming. Three times they have conceded three goals in a game, which is a real concern when Altona City has conceded only eight for the season.
Hoppers Crossing will host Diamond Valley United at Grange Reserve on Saturday, but the title could be won or lost three weeks later when they welcome Altona City.
State league 4, second, 28 points
Point Cook was one of the promotion favourites in 2016, so it gnawed away at coach Craig Filer during the summer that it had failed that mission.
The Jets get their chance for redemption this season and are well placed to strike, sitting in second, two points back from table-topping Sebastopol Vikings with eight rounds to go.
Point Cook is four points better off than at the same time last season, which has been sufficient in a season in which none of the leading clubs have streaked clear.
With only three points separating the top three and a further three clubs still close enough to strike, there is still plenty of work for the Jets to do.
Point Cook’s best win came at the start of May when it put eight goals past Newmarket Phoenix.
The Jets have had no problems finding the back of the net, averaging 2.57 goals a game.
Zac Osborne is the leading scorer with six, but their best asset is their unpredictable strike force.
Point Cook will need to return from the break switched on for a derby against Truganina Hornets this Saturday.
State league 4, 10th, 12 points
First things first – Truganina needs to shore up its safety in the division.
The Hornets are skating far too close to the relegation zone for comfort – they’re just two points above second-last Newmarket Phoenix.
The next task for Truganina is to realise its potential.
How can you beat top side Sebastopol Vikings 1-0 and fourth-placed North Melbourne Athletic 2-0 – then serve up a three-goal defeat to lowly Newmarket?
Hornets coach Sergio Lunedei insists his team is better than a third-last outfit, but it’s time for his players to start showing it on a consistent basis.
If Truganina can produce its best in the derby against Point Cook on Saturday, an upset is quite possible.