GVL Data | Mooroopna welcomes Tigers to Cattery for crucial eight-point game
When you look at the 2022 seasons of Mooroopna and Rochester, the similarities are incredible.
Beginning with somewhat favourable draws, both sides capitalised, shooting out of the blocks to occupy the top rungs of the GVL ladder in the early stages of the season.
But once the likes of Echuca, Euroa and Mansfield began to approach on the fixture, both teams began to falter, with the past six weeks seeing them drop crucial games and their spots in the top six become vulnerable.
Now with just one win separating the teams — and Mooroopna sitting in third spot and Rochester in sixth — they will finally meet this weekend at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.
And the stakes are high, with a win having the potential to sew up a finals birth, and a loss leaving them on the outside looking in.
So through the power of GVL Data, let’s delve a little deeper into what might decide this pivotal round 12 clash.
Both Mooroopna and Rochester have built their success in 2022 through the midfield, sitting third and fourth overall respectively in total clearances this season.
Cats and Tigers
Mooroopna: 35.4 per game
Rochester: 34.3 per game
Mooroopna: 318.5 per game
Rochester: 313.5 per game
Averaging 34.3 a game, Rochester’s dominance around the stoppage has largely come off the back of Chris Jansen, who sits third in the competition for clearances with an average of eight per contest.
Tigers coach Steven Stroobants said the midfield battle would be a decisive factor in this match.
“It will be another big battle in there and we are certainly up for it,” Stroobants said.
“We’ve got a pretty good midfield running around so if we can get our hands on it first and play the game in our half it will certainly go a long way to us winning the game.”
Mooroopna on the other hand goes about things a little bit differently through the middle.
Although averaging more clearances per game in 35.4, the Cats don’t have a player in the league’s top 20 for the category, with Liam Betson leading the way with 4.5 per game.
A similar story can be seen through the team’s disposal counts, with Mooroopna averaging 318.5 per game compared to Rochester’s 313.5 per game.
But the Tigers have both Jordan Harper and Jansen in the league’s top 15 disposal winners, while Jack Hunt leads the charge for Mooroopna down in 18th.
This shows the Cats have much more of an even spread of ball winners, which is something coach John Lamont said he had been keen to implement.
“We have put younger guys through the midfield to try and give them exposure and experience because we want to develop some depth through there (midfield),” Lamont said.
“So it is a definite strategy that we share the load and get an even spread in our midfield.”
At a glance
Mooroopna’s even spread
Clearances per game
Liam Betson - 4.4
Keelin Betson - 4.3
Jack Hunt - 3.3
Jack Williams - 3.3
Disposals per game
Jack Hunt - 23.8
Ethan Hunt - 22.4
Dom Gugliotti - 19.1
Matt Deane - 17.8
Along with their ability to win the ball, the Cats and Tigers sport two of the league’s most potent attacks.
Behind GVL leading goal-kicker Chris Nield Mooroopna sits in equal fourth for total points scored this season with 894.
Rochester takes a spot on the podium in this category, placed behind just Echuca and Euroa with a grand total of 947 points.
So every way you slice it, these two teams are about as evenly matched as you are likely to see.
With Rochester set to welcome back Jacob Atley, Mick O’Connor and Hugh Hamilton to the line-up and Mooroopna skipper Matt Deane set to return, the stage is set for an absolute thriller at the Cattery.