A MONTH of season-defining matches for Echuca’s senior football side begins tomorrow when last year’s grand finalist Shepparton arrives at Vic Park.
Echuca sits fifth on the Goulburn Valley League ladder and sits one spot above the sixth-placed Bears on percentage only.
Following the Bears, the Murray Bombers face Rochester (eighth), Mansfield (seventh) and Tatura (third) in consecutive weeks.
Win all four and Echuca would be assured of playing finals for the first time in seven years.
Even though it is a big month ahead, there is a lot going on this week alone.
Blue Ribbon Round and the live stream add to the spectacle of what is happening tomorrow at Victoria Park.
But it’s all just background noise to the Echuca Murray Bombers.
They’ve got a game of football to win.
The Bears are not quite in the form they were last year.
Last year they lost just four games en route to finishing in second spot.
This year they’ve lost three of their first eight and currently sit sixth.
But this does not mean the Murray Bombers will be taking the Bears lightly.
Echuca co-coach Simon Maddox knows what Shepparton can do.
‘‘They’ve been a dominant side the past few seasons,’’ he said.
‘‘They looked the goods in the past season and we as a club know that they’re still a great side.’’
The Murray Bombers are coming off two solid wins — both by more than 100 points.
But Echuca knows it can get better, both in terms of skill and personnel with Andrew Walker and Simon Buckley among a host of stars missing from last week’s win over bottom side Shepparton Swans.
‘‘Walks (Walker) will come straight back into the side,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘We will also get back Shaun Gannon, Tim Allan if he gets through a fitness test, as well as Noah Wheeler and Jack Mchale from the Pioneers.
‘‘We are hoping to get Bucks back as well, but that said if he’s not 100 per cent he won’t play. We don’t want him tearing his hammy and missing six weeks. If he’s playing, we are fully confident.’’
There is also the possibility the Murray Bombers will unveil star recruit Ben McGlynn although Maddox remains non-committed as to whether the former AFL player will make his debut for Echuca tomorrow.
‘‘We will gain Ben against Rochester,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘There is a chance he might play (against Shepparton), but that will be according to his AFL schedule. If he isn’t named, he’s not playing, but he will definitely play next week.’’
The importance of this next month is not lost at Vic Park.
‘‘We’ve really highlighted this period as huge for our season,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘We know what it will do for our year. If we can come away with strong results in this time, it will set us up really well for finals.’’
■ CAN’T make it to the game?
You don’t have to miss out on this blockbuster clash.
The Riverine Herald will be live streaming the match on it’s website.
The stream, which will feature commentary from Foxy and JR, is available on all your favourite streaming devices.
The stream kicks off with the pre-match at 2pm, with the opening bounce at 2.20pm.