COMPETITION leaders Laidley expect their first thorough examination of the season against Northsiders today.
The premiers host the Blue Dogs at Jensen Oval in a game that has been reduced to a one-dayer following last weekend's rain.
"It's always disappointing when it rains," Laidley captain Chris Wilson said.
"But it's one of those things that can't be helped. We've had a good start to the season but we probably haven't played the teams that are well fancied."
That is until now, with Northsiders likely to provide a stern test on their home ground and a point to prove themselves.
"They're probably a better side than where they're sitting on the ladder." Wilson said.
"I see them as one of the teams to beat. They've got a few new faces with Milney (Paul Milne) and Glenn Lauchlan from Taipans.
"And having Fordy (Brendan Forwood) back is a massive plus for them."
Wilson knows his team will be challenged but is confident the Blue Dogs can improve on their impressive early performances, which have them streets ahead of nearest rivals Central Districts.
"From the batting side of things, we haven't had the chance to bat first and make a score," Wilson said. "The guys in the middle order haven't had a good chance to bat.
"Playing a one-day game, it might be the same again."
But Laidley won't be mixing things for the shorter form of the game.
"We don't vary our game too much," the captain said.
"We try and keep wickets in the shed for the last 15 overs."
While the form of some of his batters is uncertain, Wilson has no doubt about his bowlers.
"We're very happy with the bowling," he said.
"Losing Jarrod (Bichel) to Ipswich Logan was a blow but with Ben Gibson back fit, we haven't lost as much as we might have."
The spin bowling of Byron Cubit has also been a revelation.
Helping the Premier grade team's cause has been the form of the Blue Dogs' reserves.
"They're on top of the ladder which is a little bit surprising, but good," Wilson said.
It is reminiscent of the Laidley teams of a few years ago but Wilson thinks it is premature to make such comparisons yet.
"At this stage it is just another round game," he said. "But if we get the right result, we can have a good buffer on the rest. It might be only early in the season but points in the bank are priceless."
- Laidley 64.22
- Centrals 30.49
- Brothers 25.55
- Northsiders 20.89
- Taipans 19.30
- Swifts 17.03
- Alberton 6.74