The Border Mail has taken a look into each Hume league club's progress after 11 rounds. While Osborne is the stand-out, the top six is far from set, Today, Osborne, Rand-Walbundrie-Walla, CDHBU, Henty, Culcairn, Jindera and Howlong go under the microscope with the remaining clubs featuring in Saturday's part two.
State of play: 1st, 11-0 (378.49%)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 1st
Season so far: It would be a major surprise if Osborne didn't emulate its performance under Michael Buchanan in 2005 and go through the season undefeated. The Tigers have cruised through the opening 11 rounds with a 44-point win over Lockhart in round seven being their closest match. Joel Mackie's side hit the ground running after playing in the AFL Riverina Championship last season and it would take a spate of injuries or severe case of the yips for it to fall short of premiership glory.
Best and fairest favourite:: Connor Galvin
Find of the season: Clancy Galvin has been destructive forward or back.
What lies ahead: It's hard to fathom, but Osborne could improve in the run home with Mackie and captain Duncan McMaster playing only three and two matches respectively.
Final word: Coronavirus could be the only thing capable of stopping the all-conquering Tigers.
Rating: A plus
State of play: 3rd, 8-3 (111.47%)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 4th
Season so far: Since being thrashed in two of their opening four matches, the Giants have gradually lifted their game to lead the chasing pack behind Holbrook. Coach Lucas Mellier has a strong defence and hard-working midfield with the side benefitting from fielding a more settled line-up in recent weeks. Brian Lieschke has manfully filled the ruck while the Duck cousins are enjoying good seasons.
Best and fairest favourites: Luke Gerecke, Brian Lieschke
FInd of the season: The energetic Matt Robertson has found his niche picking up the opposition's small forwards after starting the season in the midfield.
What lies ahead: Smooth-mover Dan Lieschke has only managed three matches but made a successful return against Lockhart last weekend and provides genuine X-factor.
FInal word: Like a handful of sides, the Giants will learn plenty about themselves over the next month when the top teams play each other.
State of play: 5th, 7-4 (85.31%)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 8th
Season so far: Cashed in on a good early draw by winning their opening five matches of the season to set themselves up for a tilt at finals. While they have come back to the field, the Power remain in the hunt with another four wins required with a poor percentage. John Pratt, Nathan Rhodes and Corey Smith have been rock solid and will need to hold their good form deep into the home and away series as depth may be a problem.
Best and fairest favourites: John Pratt, Cal Butler
FInd of the season: Josh Holding
What lies ahead: Next weekend's clash against Lockhart doesn't get any bigger.
FInal word: Is the Power one win away from locking in their first finals appearance since Damian Payne's side made it in 2016?
State of play: 6th, 6-5 (106.78%)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 9th
Season so far: The Swampies would be absolutely delighted to be sitting sixth on the ladder with seven rounds remaining. Although they have been sorted out by the top teams in recent weeks, they have a dream run home and should finish with at least 10 wins. Seem to be thriving without big-name recruits with Dylan Hore, Jared Farwell, Sam Scott and Shannon Terlich picking up the slack.
Best and fairest favourites: Dylan Hore, Jared Farwell
FInd of the season: Sam Scott
What lies ahead: Round 13 and 15 clashes against CDHBU and Culcairn will be critical.
FInal word: Seamus Quinn and Jack McCallum are gone for the season with ACL injuries while Daniel Hore-Smith (back) Josh Spencer (knee) and Jimmy Ellis (knee) face at least another month on the sidelines. There is a good vibe at the club but will injuries take their toll?
State of play: 8th, 4-7 (68.03)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 6th
Season so far: After a mass exodus following 2019, the Lions were always going to need luck and they haven't had it. Dane Hallinan moved away on the eve of the season and has managed only five games while Adam Prior, Luke Bokic and Ben Gould have also missed vital games. Narrow losses to Henty and Rand-Walbundrie-Walla have hurt in a tight season.
Best and fairest favourites: Nick Wright, Xavier Cannizzaro
FInd of the season: Jack Chesser
What lies ahead: Have winnable matches ahead and, if James Pitson and Jack Chesser can continue firing, Craig Bosley's side could finish with seven or eight wins.
FInal word: Be wary of the Lions in the run home if they are near full strength
State of play: 9th, 3-8 (50.98)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 11th
Season so far: Credit where credit is due. The Bulldogs have been brave in posting three wins with an incredible 31 players being unavailable earlier in the season. Coach Andrew Wilson also had to wait until round eight to finish a match with a full bench. Michael Galvin has straightened the side up in attack in recent weeks.
Best and fairest favourite: Mitch Lawrence is likely to collect his third.
FInd of the season: While he's no stranger at The Kennel, Daniel Middleton has made every post a winner in his return to the club.
What lies ahead: Jindera's thirds are undefeated so the future looks bright.
FInal word: Tom Weldon hasn't played since May 1 due to injury and let's hope we see him back.
State of play: 10th, 2-9 (84.84)
Border Mail pre-season prediction: 5th
Season so far: It started badly when recruit Jesse Johnston injured his shoulder in a car accident before the opening round and has gone from bad to worse. It's hard to believe the Spiders have won only two games given their top-end talent. While several key players including coach David Miles have been cruelled by injury, Howlong has been the disappointment of 2021.
Best and fairest favourite: Matt McDonald
FInd of the season: David Goodwin
What lies ahead: With a tough draw looming, the Spiders need to dig in and find some positives to help them recruit some youth.
FInal word: Can Matt McDonald win another best and fairest?
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