It’s a sporting event that has taken many names.

The Battle of the Barton Highway, the Yass Valley Derby or even now the Pipeline Showdown.

Call it what you like, but one of the Yass Valley’s biggest and growing sporting rivalries will come to a head this Saturday when the Murrumbateman Eagles take on the Yass Roos at Joe O’Connor Park.

    The Eagles’ Cameron Evans kicked 10 goals in two weeks to start the season

The Murrumbateman Eagles were formed in September of 2017 as a junior club.

Throughout 2018, an effort began to try to bring in an Eagles senior side.

By the start of 2019, the Eagles had entered a team in the Division Four competition.

The new club nearby was a sore point for the Roos, who were especially light on numbers at the time and struggling on field.

Those fronting the Eagles push felt the club was an important step for the developing town of Murrumbateman and sporting representation in the area.

Today, the Roos have more than recovered and, after their wooden-spoon finish to season 2019, resurged to a Grand Final finish in 2020. They now sit second on the ladder and go into the weekend with an almighty percentage of 345.

Fraser Cloney returns for his second game with the Roos after kicking seven in his debut

The Eagles have impressed in their first two and a half seasons of football after making finals in 2020, and although they’ve had a difficult month, they started the season strongly and appear set to be in finals contention yet again.

In four fixtures against one another, the ledger sits at 3-1 in favour of the Roos, with the epitomic clash coming in the Roos semi-final elimination of the Eagles last year.

Perhaps representative of the overall relationship between the two towns of Murrumbateman and Yass, the Eagles are a growing threat to the Roos hold of AFL in the Yass Valley.

With the match kicking off at 2:00pm, there will be an indigenous smoke ceremony pre-game to celebrate AFL Canberra’s Indigenous Round.

Paws or claws, whichever side of the Barton or the pipeline your home team resides, this is not a day to be missed.

Max O’Driscoll