Speed Field Days Mallee Football League Round 15 Preview
by Jim Gordon
JEPARIT RAINBOW V WOOMELANG LASCELLES
The last time these two sides met Woomelang Lascelles won by over ten goals. The margin may not be as big this time around, but the result should be the same as the Cats are coming off a very good upset win over Hopetoun and it has been quite a while since Jeparit Rainbow has won a game.
The Lakers coped an awful hiding against the Roos last week. The scoreboard blew out although they played some competitive football, Ashley Clugston was a good player for them and Sean Beysand was a fine contributor. Nevertheless, they have a long list of injuries and are reliant on a combination of youth and the usual Jeparit Rainbow experienced players. This may not be enough to overcome a high spirited Woomelang Lascelles outfit keen to finish off the season with a few more wins.
The Cats will be without Jason Smith who is injured, but Tony Mudge is a chance to return and that may be the extent of the changes to their lineup.
Jeparit Rainbow is a side that has had the wood over the Cats in recent years. They won their first encounter in the opening round of the season, but Woomelang Lascelles should win this time.
HOPETOUN V SEA LAKE NANDALY TIGERS
This week sees the Tigers back at Hopetoun where the 2012 season kicked off and where Hopetoun won by over ten goals. In fact the Devils have won both encounters against the Devils this year.
Nevertheless the Tigers are improving, they will have a strong team to take on second placed Hopetoun and if they win, the Tigers not only get the four points, they will replace the Devils in second position on the MFL ladder providing top of the table Walpeup Underbool defeat Beulah. That scenario is not as unlikely as it might sound.
Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers received good value from players that returned from injury for their solid win against Ouyen United last week. Vice Captain Liam Barry, midfielder Lance Brown and defender Jarrod Alderton all played well and strengthened the Tiger line up considerably.
Simon Cook will start on Sea Lake Nandaly Tiger goal kicking ace Jarrod Arentz and the on ball battle will be enthralling and could be where the match is determined with Luke Carr, Anthony Baker and a returning Deek Roberts up against the likes of Col Durie, Joel Lloyd, and Darcy Ryan.
Bryce Wellington is kicking bags of goals in recent weeks and will have to continue to do so to give the Devils a chance. Liam Price’s form continues to impress and he is another key to the game coming off the Devils’ half back line. Kain Robins and Ben Reid may be in doubt with leg injuries.
Hopetoun’s form is up and down, Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers have the momentum and could get that elusive second spot on the ladder with a win at Hopetoun. With Robins out, the Devils’ suddenly look a whole lot weaker.
BEULAH V WALPEUP UNDERBOOL
There is a lot riding on this match up between the top two teams on the MFL ladder. Beulah at home need a win to put themselves forward as a realistic premiership chance and Walpeup Underbool need to consolidate their top spot after a good win last week following two previous losses.
David King and Sam Martin will return for the Blues this week and will boost their backline and forward line respectively. Tom Hallam has been in terrific form through the midfield and Luke Spasic is finding some good touch in the backline. Steph Saunders continues to play good football in the ruck and across half forward and his clash with either Josh Charles or Matt Palmer could have a bearing on the final result.
Beulah are always tough to beat on their home ground and will look to make life hard for the Walpeup Underbool midfielders. The only way to do this will be to put lots of pressure on the Roos by tackling hard and harassing the opposition. If Walpeup Underbool have a weakness, they can be slow.
The Roos are hoping to have the majority of their injured players available in the next few weeks. Several will return this week. Ryan Anderson is available and his pace will be welcomed by the Roos wherever he lines up. Travis Latta is a chance to play his first game after a long lay off and his experience across half back will strengthen the Walpeup Underbool team.
A major positive from last weekend’s game for the Roos was the form of Josh Stone and David Piasente, both were impressive through the midfield and dangerous when they pushed forward.
This will be a tough game for the Roos as it is never an easy contest down at Beulah. Walpeup Underbool will need to stop the impact of the Beulah midfield and limit the chances for the likes of David King and Jarred Coombe in the forward line.
Beulah need to put on a good show to prove that they are genuine premiership contenders, but they may not have enough power or strength to match it with an ominous looking Roo line up.