Speed Field Days Mallee Football League Round 18 Preview
by Jim Gordon
HOPETOUN V JEPARIT RAINBOW
Whilst the Devils will be expected to win this match, you cannot under estimate the Lakers. Jeparit Rainbow would take great delight in taking the points at Hopetoun and relegating the Devils to the first semi final when a Hopetoun win would have them lining up for a top two finish.
Jeparit Rainbow will be a challenge for the Devils. The Lakers have found some reasonable form of late. Last week they took care of the Demons at home, something Hopetoun has not been able to do this season. Even though the Devils have easily accounted for Jeparit Rainbow twice this season, that fact does not mean as much at the pointy end of the season.
Jeparit Rainbow’s last few weeks have been quite good, even in games against the top teams they have been competitive for long periods of the game. The Lakers have played some good running football and have been able to kick goals despite their lack of a key forward. Their good play has usually been the result of their midfielders having delivered the ball precisely into their forward line.
Over the year there has been a lot of improvement in Jeparit Rainbow’s younger players. Tyler Edelsten, Nathan Cocks, Adam Schumann, Brett Jensz, Zac Webb, Rod McKenzie and Ash Cook have all stepped up to senior football and have been valuable players in the second half of the year.
Nevertheless, Jeparit Rainbow still rely on their top half dozen players to keep them competitive against the Devils. Ash Clugston, Justin Chilver, Sean Bayzand, Aaron Beer, Andrew Watson and Ben Marra have all been consistent performers and feature amongst their best in most games.
The biggest task that Jeparit Rainbow face will be for their defenders to control and contain the Hopetoun big forwards Kain Robins and Bryce Wellington. And as if that isn’t enough to worry about, Deek Roberts kicked eight gaols against them the last time these two sides played each other and Luke Milroy is also proving dangerous around the goals.
A week off with the bye should have helped Hopetoun as a few of their players have been sore and the club has been ravaged by the flu. Hopefully for the Devils, these players have recovered and will be raring to go. Coleman Schache returns from VFL duties and will be a big inclusion strengthening up their on ball brigade of Luke Carr, Anthony Baker and Roberts.
Ash Clugston is in great form for the Lakers and will have to be nullified to give the Devils their best chance of winning.
This is Jeparit Rainbow’s final game of the year. It has been a difficult year for the Lakers, especially in the middle weeks when they did not win for nine games. There has been a good spirit around the club all year, their recent form has been good and Brett Jensz may return this week after missing last week. However, Hopetoun should be too good at home, especially as they will be eyeing off second spot on the MFL ladder.
OUYEN UNITED V BEULAH
Saturday’s loss against the Tigers was a disappointing result for the Blues. A win would have had Beulah clear in second place, but the one point defeat has left them bitterly disappointed and back down to fourth place on the ladder. A few undisciplined actions by the Blues proved costly in the end.
Still, they have the chance to regroup when they face Ouyen United this week. In the recent past these two sides have put on some great games, both having success at different times.
The return of Brad Shannon and Lucas Smith will bolster the Beulah midfield, but they need to find other avenues to goal. Riley Lehmann needs to kick a bag to help out David King who has been doing it on his own lately.
The Blues need to lift. They have been leaving too much to too few. Tom Hallam and Dale Shannon continue to perform, but they need better games from their younger brigade.
Beulah need a four quarter performance and the whole team needs to contribute because Ouyen United boasts a strong midfield. John Jackson is at his scintillating best taking on the opposition, running, bouncing the ball and kicking it a mile into attack.
Jarrod Erlandson is strong and agile across half forward, Glenn Joyce is playing well, Ben Mole is capable of the spectacular and their backline never gives up. Adam O’Callaghan usually lines up on the dangerous David King who is a regular goal kicking contributor for Beulah.
The Blues need to find some good form over the next two weeks to give themselves a chance at second spot and to give them momentum heading into the finals. They might just get a helping hand at Blackburn Park as they look too strong for the Demons.
SEA LAKE NANDALY TIGERS V WALPEUP UNDERBOOL
Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers take on ladder leaders Walpeup Underbool at the Sea Lake ground in what should be a great battle. The Tigers are sitting in second spot and would love a win over the flag favourites who are slowly getting together most of their players who have been sidelined recently with injuries.
The Tigers should be in the mood to play and help celebrate assistant coach Joey Summerhayes’ 150th Senior Game for the club. Joey has had an excellent career including coaching the team to the 2009 premiership. He is respected by both his team mates and opponents and his side will be hoping that this milestone is celebrated with a victory.
Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers may be bolstered this week with the return of Jarrod and Scott Alderton. This week should also see the Roos regain a number of players.
Matt Palmer and Chris Lynch will return after missing last week’s game against Woomelang Lascelles. Luke Nathan and Josh Stone are also strong chances to return and should boost the Walpeup Underbool midfield. Travis Latta will be another handy player to return for the Roos. Latta’s versatility in being able to play forward or back make him a tough player to match up.
The battle of the midfield will be just one of the many enthralling contests to watch with both teams having genuine ball winners. The Roos will have to keep a close eye on the ever reliable Col Durie as he always gathers plenty of possessions using his experience to lead from the front. Stephen Lyons has also performed well against the Roos in both games earlier in the season across half back and is likely to match up on Wade Champion which should be a top battle.
For Walpeup Underbool, Sam McDonald, David Piasente and Chris Chubb are all in fine form and with Ryan Anderson best on ground last week, this is a formidable Roo line up and they should be too strong for the Tigers.