Bungaree still on top of the ladder
Creswick appeared to be the only team outside the top eight in the Central Highlands FL who appeared to have a chance of upsetting the order before the finals, but they needed to overcome Beaufort last week to keep that hope alive.
That wasn’t to be with the Wickers falling short by 34 points. The most disappointing fact for Creswick though was that they were not able capitalise on a strong first half. Just three points clear at the main break Beaufort took the game into the complete control and kept Creswick goal less in the second half. After three defeats in a row Beaufort needing to take action at half time because they could have let their season wither away and lead by Zac Marrow, Steven Lodge and Lachlan Pfeifer in particular they took up the mantle and made sure that the Crows secured a comfortable break over Creswick.
Now Beaufort has a chance to secure that finals spot and take any of the chasing pack out of the equation when they take on Bungaree this week. Beaufort and Bungaree is just one of at least eight matches this coming week which will attract plenty of interest across the league. Bungaree retained their top spot on the ladder courtesy an easy 74 point win over Dunnstown.
This victory was lead by strong efforts by veterans Shaun Finlayson ad Chris O’Keefe.
Both of these will be key targets for Beaufort this week. O’Keefe’s speed will make him difficult for Beaufort to match up on whether in the mid-field or as a permanent forward.
Meanwhile Finlayson will be major task for Beaufort’s tall defenders either Michael Foster or Jarrod Trigg. The problem for the Crows is that Finlayson will often fill a role which takes him away from the ball but creates opportunities for the midsized forwards such as Luke Mirtschin.
After a superb start to the season in front of goal Mirtschin has been quietened by injuries since the inter-league but four goals this week suggests that he is back fully fit and ready to create further headaches for defenders across the league.
As well as Beaufort needing to win to attempt to move back up the eight, Bungaree cannot afford to drop this match as Waubra, Springbank and Buninyong wait to move to the top of the ladder. Buninyong is in the best form they have shown for a couple of years.
On Saturday they completed a tough three week cycle against other top eight sides with its third win through comfortably defeating Hepburn by 25 points.
Sam Turner has been one of the top few players in the league for a number of years and his form at present is equal to his best. His leadership along with the Bombers other class midfield leaders of Ned Gilbert and Jarrod Morgan will be giving supporters a lot of hope of September success. Last week’s victory over Hepburn has moved them into the top four for the first time in many weeks and they could move into second if other results go their way this week.
They biggest risk for Buninyong this week is to sit back and relax after their tough run and take Creswick easy.
After such a disappointing second half against Beaufort the Wickers may have the incentive to atone from this effort and try to push to within reach of the eight again. The third match this week which is a fascinating clash is second placed Waubra at home to the inform third placed Springbank. Just half a match separates the Kangaroos and Tigers and the result of this match has the potential to have a significant effect on the positions in the eight.
A Waubra win could see the eighth Hepburn or Gordon move back into the top four and Springbank fall back to fifth.
If Springbank add another win to their tally they will move to second.
Springbank were not troubled by Skipton last week overcoming Skipton by 106 points, lead mainly by Bill Driscoll who was on fire in front of goal finishing with five. Hugh Millikan followed his lead and also finished with five goals. Matt Tyler is having a better season this year and his run off the back line is creating added headaches for opposition coaches.
Along with Michael Searl at centre half back Springbank have an awesome half back line which is going to be difficult to penetrate over the rest of the season.
Skipton will be hoping to bounce back this week when they host Newlyn who were no match for Gordon last week. Newlyn with five wins look more likely to be the winner but Skipton over the past two seasons has shown the ability to cause an upset at home. Tyrone Ross and Daniel Wehrung should have good battle as the premier onballers for each team but Newlyn should be able to find more goals in a tight tussle. Hepburn has to regroup after falling short against Buninyong but it will be a tough task as they face a rejuvenated Gordon.
The Eagles had a couple of poor losing games to Springbank and Buninyong but they found their scoring momentum against Newlyn. A six goal final quarter will give them plenty of confidence as they travel to Hepburn who will be just as keen to get back into winning form. Hepburn’s midfield of the Ferraro and McKay brothers, were not able to have the same impact against Buninyong as in recent weeks, this could have been in part due to full forward Lee Cox not being present to capitalise on attacking moves.
On the small Hepburn ground strength around the contested ball is the key for success and both Gordon and Hepburn have plenty who bring these skills to the game. Steve Patterson, Harley Hunter and Tye Murphy will be matched up often against Ricky Ferraro, Jason Ferraro, Brad Stringer and Joe Malone making it a great clash between two strong teams. Learmonth is finding some better form with some of a debilitating list of injuries returning to the team. This helped them to brush Carngham Linton aside in the first half last week. Brenton Powell was able to get the ball whenever he wished and his intelligent use of the ball set up a number of goals. The frustration for Carngham Linton though is that they were able to outscore the Lakies in the second half. However they were brushed aside far too easily in the first half and they no chance of getting back into the game.
Carngham Linton has a strong chance to get their second win this week against Daylesford but they will not be able to sit back and wait for the game to be on their terms, they need to take control form the start. Daylesford is probably favoured as their very strong batch of juniors is showing signs of improving week by week.
Early in the season it would have been expected that Rokewood Corindhap might have been able to get a win against Learmonth, but over the past eight weeks the Grasshoppers have not been able to put in a consistent four quarter effort. Clunes will be too strong for Smythesdale and keep the Bulldogs winless and Ballan will have too much class for Dunnstown and probably move a further spot up the ladder.