Bungaree desperate to hold top spot
On Saturday Bungaree was at risk of losing the top spot on the Central Highlands FL ladder which they had held virtually for the past two seasons.
However the Demons were not going to be pushed out of the spot which they have worked hard for more than two decades to get back to and proved too strong for Buninyong and in the process stopped the Bombers climb into the top four. Buninyong were coming of a sequence of three excellent wins over other top eight sides and were starting to position themselves for a top two finish. They fell at what may prove to be the crucial hurdle. By halftime Bungaree had effectively secured the match holding Buninyong goal less and kicking eight of their own.
Bungaree coach Heath Pyke would have been satisfied with the response from his side after last week defeat by Beaufort.
They may have only kicked one further goal for the match but in the tough conditions which both sides faced there was no way that Buninyong could get back into the contest. Nich Weightman has had a very strong past month of football for Bungaree and was again an important cog in the overall performance of the team.
Another bonus for Bungaree was a return to form of key players Jason Linke and Mitchell Bruns. Both of these players are key components for a strong finals effort. Bungaree’ satisfaction of holding onto the top spot may only be for a week as they are just two percent ahead of Springbank and they have to travel to Hepburn this week. Hepburn showed a return to the winners list defeating Creswick after dropping matches to Gordon and Buninyong.
This win has lifted them up one spot to seventh ahead of Beaufort in the eight who fell to Ballan.
Both Ferraro brothers Ricky and Jason were in good form in the 71point win over the Wickers.
The heavy conditions would have suited the big bodied Burras and this massive win has Hepburn second on percentage to only Gordon. Their problem though is that they have to play Bungaree and Ballan in the two remaining matches both above them on the ladder. Beaufort should win their last two matches against Clunes and Learmonth which means that Hepburn have to do the same to possibly finish fourth and play eight in the first week of the finals. On the form shown by both Hepburn and Bungaree over the past few weeks would indicate that this week promises to be a very close clash but the top of the ladder Bungaree will be favoured to hold their position. Buninyong’s horror run continues this week when they have to face Ballan. Both clubs have twelve wins for the season and the Blues are now a genuine premiership contender following their victory over Beaufort this week.
For two seasons Ballan looked to be almost good enough, defeating teams below them but not being able to defeat those above them.
This has now changed and they are right in the mix for finals glory. Shaun Campbell is the recruit of the season and continues to dominate week after week. However it is not just Campbell that is bringing success to Ballan, Zac Peoples was one of the premier juniors in the CHFL almost a decade ago. Now he is starting to show reward for the promise and his strength is complimenting Campbell perfectly. Marcus Crook came into the league with Geelong FL premiership form but has struggled at times to adapt to the slower form of football butt this week he finished with three goals and added another dimension to a forward line which is continuing to improve. Before their defeat at the hands of Ballan Beaufort were justifiably still looking at a top four finish. This is now an unlikely scenario and is probably going to rely on far too many upsets to be realistic. On Saturday they host Clunes who had their sixth win of the season over Dunnstown. The 34 point win for the Magpies over Dunnstown pushed them up the ladder past the Towners who have been stuck on four wins for many weeks. Clunes improved form in recent weeks has been against clubs closer to them on the ladder so whilst they are getting additional wins it would not appear they are playing at a level which would trouble one of the top eight. Beaufort will be very keen to ensure that they don’t dwell on this week loss and forge forward to build better form as they are guaranteed to play finals football. Dunnstown on the other hand have stalled and will be expected to suffer another loss at the hands of Learmonth this week.
The Lakies aimed to build upon last year’s return to the finals and recruited based upon a strong batch of juniors coming thorough to top up the team in place, but injuries have ruined this ambition. Over the past three weeks Learmonth has played as close to a full list that they have had at any stage of the season and the results reflect this.
On Saturday they will be expected to move into equal ninth with Creswick and probably Newlyn and have the opportunity to shape the top eight against Beaufort in the final round. Newlyn are gradually improving as they attempt to bring a number of their better juniors through into senior football. This week they line up against Carngham Linton who will not have the players to match up with Daniel Wehrung and Will Young in particular. Two wins could in fact have the Cats finishing in ninth place, a very strong improvement on last season, with a settled lead into next season after reappointing Kal Young as coach for his third season. The Bungaree and Hepburn clash is expected to be a close battle and this might enable Springbank to move into top spot who are just two percent behind the ladder leaders. Springbank will travel to Rokewood Corindhap and will be too strong for the Grasshoppers. Smythesdale have the opportunity to be competitive against Daylesford although the Bulldogs continue to improve each week. Their victory over Rokewood Corindhap was a comfortable 28 points and they should be able to account for their other namesake with the league. Michael Cummings and Robbie Rodgers will provide the leadership to bring another victory.
Waubra gradually achieved a safe victory over Newlyn last week and will have no major problems staying in the top three against Skipton, whilst Newlyn will be too strong for Carngham Linton.