Ladder very tight at half way.
A real shake up occurred across the Central Highlands FL ladder in round 9 particularly with the drop from the top to fourth of previously undefeated Bungaree.
Waubra showed that they are a genuine premiership contender with their convincing 31 point victory over Bungaree. Tim Boyle is running into a very strong vein of form at Centre Half Forward for the Kangaroos finishing with seven goals. He has had a number of weeks where he has been able to kick two goals but this week’s effort is at least equal to anything which he has produced in the past in the CHFL. Equally as pleasing for coach Grant Luscombe though is the contribution of a spread of players including Dean Robertson and Josh King who stepped up to the next level of performance. Of note though is that even with this impressive win over the previous ladder leader Waubra remained in second spot on the ladder, being passed by Beaufort who was too strong for a competitive Dunnstown.
This week however the Crows will face a massive challenge when they host Gordon who could take over at the top if they win.
Beaufort had a good mix of contributors with seven different goal kickers with Matt Begbie returning to top form with four goals as a small forward, generally staying in the forward fifty. It was the strength of Jake Garvey across half back and Alex Petrie, Jarrod Trigg and Chris Drew which gave the impetus through the mid-field to overcome Dunnstown. Dunnstown have in success weeks played Beaufort and Gordon proving themselves to be competitive against both with similar margins at the end of the game. This would hint at Beaufort and Gordon being of a very similar standard at this stage of the year and this Saturday at Beaufort will be one of the highlights of the season to this stage of the year and should draw a big crowd. The clash in the mid field of two of the best in and under players in the league Gordon’s Tye Murphy and Beaufort Joe Mason will be crucial in providing their team with momentum out of the middle.
It will also be of interest whether Beaufort’s best defender Jake Garvey will be pushed back deeper into defence by coach Dale Power to match up on the current Shane Everard goal kicking award leader Steve Nicholson.
Beaufort at home might be able to consolidate their position on top of the ladder and remain undefeated.
Waubra will not be able to rest to any extent after the fine win over Bungaree when Ballan make their next attempt to defeat a ladder leader. Zac Peoples had his best return in front of goal for the year on Saturday but he has not been the main target for much of the season often playing through the midfield.
The Blues still show plenty of strength in the middle with Shaun Campbell having a tremendous season, with a number of others Aaron Speak and David Ismail in particular going very well.
Rokewood Corindhap after a strong start to the season but has been unable to make any impression on the league leaders in recent rounds.
This week they need to get back into form with the opportunity to match it with another club on a similar standing on the ladder in Creswick.
Chad Baker is proving to be the leading midfielder for the Grasshoppers and is proving to be an important component in developing the younger players coach Mick Hynes is trying to develop.
Clinton Robinson, Brennan Deppeler and Bryce Antonio are having strong seasons and along with Caleb and Liam Hepworth they are going to need to be ready to play if they are to keep themselves on the edge of the top eight. Creswick has a lot more to play for than Rokewood Corindhap as a win will keep them within a game of the eight.
Dunnstown are also in a similar position of being able to close in on the eight but they have their third tough opponent in a row. They will need to overcome Buninyong who have gone along quietly for the last few rounds with big wins over weaker opposition but it appear to have got some key players into form. Glen and Mark Phelps are both in devastating goal kicking form and Sam Turner is back to his best after an injury interrupted start to the season. The overall depth of the Bombers should mean that Dunnstown are again not able to match it with a top eight side but expect a contest in the balance until late in the game.
Skipton head back home with a chance to get their second win of the year with a clash against Clunes but they face an opponent with improving form after a strong win over Newlyn Central Highlands F&NL last week.
Ben Newton and Jesse Baird both were able to complete big tasks against the Cats and along with Mark Paramonov who is in rich form at the moment they should be too strong for Skipton.
The Emus have shown themselves to be able to score more freely than Clunes to this stage of the year and they will need to be able to find this formula on Saturday to give themselves a chance of a win. Newlyn needs to bounce back after their disappointing effort at Clunes but they have the chance to do this with the equally disappointing Learmonth heading to the Cats home ground. Both clubs are relying on a small number of contributors each week and the club who can find a way to bring a few more up the required standard to win at this level is going to be better placed for another win. Springbank, Bungaree and Hepburn all win add another win to their tally.