AFTER a two week break due to a bye in round 2 and the Easter break Skipton will this week be very keen to achieve their first win of the season.
They have a tough task facing them though when they travel to Learmonth who has started the season very promisingly.
Skipton suffered a 28 point defeat at the hands of Clunes in round 1 which would have been disappointing but based upon Clunes then defeating Creswick the following week it might have given hope that Skipton will be competitive against other clubs in the lower end of the ladder.
Hamish Ryan-Dengate had a promising start for the Emus in his first game for the club being named their best player. Luke Jongebloed was another new player who showed strong early season form.
Lakota Stranks is one of Skipton’s youngsters the club is hoping to build a strong senior program around also contributed strongly as did Patrick Walsh playing in just his second senior match. This inexperience though is likely to be a disadvantage this coming Saturday when they face an experienced Learmonth.
Richard and Michael Zelencich have both started 2017 very well with their new club.
Richard has good experience at senior level football in both Ballarat FNL and then last year in the Maryborough Castlemaine & FNL which is showing in his consistent performances. Scott Whiting is another strong midfielder who has added to the strength of Learmonth who was particularly impressive in the round 1 loss to Waubra. Learmonth will be favoured to win and set themselves up well with two wins from the initial three rounds. Any top of the ladder clash brings a great deal of interest across the whole competition and this will definitely be the case this week when Gordon hosts Beaufort. Gordon sits on top of the ladder but they could have had the easier start to the season to this stage. Dunnstown and Ballan are not expected to finish much above middle of the ladder and Gordon easily accounted for both of them. Whereas Beaufort has faced Daylesford and Bungaree so far who were both finalists from last year and should again feature in finals action. Both clubs feature excellent midfields who have a good mix of hard ball winners and those who can get the football quickly into the forward line. Tye Murphy and Chris McGuigan are key leaders for Gordon and McGuigan in particular can quickly change a game with his speed.
Cam Richardson is sure to be another who will have a strong impact across half forward and into the middle of the ground for Gordon. They should be matched up well against the Crows Tom Stapleton, Alex Petrie and Joe Mason who have had a very promising start to the year.
Brendan Howard and Jarrod Trigg are often used to quell the opposition key forwards and at least one of them will be expected to be on Gordon’s primary tall target Steve Nicholson. Gordon might be able to achieve the first victory in this clash between clubs which could line up against each other again later in the season during finals. Daylesford is going to be hosting Waubra in a day which is sure to have plenty of emotion attached to it as the Bulldogs celebrate the life of past president Bernie Jurcan.
Bernie’s sudden passing early this year has hit the club hard and they will be sure to enjoy reflecting on some great memories of the enormous contribution he made to the club. The emotion that these celebrations might be bring with them could be enough to provide Daylesford with its second win of the year after holding Hepburn at bay by just one goal last match. This is one match where the form of the ruckmen could be crucial to the outcome of the game.
Sam Winnard has developed into a very strong competitor for Daylesford and sets up the quick midfield to start many attacks. However he will be matched by Waubra’s Lincoln Barnes who is rarely beaten in the ruck.
Tim Boyle is crucial in the Kangaroos forward line and at times Waubra can become a bit too focused on delivering the ball to him rather than spreading the goal kicking load.
Boyle will probably find Daylesford’s best tall back Patrick Rowe on him at stages but the young defender will get plenty of support from the experienced Robbie Rodgers and James Evans if he is losing touch with the fast leading Boyle. Newlyn at home to Rokewood Corindhap shapes as an interesting match with neither club to enjoy a victory but both have been very competitive in their initial games. The Cats have added some depth to their outfit in the form of Dylan Fishwick and Dylan McLachlan who both have a great deal of senior experience including in the Northern Territory FL. Joel Willmott will be a player who Newlyn will be hoping takes another step forward in his second full year of senior football. He has started the season well and could be a vital cog this week against Rokewood Corindhap who have had just the one match so far in which they kicked themselves out of the contest. Grasshopper’s coach Jarrod Thompson was their only effective avenue to goal with three of Rokewood Corindhap’s four majors. Jake Dowell had a strong start with his new club, being recruited from Camperdown as did Aaron Gercovich who brings experience with Redan.
Rokewood though is going to miss their best young player Caius Barrenger who is going to miss the season with injury and this is sure to off-set some of hoped improvement this year. Saturday is going to be a crucial match to see if Rokewood Corindhap with their extensive recruitment program has made much progress towards the clubs in the middle of the table. Clunes may well be the surprise package at the start of the season and be in some of the few clubs who have three straight wins after this weekend’s matches. Their one point win over Creswick last round on top of defeating Skipton in round 1 has them in fifth place on the ladder and they will be favoured to overcome Carngham Linton this week. Jesse Baird currently is amongst the leading goal kickers for the year and he will keep the Saints main defenders very busy. Brodie Doolan and Joe Stalker generally have been getting the key defending tasks for Carngham Linton and if they achieve a win over Baird they will be giving their team a chance to get their first win in two seasons. Carngham Linton definitely has more depth through its midfield this year and they will need to win in most positions if they are going to cause what would be classed as an upset over the Magpies.
Ballan will probably find it too difficult to notch up their first win of the season when they face up to reigning premier Springbank.
A similar fate probably awaits Dunnstown who will travel to Buninyong to try to get their first win of the year.