CHFL Preview – Round 3 For quite a few years Daylesford has been working hard to achieve improved facilities for use by all members of the club and this coming weekend they are able to achieve that dream.
On Sunday the new social club and change rooms will be opened at Victoria Park prior to the local clash against their nearest neighbour Hepburn.
The addition of these new rooms will add another very high quality facility in the league which is probably as well served as any within the region with almost all of the 18 clubs having ovals and off field facilities which are the envy of many.
There will be a great desire at Daylesford to christen the new facility with a senior grade win against Hepburn, their first for the season, but this does not look likely with the Burras off to a flyer. For many years after Daylesford entered the CHFL in 2006 these two were the stand out game for the year including quite a few grand finals and during this time Daylesford tended to hold sway. Over the past two seasons though there has been a significant shift with Daylesford now relying on many who have played their juniors with the club but are yet to find their feet against the best at senior level.
Sebastian Walsh and Jordan Alexander were outstanding juniors in the league and they have senior experience in major league competitions including the Goulburn Valley FL and Geelong FL and both need to take strong lead to bring others such as Pat Rowe and Max Risstrom along to a level which features in the CHFL.
Hepburn meanwhile are at the other end of the development phase with super experienced players Dan O’Halloran, Andrew McKay, Alan Ware and Lee Cox who have for many years have been leading players in the league being topped up with former VFL players such as Jacob Graham and Ricky Farraro adding another level of class to the group.
As hard as the Bulldogs try there is little chance that they will be able to cause an upset on their special day.
Carngham Linton and Rokewood Corindhap have for decades had a tremendous rivalry and they provide another round three clash of neighbouring clubs.
Rokewood Corindhap had a strong start to the season with a good win over Skipton but they found Waubra too strong last week.
Rokewood Corindhap has been well served already by a number of players who they have brought into the club, some with strong playing backgrounds. Brendan Wall and Nick Hearn add excellent major league senior football experience to a group has some excellent potential to move up the ladder this year. Wall has been recruited from Forrest which has gone into recess in the Colac DFNL this season but prior to that he has played many years of senior football both in the Bellarine and Geelong FLs. Hearn has more recent high level performances playing the full 2015 season in the seniors in the very strong Essendon DFL for the Northern Saints. On top of these two, other recruits include returning junior Simon Clifton and South West FL recruit Tyler Fehsler who add to those such as Chad Baker who in the past couple of years have brought the Grasshoppers to a level which few opposition teams can take easily. Meanwhile Carngham Linton has had a difficult start with big defeats suffered at the hands of Waubra and Gordon. They will definitely be more competitive this week but will still find it a tough task. First year coach for the Saints Aaron Braekmans will provide strong leadership along with long term captain Tim Clarke giving all he can but they just don’t have the breadth of other players who can have an impact at enough contests.
Smythesdale this week approach a game for the first time in five years off a victory after they were able to break their drought of eighty four matches through defeating Skipton last Saturday. It was a gutsy effort to get over the line in a match that never reached great heights but showed enormous desperation from players across the whole ground. This win meant as much as a premiership for those who have endured five years of tough times. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs they will find it an enormously different task against Waubra this week. Waubra continues to get strong contributions from Tom Nijam and Steve Tung and they are now getting good support from new Lake Wendouree recruit Lincoln Barnes and William Booth who has progressed out of a season in the Kangaroos Under 18s. In the third local clash of the round Gordon will host Ballan with both clubs entering the game with one win from the initial two rounds.
In recent seasons to get into the top four a team cannot afford to drop more than three matches for the season so this adds to the importance of a victory this week.
As last season progressed the impact of Gordon forward dynamo Mick Nolan decreased and this made it difficult for the Eagles in the grand final. This year he seems to be fit and back into strong form. His speed will test the Ballan defenders. Ash Munari is a multiple interleague representative but last year his impact was not to the level which fans had come to expect. So far this year he is showing excellent form across half back.
Jacob Wilkinson and Daniel Nielsen were important links in the rapid improvement of Ballan last year and they have started this season well and each will have big jobs against the powerful Gordon unit. Learmonth were in front at three quarter time last week against Hepburn but were not able to finish the match out. However they will have gained quite a lot of confidence from their efforts and should be too strong for Creswick. Creswick importantly got their first win over Clunes on Saturday and will be competitive for much of the day.
Reigning premiers Springbank playing Buninyong is another crucial clash with the Tigers at risk of losing early touch with the league leaders if they drop another match. At home Springbank will start favourite but they will need to show more consistent form over four quarters than has been evident so far if they are to win. Buninyong’s recruits Jake Dunne and Matthew Caris both had more impact in their second game with the new club. Watch these two to be key players as the year progresses. Bungaree, Dunnstown and Waubra appear to be the most likely other winners in round 3.