Lakies devastated as Eagles soar
Dunnstown held off a determined Carngham Linton in the return to action in the Central Highlands FL last weekend to record a 15 point win, the Towners fourth victory in succession. After a horror start to the season where they were not able to have any impact against teams which now make up the top eight they have shown that they are one of the clubs who are just going to finish out of the top eight. They will be very keen to keep this excellent run of form this week against Clunes before going into the bye and set up for the final three weeks of the season with a real chance to achieve a win in each of them.
Aaron Brennan has been an important player for the Towners for a number of years and he has been in excellent form for much of this year where he has generally played in the ruck giving his club momentum out of the middle. He is well supported with the smaller players around the middle which is where Dunnstown has its best group of players including Sam Jenkins who put in a strong performance again last Saturday against Carngham Linton. A number of younger small brigade have also improved during the season to now be having a real impact in most matches, these include Harry McKimmie, Tim Stubbs and Mitchell Henderson. If they are able to have the same impact this week they will probably prove to be too strong for Clunes even though the Magpies will arrive on a high after their own excellent win against Ballan last week. Ballan had been going well in recent weeks with four wins and a draw against Creswick in the past five weeks and they would have been expecting to leave Clunes with another win to the tally.
The Blues would have still had this expectation at quarter time when they held a five point lead but then Clunes took control for the next two quarters and hung on for a morale lifting win at home. Clunes has shown some real fight and determination on a number of occasions this year with competitive efforts against teams in the eight. However they have then struggled to back this up the following week. This will be the risk for the Magpies when they travel to Dunnstown. They will need to be looking towards Ryan, Khyal and Joshua Thompson to continue getting plenty of the football. The brothers have been great additions to Clunes this year and the club will be looking to retain them into future seasons. Jesse Baird has moved into the midfield more in recent weeks and his class is ensuring that Clunes is able to get possession more often when it is in dispute.
He has been backed up well by Henry Labastida who has provided a link option for the back line since he has joined the club.
Dunnstown and Clunes should be evenly matched across much of the ground and it might be the class of Sam Jenkins and Aaron Sawers who are able to swing the game in the favour of the Towners on their home ground. Buninyong are on a run of six victories since they were defeated by Hepburn back in early May. They have suffered a horror run of injuries for much of the year but this coming week after two weeks off it could be a different looking Buninyong who run out against Learmonth.
However if this is not the case they will still probably too strong for the Lakies who are going through their horror stretch. After sitting in the top four for many weeks they are this week looking at their fourth loss in succession. Buninyong has been best served this season by the form of Ned Gilbert and Jake Dunne, both who have been vital in ensuring they are able to do enough to win most weeks. Gilbert continues to be fierce in his attack on the loose ball providing his team mates with the opportunity to get into space. Jake Dunne is then often on the end of these attacking moves. Ned Gilbert should be matched up against Brenton Powell this week who has continued to be in excellent form for Learmonth and the winner of this battle will give their team a real advantage. The other major positive for Buninyong this year has been the continued development of Jack Robertson into one of the premier tall defenders in the competition. His mobility and strength will probably cut off many of Learmonth’s attacks and stop the ball getting through to league leading goal kicker Matthew Bond. Bond is likely to have his hands full when it does reach him as Tyler Dittloff will be suited in any contests which rely on a battle of strength.
Buninyong will prove too strong for Learmonth and possibly quash the Lakies chances of making finals action.
Bungaree and Daylesford is the only match this week bringing together two clubs currently in the top eight and the outcome of the clash could have a telling impact on the overall position either clubs finishes in about a month’s time.
Bungaree have held a top four position throughout the season and are on the same points as Hepburn and Beaufort above them, but they have a lower percentage than Gordon and Buninyong the two clubs directly below them. This poorer percentage is due to a number of matches against clubs in low positions on the ladder where the Demons never played in the manner expected of a top four side. In fact against Skipton and Clunes ruckman Dave Benson almost single handed dragged the rest of the team forward with him. The contrast though is that Bungaree was the last club to defeat Hepburn. They seem to be able to lift for the big games and this week shapes to be one of those big games because Daylesford needs to win over another top eight side and in the process go close to securing finals action. Daylesford have three tough weeks to come against Bungaree, Gordon and Buninyong and if they lose all of these they might open up the chance for Learmonth to sneak back into the eight. Last week the Bulldogs showed good form against Springbank starting the last quarter level with the top of the ladder Tigers but could not quite finish the deal.
Sam Winnard was outstanding and should be Daylesford’s best option against Dave Benson in the ruck a contest in which Winnard might be able to use his greater bulk to keep Benson away from the drop of the ball. Ken Cummings has had a lean year compared to last season, however he returned to some goal kicking form with two last week and his contribution is important in an team which is struggling to find a key forward who is kicking large bags of goals. Bungaree’s defence has been solid throughout the year and they will be expected to be able to make it difficult for any of the Daylesford’s smaller forwards get loose for too long and kick a winning score.
Springbank are still missing many of their best players but are winning each week and this is likely to remain the case this week when they face a struggling Rokewood Corindhap.
Jarrod Thompson returned to form last week for the Grasshoppers with five goals but with just Aaron Gercovich and Jake Carr also finding the majors they were not a realistic chance against a rampant Waubra.
A similar scenario is likely against Springbank this week where Rokewood Corindhap will not be able to find enough winners across the ground to put any pressure on the reigning premiers.
Waubra will continue their winning ways when they face up to winless Skipton. Skipton has struggled to show any significant signs of improvement during the course of the season but they will have hopes of finding a win in the final month of matches so they will be looking for a competitive effort this week to get some momentum leading into these games. Gordon is in good form at present and they will continue their winning form over Newlyn.
The Eagles will be looking to continue to build upon their percentage as they four matches against other top eight sides to finish the season and they might need the percentage to sneak into a top four spot and get the double chance. Hepburn is going too well to be troubled by Creswick who have not been able to build any great momentum apart from an early upset of Daylesford. Beaufort deserves to be second on the ladder and overall it is hard to see how they will not be one of the last teams standing as the finals progress. Due to this form they will be too strong for Carngham Linton who pushed Dunnstown last week but don’t have enough class to go with the top eight.
The Miner had no intention of misleading readers with the mention of Jarrod Edwards to the Eagles in last weeks report, it was pending on a clearance, which we now believe he probably won’t obtain.