Rokewood Corindhap was able to celebrate a second win last week when they easily dashed Skipton’s hopes of getting their initial win for the year. The 80 point win for the Grasshoppers was probably far greater than was expected, but it does back up the earlier performances of Rokewood Corindhap who have been able to get close to a number of other clubs higher on the ladder. Sam Chapman has had an excellent year and his experience will be teaching the younger members of the club and giving them a good grounding leading into 2018.
Most pleasing for the Grasshoppers was the return this week of their young star Caius Barrenger and he had an immediate impact with a game high six goals.
His return almost takes the club to full strength which could set up a really exciting finish to the season. In the final three rounds Rokewood Corindhap will play clubs who are close to them on the ladder and they have the potential to win all of these and jump a number of spots on the ladder.
This week against Creswick at Rokewood the home team may even start favourites and have a strong chance of another win. Creswick have a steady group of players who are most weeks able to be competitive but last week they were not able to have any impact against Waubra. Aaron Hepworth provides a strong presence through the midfield with the ability to score goals; Ryan Pompe will most likely find himself tasked with containing Caius Barrenger. Two of Creswick’s own juniors Jack Marshman and Alex Lovel are in quite good form and the club will be working hard over the next few games to continue to develop them into strong senior players for future years.
At their best Creswick probably has more depth but they have little to gain from the remaining weeks of the season whereas Rokewood Corindhap has the opportunity to finish in the highest spot on the ladder since they joined the CHFL. If they were to finish 11th or 12th at the end of the year then this will be a pleasing outcome and set up a run at finals in 2018. Skipton on the other hand has the daunting task of trying to contain the league leading Springbank. Springbank remain a match clear on the top of the ladder following a close win over Bungaree pushing the Demons out of the top four for the first time for the season.
Skipton will be trying to stem the broad range of scoring options which the Tigers have and give their younger players another opportunity to learn how they need to play against the best in this level of football. Springbank’s win of 17 points over Bungaree was almost built on a five minute period in the second quarter when full forward Tom Eltringham got off the leash and kicked his three goals for the day. Even though there was a strong win down the ground both teams showed an ability to score into the wind and Bungaree were able to control large periods of the first half but then just struggled to get close enough to have a realistic shot at goal.
Matthew Tyler at half back continued his excellent form and he proved too smart and strong for Oliver Hayes who battled hard. After half time both clubs simply closed the game up with just two goals scored and it became a tough game for spectators to watch and stay engaged in. The only excitement was in the closeness of the game which made it possible for Bungaree to get back if they could find their five minutes of dominance.
Bungaree now have a tricky two weeks facing them if they are to get back into the top four.
On Saturday the Demons travel to Gordon to see if they are able to choke down one of the free scoring clubs in the league. Gordon is currently missing a number of their key first picked players but this is not stopping them from finding a way to win. Last Sunday against Daylesford they were just 18 points up at half time before a downpour turned what was a good game of free flowing football into a slog.
Despite this the Eagles were able to kick a further four goals in the third and had control of the game from there on.
Mark Gunnell was required to head into the ruck at times and the fierce work by Mick Nolan, Chris McGuigan, Gerard Clifford and Tye Murphy ensured that the depleted outfit were not at risk of defeat. Xavier Walsh showed that he is developing into a good tall backman and Sam Winnard in the ruck forced Gordon to make changes to curb his ability to move forward and score. Joel Cowan and Cam Lovig provided plenty of run through half back and in the midfield.
However the problem which now exists for the Bulldogs is that they are outside the eight in ninth spot, Learmonth have slipped back into potential finals action. To compound this issue is that they now face Buninyong next week. The Bombers have moved into the top four for the first time this season, ahead of Bungaree on percentage. They are definitely showing signs that their playing stocks are improving and these returning players are running into form. Last year’s grand finalists may very well have the talent to make a serious run at a premiership. Anthony Ebery is showing signs that he is moving back into form with a couple of strong performances in recent weeks and he will be a tough opponent for Daylesford’s Winnard. Whilst Jake Dunne is in stronger form than any of the Gordon talls who never really stretched the Bulldogs defence. On top of these advantages the Buninyong midfield runs far deeper than does the young class at Daylesford.
The Bulldogs will be hoping that Dunnstown have a win over Learmonth to ensure that they only remain out of the eight on percentage. Dunnstown though might appear to be a friend for Daylesford but in fact they might prove to be in disguise as it is not completely out of the question that they would sneak into the eight.
They need some assistance from other match results but they do hold a large portion of the opportunity in their own hands. Dunnstown have fought their way back to tenth position on the ladder eight points behind Learmonth and Daylesford. They must win all three matches to have any hope however two of those three are against the two clubs sitting in front of them starting with Learmonth this Saturday. If either of the Lakies or Bulldogs wins one of their remaining three matches the Towners will not reach them as their percentage is very poor.
However Justin Abrams is to be congratulated on the way in which he has built the confidence of the team which had a horror start to the season.
Gordon and Bungaree will be a tremendous match at the Eagles home ground. The winner should be holding down fifth spot by Sunday.
Bungaree will have an advantage in the ruck with Dave Benson, and Chase Morgan, Alex Browning and Matthew Sheridan are likely to be winners in their positions but the very young Demons might find that they suffer successive defeats.
In most final eight scenarios fifth spot has some advantage as it means that you play the perceived weakest team in the finals in the first week but in the CHFL with such an even top of the ladder it is a risky situation to be placed in as the past two seasons eight has defeated fifth in the second Elimination final. Ballan fell just a goal short of Learmonth last week highlighting that they are both in evenly matched thought the middle of the ladder, but is has hurt the Blues who are out of the finals race.
They can still impact on the positions of clubs in the eight and they will be keen to get back in the winners list when they host Newlyn who sit just behind in twelfth spot.
At home the Blues will be favoured to be too strong even though the Cats have a strong bodied midfield who can match it. Daniel Wehrung, Nathan Hura and Dylan Fishwick have played some strong football this year and their clash with Jason McNamara, Ash Mullane and Darren Tanti will be a key aspect of this match. Hepburn will not be troubled by Clunes, but they will not make up any ground on second placed Beaufort who has the bye. Waubra have themselves eight points inside the top eight and this week they will build further percentage when they play against Carngham Linton. The Kangaroos will be hoping that Gordon and Bungaree slip up a couple of times in the next fortnight to give them a chance to finish as high as fifth.