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Due to season 2019’s modified draw it has taken until round ten of the North Gippsland Football Netball League to have all teams play each other at least once. The round not only pits ladder leading Churchill against fifth placed Sale City it has the other four sides that make up the top six playing each other. In turn this also means that the bottom four sides are battling it out in what should be a most even weekend of action.
This clash between Cowwarr and Glengarry is a crucial one in terms of measuring the development of each club across 2019. Both have an eye to the future as the back half of the year rolls around. Glen look to have the a younger side that is perhaps finally ready to take the step up both now and in seasons to come. Cowwarr on the other hand have the more seasoned list with many more avenues to goal and an elite on baller in Pat Tainsh. Tainsh is more than capable of ensuring enough supply to Shane Morgan, Dale Murphy and Nick Wozniack to allow the Saints to kick a winning score this week.
The x-factor in this game however centres on selection. With Cowwarr’s thirds languishing in last spot and Glen’s resident atop of the ladder, undefeated and with a percentage of 580, if ever there was a week for The Pies to roll the dice and play the kids this is the one. It is impossible to see the Pies rolling Cowwarr in a contested game but if they can play the kids and turn the game into a free flowing event the outside run and carry might be enough to secure them a win and what an introduction to the future it might be with a group of kids tasting senior success together at such a young age.Scott Berechree
Coming off their first loss of the season those heading to Gaskin Park this week to watch the Cougars take on Sale City will be keen to see the response provided by the home side. Coach Chris Williams was measured in his response immediately following the loss to Yarram on the Queen’s Birthday weekend noting several areas he thought his side needed to improve in the back half of the season. On the other hand Sale City are coming off a percentage boosting win that saw them climb back into the top five. Undoubtedly they will be hoping to continue that momentum by taking a big scalp to start a charge back into the top three over the next 9 weeks of football.
Churchill coach Chris Williams said his side would “focus on winning the inside ball this week” but was also conscious of “not giving up too much space on the spread to the Dogs and their good ball users that could hurt them on the rebound”. Top of his watch list was unsurprisingly the Bulldogs prime mover Jacob Schuback. Williams hinted the returning Paul Metlikovic, back after a brief sojourn, might spend some time on Schuback in the middle filling the void left by Travis Brighton who is again unavailable this week.
City have relied heavily on Nick Grainger and coach Jacob Schuback to kick them a score while Bodhi Walker has been on the sidelines. It is no surprise that in Walker’s absence City suffered a series of losses. His return last week catapulting the tri-colours back into the winners stall and the top five. Walker is likely to have one of Dean DeGroot or Kyle Hearn, who is in the mix for a senior recall, for company this week while Churchill skipper Jordan Fenech appears a logical match up for the smaller Grainger or even Schuback when he rests forward.
At the other end the Bulldogs defenders will have their hands full trying to stop the likes of Brendan Holt and Blake Slater who both provide mobile targets and work well to create space for each other. With Ben Kearns was likely to miss another week with his troublesome calf the opportunity is there for young guns Cain Iorangi or Ryan Lowrie to get off the chain and impact the scoreboard this week. City’s Ben Chivers seems a likely match up for either of those two however he may get the job on the resting Cougar on ballers such as Nick Celimna when they push forward.Scott Berechree
A five goal to one last quarter effort saw Heyfield overcome a 20 point three quarter time deficit to over run third placed Traralgon Tyers United last week. That win will provide Heyfield with plenty of confidence coming into another huge clash when the Roos take on Rosedale this week.
Rosedale took full advantage of Heyfield’s handy work by taking third position from TTU courtesy of their 90 point belting of Glengarry. The Dales managed 19 majors without a significant contribution from regular goal kicker Frazar Brouns. Brouns claims to have turned provider rather than finisher helping his regular partner in crime, Brandon McDonald, to five goals. McDonald was ably supported by Kaleb Watson who also slotted a handful of goals and was the main beneficiary of Brouns new found selflessness.
Heyfield too managed to get the result last week without one of their usual suspects, Shaun Humphrey’s, hitting the scoreboard. With both sides having multiple goal kicking weapons spectator’s will be hoping for an entertaining clash which will hopefully see both sides look to outscore, rather than restrict, their opponents.Scott Berechree
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Yarram make their way to the Tyers Rec Reserve this week where the two competing coaches Matt Scholz, who master minded Yarram’s 2018 premiership, and Michael Duncan, who took the Bombers to third place last year, will have playing groups with contrasting mindsets. Yarram will roll into Tyers fresh off the bye having accounted for the previously undefeated Churchill at their last outing while Tyers will be rueing a final quarter fade out that cost them dearly in their last outing.
The main issue facing Scholz might well be how to get walk up starts like Griffin Underwood and Daniel Vardy back into a winning line up where as for Duncan it will be ensuring his side are mentally attuned to the challenge, or is that opportunity, they are presented with this week. Several individual match ups will be worth watching with the likes of inform Bomber midfielders Jordan Collopy and Ricky Cochrane up against Underwood, Chris Bruns and Liam Farley in the Yarram engine room. A match-up between Cochrane and Farley would have two of the league’s young guns go head to head and leave the more experienced Chris Bruns and Griffin Underwood to match motors with Collopy.
Both sides have match winners in their respective front halves but the Yarram back six also utilise their run and spread to set up attack from behind the ball. The likes of Jack Weston and Demon coach Scholz are elite kicks and decision makers who will provide plenty of headaches for the home side. The battle for the Bombers front half will be to not only kick a winning score but to restrict the influence of these elite ball users across Yarram’s half back line. A defensive role on Weston almost feels like a must and might provide a great learning opportunity for a young Tyers forward such as Zac Kilgower or the more hardnosed Guy Sinclair who has shown a willingness to make life as tough as possible for opponents through the year.Scott Berechree
This clash will determine if the battle to avoid the wooden spoon remains a two horse war or if Gormandale are destined to finish the year with the unwanted trophy. If Gormy are to avoid it they simply have to beat Woodside this week.
Woodside appear to have too much talent across all lines for a battling Gormy outfit. This is magnified with Toby Bye being unavailable for the Tigers meaning the aerial dominance of the Ryan Foat and Tom Crosby for the home side will be too much for Gormy’s Jarryd Gilroy to combat in game 151 for him. Sorry for missing the milestone last week Sarge!Scott Berechree
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All match reviews written by Scott Berechree. Edited versions may appear in the Latrobe Valley Express.