Coming off a week that had all sides playing a team adjacent to them on the ladder this week presents a slightly different feel when the North Gippsland Football Netball League enters Round 11. Several clashes look to be a little one sided with four teams vying for finals positions taking on sides that are more focused on their trip away than a game of footy post Round 18. The one game that bucks this trend has Traralgon Tyers United taking on Churchill.
When TTU ventured to Churchill to open their season in Round One it was a battle between 2018s second and third best sides. The game was all one way traffic with Churchill backing up its preliminary final victory over Tyers the year before with an emphatic 10 goal win to kick start their 2019 campaign. The current ladder tells us this week’s clash pits the top side against the fourth best side and not even the most one eyed Cougar fan would be predicting a similar result come Saturday afternoon.Scott Berechree
Heyfield coach Rick Galea recently set his side the challenge of beating sides above it on the ladder. He was quite clear at the time if his side wanted to play finals that was simply what was required. It would be fair to say things didn’t go as planned last week with the Roos being overwhelmed by Rosedale to the tune of seven goals. A second quarter lapse in which the Roos coughed up 11 scoring shots ultimately cost them not only the match but also a spot in the top five.
Glengarry too were on the wrong end of the ledger going down to Cowwarr in a game they should have been looking to be highly competitive in, if not win. They too went to sleep in the second term however unlike Heyfield it took the Pies until the final term to wake up with them going goalless from quarter time until the final term. That form simply won’t stack up against a Heyfield side desperate to participate in the post season.Scott Berechree
Coming off a season defining win against Heyfield and with another key game against Sale City next week Rosedale may look to rest a few players this week when they travel to Gormandale. The visitors should have no trouble in knocking over the bottom of the ladder Tigers who have been riddled with injury and are doing well to keep fighting the good fight week in week out. The toughest job in footy would usually be playing on the league’s best player but this season it is probably trying to write the gormy Spectator notes each week and find some positives. The only one I could find for them this week is that Rosedale are the only side not to have bested the hapless Tiges by more than 100 points so far in season 2019. So far.Scott Berechree
Sale City pushed the ladder leading Cougars to the absolute limit last week and came up an agonising seven points short in a game they led for most of the day. Jacob Schuback was irrepressible across half back and through the middle, his left boot laser like in its delivery of the ball to team mates. He had plenty of support from any number of team mates with Justin McLay everywhere and Bohdi Walker belying his appearance and an uncomfortable moment in the goal square to cover plenty of territory in providing Nick Grainger with great supply in front of goal.
This week’s opponent, Cowwarr, easily won the battle to be “best of the rest” downing Glengarry by 51 points in a game that was effectively a non-event after half time. That sort of quick fire start is what the Saints will need again this week. Perhaps their best chance to keep City at bay will be to keep the scoreboard ticking over and making the Dogs midfield play accountable footy. Pat Tainsh who will surely be lading the Warr Best and Fairest by as far as he can kick a footy will be the key in the middle. If the Dogs can negate his influence even a forward line of Shane Morgan, Nick Wozniak and Dale Murphy won’t be any hope of kicking the Saints a winning score.Scott Berechree
Whilst Tyers coach Michael Duncan was effusive in his praise of last week’s conquerors Yarram, noting they were perhaps “the most complete team in the league,” he was quick to add this week would be a huge challenge stating that Churchill and are “at the top end of the ladder for good reason.” Duncan is hoping to be able to call upon several first choice players for this week’s match with the likes of Jack Brown, Darcy Barnes, Kade Duncan and the coach himself all a chance to take the field. Duncan also noted he may opt for some additional forward 50 speed with Tim Aitken, who has been playing some good football in the early game of late, also being in the senior mix.
In terms of opposition analysis Duncan has clearly done his research since coming across to the NGFNL noting Churchill coach Chris Williams was a key to the Cougars chances. He also indicated a former teammate of his, Ben Kearns, would need close checking along with the ageless Brendan Holt who has been in ripping form of late.
When questioned on a rumour circulating about a potential recruit with high level credentials making their way to the Bombers Duncan kept his cards close to his chest. It would be fair to say however he certainly wasn’t quick to shut down the notion of Morwell’s multiple Premiership wining coach Harmit Singh having a kick in red and black at some stage this year. Churchill coach Chris Williams also noted the rumour surrounding Singh suggesting he’d be a great addition to any side but was happy to focus on his own line up in the lead up to the match.
Williams lamented his sides inconsistent defensive pressure of late. He felt this slip in intensity had also prevented the quick ball movement that was a hallmark of the Cougars dominant first half of the year. Faced with the possibility of losing a couple of players this week he was thankful first year player Noah Duebel would be available for selection. Duebel is perhaps a good match up for Tyers Ricky Cochrane who Williams was keen to shut out of the game. Williams described Cochrane as “a dangerous hard running mid who carries the footy” that in recent weeks “has been hitting the scoreboard.”
Williams thought the battle of the big men, Billy Morrison of Tyers and Churchill’s Nathan Mcrae would also be one to watch. The winner of this battle will go a long way to determining the result with both sides having a fleet footed midfield and a front six capable of kicking a winning score. Williams suggested Jacob Albanese in particular was a Bomber forward Churchill will need to put the clamps on.Scott Berechree
The local Derby played between Yarram and Woodside used to be the stuff of legend. Reports would filter in from South Gippsland all through the off season of verbal sparring between supporters and players alike in the lead up to the regular season opener between the two rivals. This year however Woodside are as thin on talent as they are on wins and it seems highly unlikely they will be stopping the Demon winning streak at seven. Yarram simply have too much talent for their neighbours and despite the best efforts of those in the Wildcat colours it will be season 2020 at the earliest before they can look to take the points in this match-up.Scott Berechree
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All match previews written by Scott Berechree. Edited versions may appear in the Latrobe Valley Express.