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This weeks’ round 12 action in the NGFNL promises to be a ripper. Four of the five games have finals ramifications and several could determine the finals fate of participants. Top of the table Churchill take on fourth placed Heyfield and third placed Rosedale welcome fifth placed Sale City to town yet somewhat curiously almost as much interest centres on the battle between seventh placed Cowwarr and second placed Yarram. Followers on the NGFNL won’t need any reminding that The Warr made the trek to Yarram back in round three returning home with the four points in what remains the biggest upset result of the season thus far. With the Saints having home ground advantage this time around and coming off an all the way win over Sale City Saturday looms as a big day, out Cowwarr way.Scott Berechree
A confident Cowwarr on their home deck in the midst of winter is close to most teams worst nightmare in the NGFNL. This scenario is exactly what Yarram are confronted with this week and their coach Matt Scholz is under no illusions the challenge his side faces suggesting it would take the Demons “best footy to get the four points.” Scholz added that in Yarram’s round three defeat at the hands of Cowwarr his side was “outplayed in the contested footy and spread from stoppages.” Given this fact the return last week of Dan Vardy from an overseas trip and the hard-nosed Jesse Field, who has recovered from a nasty leg injury sustained in round two, was timely.
Cowwarr however won’t have to worry about several of Yarram’s first choice players this week with the likes of Jack Weston, Ben Vardy, Jarryd Swift and Trek Davies all unavailable. The loss of Davies and Weston from the strong Yarram defensive unit will be of real concern for Scholz who was only too aware of the fire power possessed by the Saints who have Shane Morgan, Dale Murphy and Nick Wozniack all capable of kicking a bag. Scholz also suggested putting the clamps on midfield gun Pat Tainsh would be high on his agenda with the Cowwarr star in top form of late.Scott Berechree
Glengarry welcome Gormy to town this week in a match that should see the Pies return to the winners circle for just the second time since these teams met in round three. That clash saw the Pies rack up a season high 28-26-194 but it has been a tough grind for them since. In fact the only team to do it tougher since then was their victim that day and their opponents Saturday.Scott Berechree
Ladder leading Churchill gave finals contenders Traralgon Tyers United a huge reality check last week and will be keen to do the same to fellow finals aspirant Heyfield when they make the trip to the timber-town Saturday. Heyfield are coming off a confidence boosting 140 demolition of Glengarry but face a much sterner test this week.
Heyfield coach, Rick Galea, has made no secret of his desire to get Heyfield back into the post season action and as he said during the week “if we want to play finals and be competitive in finals we need to match it with sides like Churchill.” Galea thought his defensive unit comprising Brayden Woodland, Bradley Berry and Scott Anderson were good match ups for the likes of the Cougars Ben Kearns, Blake Slater and, as Galea called his former premiership team mate Brendan Holt; “Benjamin Button.” Holt continues to ignore his birth certificate and is somehow still getting better.
Galea was confident his side had found a better blend in front of the goals of late with Jesse Bedggood, Charlie Driffield and Jesse Jackway providing a trio of options in their forward 50. Galea also hinted that Churchill defender Jordan Fenech might find himself with a defensive minded forward playing on him with Fenech’s “run and drive in the back third” being something he Roos would need to stop. Joining Fenech on the Heyfield hit list was Cougar coach Chris Williams and his midfield mate Nick Celimna who Galea said had been hitting the scoreboard as well as providing plenty of drive in the middle. That duo are likely have Jack Woodland and Adam Wallace for company Saturday afternoon according to Galea who is anticipating a fierce four quarter contest from his opposition.Scott Berechree
With Tyers highly likely to get the win in their match with Woodside the pressure is really on Sale City in their game at Rosedale. The Bulldogs have dropped their last two matches and a third straight loss would see them fall out of the top five again. Two weeks back the Dogs nearly pinched an away win over Churchill but they failed to back that performance up the week after when outpointed by a Cowwarr side that led at every change on their way to an upset win.
Rosedale are coming off a massive win and will look to take that high scoring, free flowing approach into this weeks’ game. With at least three Rosedale forwards capable of kicking a bag it looms as a tough day at the office for the Dogs defensive unit. While City have had their key forward plank, Bohdi Walker, back in the side for a fortnight his return from a hamstring injury has as yet not yielded any wins. Walker, Nick Grainger and Jacob Schuback will need to manufacture north of eight goals between them to kick a winning score.Scott Berechree
Traralgon Tyers United suffered a dirty day on the footy field last week against Churchill. Not only did their senior side go down by 99 points but their ladder leading Reserves side managed only a solitary goal when belted by 144 points and their Thirds, who sat inside the top five, were eclipsed by over three figures as well. The upside for all three sides is that they have the opportunity to turn all that around this week. The senior side slipped outside the top five on the back of their loss but with several of the sides above them playing each other this round the Bombers could well find themselves back where they feel they belong come Saturday afternoon.
Woodside have struggled to score heavily this year and their lack of top end quality is likely to be exposed again this week. Tyers are highly likely to bounce back to the winners stall this week and will want to recoup some of the twenty plus percentage points they gave up last week.Scott Berechree
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All match previews written by Scott Berechree. Edited versions may appear in the Latrobe Valley Express.