Speed Field Days Mallee Football League Round 5 Preview
by Jim Gordon
BEULAH V HOPETOUN
Beulah at home has been a tough assignment for Hopetoun in recent years and their Round 5 clash at Beulah this week should be no exception. Both sides are in winning form, both have talent all over the ground and both have the ability and potential to play a big part in this year’s final series.
Early days yet, but the signs are good for the Devils and they will go into this game undefeated and chock full of confidence. Likewise, the Blues are always a force to be reckoned with and are consistently near the top of the ladder during the season and at finals time. They will not be easy to defeat.
Last week Jeparit Rainbow simply could not control Kain Robins at centre half forward and whoever the Blues line up on him will be in for a torrid time. Robins absolutely dominated the game against the Lakers and ended up with nine goals.
Hopetoun has been very well served by their recruits this year. Newcomer Anthony Baker is a valuable onballer, Kyle Gainsford and Jake Roberts are playing well in defence and Liam Price’s rebound and pace off the half back line is giving the Devils a lot of drive. Luke Carr is providing a good alternative to Kain Robins in attack.
There are a couple of injury concerns at Hopetoun including Simon Cook who will probably miss a couple of weeks with a bad ankle injury. However they should regain Bryce Wellington, Reid, Antony Kelly and Tom Prideon who all missed last week.
Last week Ouyen United could not match the height or strength of Beulah big man Stephen Saunders. He controlled the ruck all day making it easy for running players such as Jarred Combe, Gareth Hose and Bradley Shannon. David King always has to be watched and Tom Hallam kicked three goals last week.
All in all the Devils are looking like being the side to beat in the Mallee League this year, even if it is very early in the season. They should have too much talent for the Blues, they are a big strong side and boast a lot of fleet-footed players who look for Robins at every opportunity.
OUYEN UNITED V WALPEUP UNDERBOOL
It has been a few years since Walpeup Underbool has defeated Ouyen United, but we may not have to wait much longer. Things are different this year, the Roos have added to their pool of local talent with some fine imports whereas the Demons have lost far too many good players to be able to bounce back straight away. Nevertheless, we can expect a great battle between these two local rivals.
The Roos are undefeated so far this year, but they have been decimated by injury with a possible four outs this week. Coach Jeremy Rowe injured his hamstring against Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers and will miss, as will Luke Nathan. Club veterans Matt Brown and Scott Munro will also miss, both hurting knees last weekend.
The Demons have had a worse than ordinary start to the year, it has been a disaster and sees them firmly ensconced on the bottom of the ladder. Ouyen United were a much better unit last week against the Blues, and but for some wayward kicking for goal after the first quarter, they could have had the match won by half time. Demon supporters were left ruing missed chances and many posters once Beulah got their game going in the second half.
One good sign for United is that they may not have to make any changes to the side that came close against Beulah. Troy Moncur got through the game, Ben Mole played a blinder and Glenn Joyce and Adam O’Callaghan are improving week by week.
With an ever growing injury list at Walpeup Underbool, this game will be a real test against Ouyen United at Blackburn Park. Games between these two protagonists are always spirited contests with the Demons having the upper hand in the last few seasons. It could be time for a change as the Roos will want a good win under their belt before they take on the Devils in the next round.
WOOMELANG LASCELLES V SEA LAKE NANDALY TIGERS
Near neighbours Woomelang Lascelles and Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers had some great tussles last year with both sides recording wins. This match on Saturday at Woomelang should continue the current trend as it is an incredibly important game for both sides. The Cats have yet to record a win this season and the Tigers would have been bitterly disappointed losing a big game last week against the Roos after leading for almost all day.
It was a cruel loss for the Tigers. They seemed to have control for most of the game starting from their backline where John Guthrie in the back pocket was sensational. Guthrie was as solid as a rock in defence and he was well backed up by Steve Lyons at centre half back. The Zarsoff brothers, Bernie and Terry, were also good contributors across half back and Luke Martin was a consistent contributor whether up forward or on the ball. Matthew McLeod rucked well.
Woomelang Lascelles are having a tough time with injuries. Jason Krueger will be out for another seven weeks, Rohan Coburn and Tim Hanns are under injury clouds. On a more positive note, Mark Charleson may play if he gets through training this week and Harrison Wooding should play.
Jarrod Arentz was in brilliant form up forward bagging four goals against the Roos last week and was unlucky not to have more. Scott Alderton got three and the ever reliable Col Durie chimed in with two, but they were the only multiple goal kickers and the Tigers will be looking for more assistance around the goals for Arentz this week.
The Cats need a win to kick start their season. They have played well in patches, but have yet to put together a consistent four quarter performance from everyone. Even though they are playing away from home, the Tigers should be too good for the Cats and will be looking to consolidate their good start to the season with a win.