Bulls aim to tame Tigers in grand final rematch at Birchip

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THE rematch of 2019 senior football grand finalists, Birchip Watchem and Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers highlights this Saturday’s round three action in the Goldacres North Central Football League.

Birchip Watchem marks its first home game of the year at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip.

The Bulls won the opening game of 2021 at St Arnaud’s Lord Nelson Park by 76 points and followed up with a 56-point victory at Boort last Saturday.

Birchip Watchem’s attack is led by Daniel Castellano, seven goals; and Matt Berry, four.

In-form players for the Bulls include Ruben Vesikuru, Stefan Pye and Jacob Christie.

Key roles in Birchip Watchem’s defence will be played by Sam Simmons, Dale Hinkley, James Lindeback and Ben Hogan.

A highlight will be in the ruck where the Bulls have Chol Majok up against Ryan O’Sullivan.

The Tigers will be without key forward Billy McInnes, seven goals, but have Wade Donnan, Joel Donnan, Flynn McGarry and Matt Elliott to test the Bulls defence.

Other key players for Sea Lake Nandaly include Luke Martin, Trent Donnan, John Summerhayes and Brody Weir.

The Tigers roared to a 73-54 victory when they last met Birchip Watchem in the grand final played on September 14, 2019.

No matter form or ladder position, Charlton and Wedderburn usually provide a fierce contest.

The Navies will be fired up for Saturday’s clash with the Redbacks at Charlton.

A tough run for Charlton began with a nine-point loss at home to Wycheproof Narraport in round one and then last Saturday’s clash in Tigers’ territory at Sea Lake.

In-form players for Charlton are Thomas Finlay, Aaron Walklate, Jordan Collins, Anthony Judd  and Jack Thompson.

The Navies face a huge task stopping the influence of Jordan Rosengren, best for the Redbacks in both games.

Wedderburn also has Will Holt, Mitch McEwen, Darcy Jackson and Corey Lowry in form.

The Redbacks will look for big games from the likes of Jackson Guan, Danny Benaim and Jordan Hargreaves.

When these clubs met in round 14 of the 2019 season, the Navies won on Wedderburn’s turf by seven points.

Donald takes on Boort at Donald.

Although the Royals will start favourite, the new-look Boort will be confident of taking the points.

Donald won a hard-fought contest at Wycheproof by 26 points as James Coatsworth, Ryan Duncan, Trevor Rumbold and Dane McLennan were best.

The Royals’ attack is led by Seamus Young and Josh Potter.

Other key players for Donald include Ross Young in the centre, ruckman Charlie Campbell, and Nathan Witherow in defence.

The Andy Hawker-coached Boort has worked hard against top teams Sea Lake Nandaly and then Birchip Watchem.

Best for the Magpies in their latest hit-out were rover Matt Chisari, Jack Smith, Jesse Muscatello and Levi Roberts-Moss.

The play of Sam Dewar, Brodie Leonard-Shannon, Braeden Deary, Ben Knight and Cody Gunn will be crucial in the Magpies’ bid to break the season duck.

St Arnaud faces Wycheproof Narraport at Lord Nelson Park in St Arnaud.

It’s the showdown between the Saints and Demons.

St Arnaud’s best in last week’s play were Jason Rogers, Thomas Douglas, Mitch Egan and Tom Bertalli.

The Saints line-up includes Jacob and Brady Tillig, Nick Baldwin, Bailey and Harley Durward.

St Arnaud will need to team well to stop the in-form Lachlan Allison in the Demons attack.

In fifth place on the ladder, Wycheproof Narraport will be desperate for the points.

Players to watch for the Demons include George Turner, Aaron Henneman, Jed Bish, James Coatsworth, Michael Delany and Rhylie Botheras.

North Central FL senior ladder:

Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers 548 per cent, 8 points; Birchip Watchem 306, 8, Wedderburn 167, 6; Donald 126, 6; Wycheproof Narraport 83, 4; Boort 30, 0; St Arnaud 29, 0; Charlton 28, 0.

Written by Nathan Dole

Background photo credit: 1mile2go Photography

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