Bulls tackle Tigers at Birchip
THE Goldacres North Central Football League’s power clubs of recent seasons, Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers and Birchip Watchem Bulls clash in Saturday’s start to the 2022 senior footy season.
Birchip Watchem will have home-ground advantage when the clash at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip starts at 2.30pm.
In the shortened 2021 season which was abruptly ended by Covid, Sea Lake Nandaly’s sole defeat was to the Bulls in round 10 on June 26 at Sea Lake.
On that occasion the Bulls led 43-24 at half-time, but scores were 57-all at a quarter to go.
A Bill Lee goal in the early minutes of the final term became the match-winner for Birchip Watchem.
Nathan Gordon led the Bulls attack on five goals as Ruben Vesikuru added two.
The Tigers’ leading goalkickers were Kyle Brasser and Kris Stevens, two each.
A run of three consecutive grand final appearances for Birchip Watchem has ended in a 10-point loss to Wycheproof Narraport in 2017, a 34-point defeat inflicted by Wycheproof Narraport a year later, and then a 54-73 loss to Birchip Watchem in the 2019 battle for the premiership cup.
A talented Tigers team to take on the Bulls this Saturday includes Ryan O’Sullivan, Billy McInnes, Bryce Delmenico, and Joel, Kane, Trent and Wade Donnan.
Charlton and Wedderburn meet on the Navies ground at Charlton Park.
When these clubs last met, Wedderburn scored a 70-44 victory as Ben DeAraugo kicked four goals and Ryan Butters chipped in with two.
Charlton’s leading goalkicker was Joe McGrath on three.
The Wedderburn Redbacks marked a win-loss record of 8-2 and a draw to be third last season.
Charlton worked hard for a 4-7 record and fifth place.
Key players for the Navies in the opening round include Tim Hill, Thomas Finlay, Riley Thiesz, Aaron Walklate and Kade Blow.
They are up against a strong Wedderburn line-up that has Jordan Hargreaves in the ruck, Ben DeAraugo in attack, Jackson Guan, Jordan Rosengren and Hamish Winter-Irving capable of racking up many possessions.
The Redbacks also welcome back premiership player Jaran McKay.
It’s the Demons against the Saints as Wycheproof Narraport faces St Arnaud at Wycheproof.
The Boe Bish-coached Wycheproof Narraport will be confident of starting the season with a victory.
Newcomers for the Demons include midfielders Gedd and Koby Hommelhoff and small forward Justin Bateson from Eaglehawk.
When these clubs last met, St Arnaud led 51-27 at half-time on the way to a 73-53 victory.
Nick Baldwin kicked three goals to be among the best with Brad Organ, Billy Lovel and Harley Durward for the Saints.
Boort takes on Donald at Boort Park.
The Andy Hawker-coached Boort is bolstered by the arrival of young ruckman Nathan Twigg from Bears Lagoon Serpentine.
A 4-7 tally left Boort in sixth place last season as Donald overcame a draw and slow start to the season for a 5-4 win-loss tally and fourth place.
Key players in the Boort line-up include rover Matt Chisari, Keiren Wilson, Tom Hawker, Brodie Leonard-Shannon, Jesse Muscatello and Ben Knight.
Donald welcomes back gun onballer Brody Haddow from a successful stint with South Bendigo.
The Royals have the experience of Leigh Burke, Ross Young and Rian McGough to test the Magpies all match.
Other key players for Donald include James Wall and Jordan Bath who were best afield in last season’s 64-44 win on Boort’s turf.
Written by Nathan Dole.