BY NATHAN DOLE
SWAN Hill has brought in former Essendon key defender Michael Hurley to play in Saturday’s fourth round of the Central Murray FNL senior footy action.
It’s a massive coup by the Swans to bring in 194 games of AFL experience to a line-up to take on Nyah Nyah West United at Swan Hill Recreation Reserve from 3.30pm.
Hurley started his career with the Bombers as a forward, but it was his defensive craft which earned All-Australian selection in 2015 and ’17.
Hurley missed all of the ’21 season because a serious hip infection.
He fought back through the VFL and played his final AFL match in round 23 last season.
The Swans are eyeing back-to-back wins in the 3SH-backed competition after beating Mallee Eagles at Lalbert.
Zach Mihocek kicked four goals in the Swans victory.
Ruckman Toby Thoolen who played at VFL level with Collingwood is one of the Swans’ most valuable players.
Swan Hill will also look to Wilhem Bennett, Lachlan Joyce, captain Luke Phelan and Matthew Wade to lead the way.
The Demons from Nyah Nyah West United worked hard to keep the heat on Kerang last round.
NNWU was within 15 points at half-time, but Kerang slammed on six goals in the third on the way to an 82-31 result.
The Demons’ attack includes Charlie Boulton, Riley Daniels and Hassan Ahmat-Watkins.
It will be another big test for Blake Larkings in the ruck.
Nyah Nyah West United will also be keen to see Oliver Boulton, Joel Campbell, Zach Threadgold and Joel Walsh build on last week’s form.
The rematch of 2022 grand finalists Kerang and Cohuna Kangas is another highlight of the round.
The Blues and Kangas meet at Kerang’s Riverside Park from 2.30pm.
It’s been a strong start by the Troy Coates-coached Kerang as it chases more premiership glory.
Kerang marked an 82-31 win on Nyah Nyah West United’s turf last round as Michael Dalrymple and Troy Coates kicked four and three goals.
Recruited from Kangaroo Flat, gun ruckman Nic Lang was best afield for the Blues against the Demons.
A powerful Kerang line-up includes Ryan Gillingham and Bradlee Pay in attack, Martin Kelly in the centre, captain Josh Nitschke, and Sam Heavyside.
Cohuna has the scoring power to test the Blues.
Rhys Free kicked seven goals in Cohuna’s win at home against Lake Boga.
Joel Helman, Sam McGlone, Chris Anderson, Luke Conca and Dylan Johnstone were superb for the Kangas.
Cohuna coach Tyson Findlay will stress the importance of maintaining a high level of pressure in this contest.
The Kangas also have the premiership-winning experience of Tom Metherell and Jarrod Findlay.
After a brilliant win against the Woorinen Tigers, Balranald travels to Barham to take on Koondrook Barham.
The Kangaroos will be favourite to take the points against the River Raiders.
Jydon Neagle kicked three goals and was best afield in Balranald’s second win of the season.
The Roos have jumped to the third rung on the ladder and will be determined to stay there.
Players to watch for Balranald include Ethan Gant, Ben and Ian Fuller, Jaxon and Matthew Neagle.
Koondrook Barham could do little to halt Tyntynder’s charge to a big win at Alan Garden Reserve in Swan Hill.
The River Raiders were within 10 points at quarter-time, but the Bulldogs added 6.3 to 1.2 in the second and 4.3 to 1.3 in the third.
A nine-goal blitz by Tyntynder in the final term completed a 149-39 victory.
Koondrook Barham will look for big games from the likes of Mitch Christensen, Harry Burmeister-Lyons, Jordan Bassett in defence, Lachlan Laursen and Scott Wood.
The KB line-up includes Jacob Barrington, Colin McVeigh and Jack Thrum.
Lake Boga is in the Magpies’ nest at Lake Boga Sports Club to play Tyntynder.
The Magpies are on the rebound from a 46-point loss at Cohuna.
A Lake Boga attack which includes David Gourdis and Angus Monfries was kept in check by the Kangas.
The play of Matt Taverna at half-back, Matthew Payne in the centre, Lincoln Sieben across half-forward, and ruck-rover Lochie Laing will be crucial to Lake Boga marking its third win of the season.
Tyntynder was superb against Koondrook Baraham, but the pressure will be much greater in this match.
Matt Corney kicked a match-high five goals and Liam Whelan added four.
The Bulldogs have Jason Eagle to soar at full-forward.
They will play key roles, along with Patrick Blake and Roy George across half-forward, Elliot Broad and Matt Gilbee in defence.
Tooleybuc Manangatang is at Tooleybuc to take on Mallee Eagles.
The Saints had the bye after a 71-point win at Swan Hill the previous round.
Josh Williams kicked eight goals in that match and will be a huge threat to the Eagles.
Key players for Tooleybuc Manangatang include ruckman Tim Auckland, Tom Carland, and half-back flankers Ethan Goldfinch and Gareth Grant.
The Saints named Rory Alexander at centre half-forward, Luke Walsh in the centre, and Jaicob Kenny at full-back.
Mallee Eagles are chasing their first win.
In last Saturday’s match at Lalbert, Mallee hit back from a 28-point deficit at a quarter to go, but it was Swan Hill which claimed a 101-88 victory.
Brent Macleod kicked four goals for the Eagles.
Mallee will look to ruckman Angus McKenzie, ruck-rover Billy O’Meara, Harrison Allen in the centre, Clinton Cummins, and half-back Ayden Tessari to have a big influence on the contest.
Woorinen has the bye.
Central Murray FNL senior footy ladder:
Kerang 463 per cent, 12 points; Woorinen 201, 8; Balranald 145, 8; Cohuna Kangas 142, 8; Lake Boga 93, 8; Nyah Nyah West United 137, 4; Tooleybuc Manangatang 97, 4; Tyntynder 87, 4; Swan Hill 71, 4; Mallee Eagles 41, 0; Koondrook Barham 25, 0.
11 Josh Williams, Tooleybuc Manangatang.
10 Rhys Free, Cohuna Kangas.
10 Bradlee Pay, Kerang.
9 Danko Bzenic, Woorinen.
9 Michael Runciman, Kerang.
8 Charlie Boulton, Nyah Nyah West United.
8 Troy Coates, Kerang.
8 William Collicoat, Woorinen.
7 Luke Conca, Cohuna Kangas.
7 Jack Donat, Cohuna Kangas.
6 Michael Dalrymple, Kerang.
6 Liam Whelan, Tyntynder.
6 Liam White, Nyah Nyah West United.
5 Doug Beames, Woorinen.
5 Matt Corney, Tyntynder.
5 David Gourdis, Lake Boga.
5 Brent Macleod, Mallee Eagles.
5 Zach Mihocek, Swan Hill.