BY NATHAN DOLE
LADDER leaders Kerang and Balranald clash in this Saturday’s start to the sixth round of senior footy in the Central Murray FNL season.
The Blues and Kangaroos will be primed for a fierce contest at Kerang’s Riverside Park from 2.30pm.
Unbeaten in its pursuit of back-to-back premierships, Kerang will start favourite to take the points.
The Troy Coates-coached Blues won a closely-fought match at Tyntynder last round.
Kerang had to work incredibly hard to mark a 63-59 win against the Bulldogs.
Best for the Blues were Josh Hann, Jesse Clark, Rylee Smith and Josh Nitschke.
A talented Kerang line-up includes Michael Dalrymple and Sam Heavyside in attack, Ryan Gillingham, Ashley Davis and Martin Kelly.
Balranald kept the unbeaten run rolling in an 85-70 result against Lake Boga.
Best for the Roos in that contest were Ethan Gant, Jack Salau, Jaxon and Jydon Neagle.
Key players for the Roos include ruck-rover Matt Neagle, Nathan Ablett at centre half-back, Ben Fuller and Drew Lloyd in attack, and Jack Salau in a back pocket.
Tooleybuc Manangatang is at home to take on Cohuna Kangas.
Saints’ goalkicker Joshua Williams leads the CM goalkicking race on 18 and will test the Kangas’ defence.
The Saints are on the rebound from a 107-79 loss to Nyah Nyah West United in the Demons’ den at Nyah.
In-form players for Tooleybuc Manangatang include Blake and Mitchell Grant, and Johnathan Marsden.
The Saints have Tim Auckland in the ruck, while Jack Mazzarella will play a crucial role as ruck-rover against Cohuna coach Tyson Findlay.
Runner-up last season, Cohuna is seventh and desperate to improve its 2-3 record.
The Kangas could not stop Swan Hill’s charge to a 51-point win at Cohuna last round.
Cohuna will look for big games from the likes of Daniel Coates on a wing, Brenton Conforti at full-back, rover Sam McGlone, plus Jarrod Findlay, Tom Metherell and Will Thrum to achieve a much-needed win.
It’s a big test for Lake Boga on home turf at Lake Boga Sports Club against Woorinen.
The fifth-placed Lake Boga is level on points, but more than 125 per cent behind the third-placed Woorinen.
Best for the Magpies in the 70-85 loss at Balranald were Jacob Simpson, Lincoln Sieben, Jake Warren and Tyle Williams.
Lake Boga has David Gourdis, Jayden Lonergan and Angus Monfries as key targets in attack.
The Pies will need Fraser and Roy Colville, Matt Taverna and Ricky Wild to defend well.
Woorinen had Josh Domaille, Lachlan Warburton, Angus Butterfield and Mitchell Uhlhorn lead the way in a 129-36 victory against Koondrook Barham in Tigers’ territory.
Players to watch in the yellow and black include Robert Rush on a wing, Doug Beames and Will Collicoat in attack, and ruck-rover Lochie Laing.
After a bye, Mallee Eagles are back on home turf at Lalbert to play Nyah Nyah West United.
In round five, Mallee won 87-39 at Tooleybuc as Darcy and Harry McGregor, Matthew Despott and Zac O’Meara starred for the Eagles.
The Eagles’ line-up includes Joe Halloran at full-back, Ayden Tessari at centre half-back, rover Kayne Davidson, and Angus McKenzie in the ruck.
Beat Mallee and the NNWU line-up is a strong chance to move into the top five.
The Demons’ best in a 28-point win against Tooleybuc Manangatang were Brayden Bigham, Jarrod Stokes, Charlie Boulton and Nicholas O’Neill.
NNWU’s team for this match includes Brandyn Grenfell, a century goalkicker for Marong which has the bye in this weekend’s Loddon Valley FNL action.
Other key players for the Demons include Riley Daniels in the ruck, Ben Shadbolt in the centre, Nic O’Neill and Joel Walsh in defence.
Round six will be completed on King’s Birthday holiday weekend when Swan Hill plays Tyntynder on June 10 from 6pm at Swan Hill Recreation Reserve.
Koondrook Barham has the bye.
Central Murray FNL senior footy ladder:
Kerang 267 per cent, 20 points; Balranald 201, 16; Woorinen 233, 12; Swan Hill 108, 12; Lake Boga 106, 12; Nyah Nyah West United 117, 8; Cohuna 95, 8; Tyntynder 79, 4; Tooleybuc Manangatang 76, 4; Mallee Eagles 59, 4; Koondrook Barham 22, 0.
Leaders in the goalkicking race:
18 Josh Williams, Tooleybuc Manangatang.
14 Bradlee Pay, Kerang.
13 Ben Fuller, Balranald.
12 Danko Bzenic, Woorinen.
12 Michael Runciman, Kerang.
11 Charlie Boulton, Nyah Nyah West United.
11 Troy Coates, Kerang.
11 William Collicoat, Woorinen.
11 Rhys Free, Cohuna.
10 David Gourdis, Lake Boga.
10 Jose Miliado, Swan Hill.
9 Jydon Neagle, Balranald.
8 Doug Beames, Woorinen.
8 Luke Conca, Cohuna.
8 Jack Donat, Cohuna.
8 Drew Lloyd, Balranald.
8 Brent Macleod, Mallee Eagles.
8 Zach Mihocek, Swan Hill.