GRFNL Round 1 Football Preview


Roos tackle Swans at Ultima

ULTIMA takes on Moulamein in Saturday’s start to the Golden Rivers senior footy action.

The Ultima Kangaroos have home-ground advantage for the clash which starts at 2.25pm.

Most recent showdown between these clubs was last September’s second semi-final.

On that day it was Ultima which beat the Swans by 44 points on the Roos’ turf.

Ultima kicked on to the grand final where it could not stop Hay’s charge to premiership glory.

Newcomers to an Ultima squad coached by Kyle Symons include Brodie Bennett and Ryan Featherby, Tyntynder.

The Kangaroos have also gained Lake Boga quartet Lincoln Frost, Cameron Johnson, Matt Taverna and Ricky Wild.

Players to watch for the Roos include Caillum Brady, Thomas Bull, Jake Foster, Mitch and Tyler Makepeace, and Mitchell Seton-Stewart.

At Moulamein it’s Shane Featherby from Tyntynder who is new senior coach.

Newcomers include Trae Atkinson, Tyntynder; Bailey Caruso, William Martin and Andrew May, Deniliquin Rovers; Fletcher Parr, St Mary’s; and Kaleb Richards, Balranald.

The Swans have added Lake Boga’s Mark Drotsky, Xander Hartland and Mitchell Ryan to team up with Cody Storm, Morgan Turvey and Heath Moloney.

Hay will unfurl the ’23 premiership flag in the Lions den before it takes on Murrabit.

The Lions go from hunter to hunted.

Jointly coached by Jason Aylett and Mick Cattanach, Hay will also aim to achieve back-to-back senior flags after last year’s grand final win broke a 28-year drought.

Key players for Hay include Dean Aylett, captain Brad Pocock, Declan Watson, and Daniel and Tim Zambon.

The Lions have recruited Jacob Watson from Caloundra and will have Will Collis and Tom Spence play on permit.

Murrabit will be determined to improve on last season’s win-loss tally of 2-14.

Huge test for the Mick O’Toole-coached Blues as gun goalkicker Damian Cupido who kicked 52 goals in 16 matches is now coaching Maryborough Giants.

Newcomers for Murrabit include the Lake Boga quartet of Patrick Bryan, Beau Dooley, James and Ryan Harvey.

The Blues have also gained Jack Shannahan and Jacob Wade from Mallee Eagles, and Dean Harrop from Nyah Nyah West United.

The play of co-captains Ben Gillingham and Nathan O’Toole, and Teeraphat Khongphueng will be crucial in challenging the Lions in every quarter.

Macorna and Wandella meet in the clash of the Tigers and Bombers.

Paul Longstaff and Scott Wishart team up to coach the yellow and black.

Newcomers for Macorna are the Huntly Hawks trio of Kurt Forder, Koby Gibson and Travis Mercadante, along with Josh MacPherson, UTS Australian FC; and Laing Whinfield, Cowra Blues.

Key players in the run to last season’s first semi included Hunter Anset and Lachlan Ritchie.

The Tigers also have Sam Whinfield up from last season’s under-17 ½ team.

At Wandella it’s Adam Ward and Justin Robinson who will be co-coaches.

A premiership winner at Marong in ’22, Ward marked his first season with Wandella by winning last season’s club best and fairest award.

Ward’s foot skills through the middle and off half-back are a huge plus for the red and black.

Robinson returns to Wandella after two successful seasons at Irymple.

A highlight for Wandella in ’23 was Russell Rich claiming the E.G. Hunt Medal as league fairest and best.

Newcomers for the Bombers include Nathan Boysen, Kerang; John Cooper, Irymple; Kaine O’Donnell, Murrabit; and Connor Wilson.

Fifth in ’23 on a 4-12 record, Wandella will be aiming to fly up the ladder.