BY NATHAN DOLE
WHITE Hills will aim to end Mount Pleasant’s winning run and season in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL senior footy preliminary final on Saturday.
A grand final berth is at stake as the Demons and Blues meet at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve from 2.15pm.
This season’s meetings stand at one-all.
It’s been a one-one result for the Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt-coached White Hills in the finals series.
The Demons fired up for a 40-point win against North Bendigo in the qualifying final at Pigeon Park in Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.
White Hills could not stop Heathcote charging into the grand final as the Saints won the second semi at Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Oval by 15 points.
It’s been a must-win situation for Mount Pleasant all finals series.
Jointly coached by Adam Baird and Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant scored an 84-58 win against Leitchville Gunbower in the elimination final at Hibo Hotel Oval in North Bendigo.
The Blues withstood a final-quarter fightback by North Bendigo for an 88-74 victory in last Sunday’s first semi at Elmore.
Despite being without the competition’s leading goalkicker in Ben Weightman who is facing back surgery, Mounts have found a way in attack.
A star in the first semi victory was Mitch Rovers who kicked three goals and used his pace and skill to great effect when moved to an on-ball/midfield role.
Whether in attack or on-ball, Rovers is capable of doing plenty of damage from limited chances.
A strong on-ball division for Mounts is led by captain Chris Down and includes Adam Baird and Riley McNamara.
They will be up against Nathan Moffat, Tom Brereton and Liam Bartels.
In defence the Blues have William Wallace, Bryce Hinneberg and Caelan Smith to play key roles against the likes of James Davies, Kaiden Antonowicz and Mitch Dole.
Zach Charles and Zebb Murrell kicked two goals in the second semi and it’s been the spread of goalkickers which has played a big part in the Blues’ run.
Players to watch for White Hills include Brady Childs in the centre, Eli Pearce on a wing, captain Rhys Irwin, Nic Warnock and Patrick Eefting.
In the reserves, Mount Pleasant takes on North Bendigo from 11.50am.
After finishing on top of the ladder and a week’s rest, Mount Pleasant was beaten by two points in the second semi-final clash with White Hills.
North Bendigo bounced back from a 59-53 loss to White Hills in the qualifying final to record a 28-point win against Huntly in the first semi.
It’s one-all in this season’s meetings between the Blues and Bulldogs.
Mount Pleasant won 61-52 at North Bendigo in round one.
A great contest in the 10th round ended in a 74-68 victory for the Bulldogs at Toolleen.
Key players for the Tyler McNamara-coached Mount Pleasant include Coby Dunlop, Zac Featherby, Jackson Hufer and Ryan Pontell.
The Blues’ line-up includes Jaxson Nihill, Mason Wakefield.
North Bendigo’s team is bolstered by the return of Bailey Wingrave, but the Dogs are without Jack Francis who was best afield last Sunday because of the games quota.
Jonas Somerville is a key target in attack for the Damien Webb-coached North Bendigo.
Jack Towers, Pat Bogers, Denzel Cooper and Lucas Keating have been among the most consistent for the red, white and blue.
Preliminary final day kicks off with the under-18s clash between White Hills and Huntly at 9.45am.
White Hills won the qualifying final against Heathcote by 28 points, but is on the rebound from a three-goal loss to North Bendigo in the second semi.
It’s been a great run by the Harlowe Huntly Hawks who won the elimination final against Lockington Bamawm United by 37 points.
The brown and gold beat Heathcote by 15 points in the first semi.
This season’s meetings between the Demons and Hawks stand at two-nil in favour of the Demons.
The Rob Lowes and Doolan Nihill-coached White Hills won on Huntly’s turf in round eight by 13 goals, and 60-38 at Winslow Constructors Oval in the 17th round.
Players to watch for the Demons include Seth Boyd, captain Macauley Johnson, Isaac Meersbergen and Jack Monaghan.
The Demons also have Harry Sheilds in attack.
The young Hawks are coached by Aaron Wheelhouse and Mitch Billings.
Best in Huntly’s latest victory were Drew Costigan, Hunter Connors, Ethan Oaten, Daniel Artvailla, Pat Henderson and Josh Trotter.
The Hawks’ team for Saturday includes Archer Billings, Nathaniel Keune and Jett Rowell.