Cats race Blues to reach grand final first
IT’S a race between Lockington Bamawm United and Mount Pleasant to be first to the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s senior footy grand final.
The Cats and Blues clash in this Saturday’s second semi-final at Gunbower.
Beaten just once in the regular season, LBU’s run included wins against Mounts by margins of 11 and 23 points.
In round six, LBU led 78-67 at three quarter-time on the Blues’ turf at Toolleen and then scored 6.4 to 3.2 in the last term.
Best for LBU in that win were Jesse Collins, Lachlan Atherton, Tyler Phillips and Jeremy Mundie.
Fletcher White, Mitch Bennett, Adam Baird and Billy Mahony were best for Mount Pleasant.
In the 15th round, LBU raced to a 32-nil by quarter-time at Lockington.
The Blues were within 19 points at half-time, but LBU charged to a 39-point lead by the final change.
Tyler Phillips, Jarod Bacon, Riley McIvor and Lachlan Atherton were best.
Mount Pleasant’s best were Ben Weightman, Sam Greene, Adam Baird and Chris Down.
As LBU had a rest on week one of the finals, Mount Pleasant marked a 94-68 victory in the qualifying final against Colbinabbin.
Highs for the Blues were the play of ruckman Chris Down, ruck-rover Billy Mahony, Jesse Tuohey, and Travis Baird.
A huge challenge for Mounts will be stopping the Cats’ onball brigade.
LBU ruckman Tyler Phillips was a runaway winner of the Sam Cheatley Medal for league fairest and best on 34 votes.
It was back-to-back league honours for the league star who will be primed for a crucial showdown with Chris Down.
At ground level, LBU has Harley Cobb and Jesse Collins.
There are plenty of goalkicking options for the Brodie Collins-coached Cats who have had Rhys Woodland, Thomas Leech and Anthony McMahon to the fore in many matches.
The Mounts’ defence is led by Bryce Hinneberg, Bailey and Fletcher White, and Sam Greene.
Across midfield it will be Jacob Gardiner, Nathan Bacon and Bart Phillips who take on the Blues’ Zebb Murrell, Adam Baird and Pat O’Brien.
A Michelsen medallist and premiership winner in his time with Golden Square, Adam Baird’s skill and non-stop run will be a huge threat to LBU.
The Cats’ defence also has to contend with the classy Ben Weightman, Jesse Tuohey, and strength of Dean Tydell who play key roles for a team jointly coached by Darren Walsh and Adam Baird.
On Sunday it will be Colbinabbin against White Hills in the first semi-final at Toolleen.
It’s another knockout scenario for White Hills, but the Demons have faced that for many weeks now.
This season’s meetings between the clubs stand at two-nil in favour of Colbinabbin.
The Grasshoppers won at home by 65 points in round four as Laine Fitzgerald and James Brain kicked five goals each to be among the best with Hadleigh Sirett and Jed Brain.
Best for White Hills in that match were David Wright, Ben Bacon, coach Jack Fallon and Brady Childs.
In the 13th round the margin at the quarter breaks was one, one, two points in favour of Colbinabbin.
The Grasshopper scored 5.2 to nil in the last term at the Demons’ den in Scott Street.
Logan Fitzgerald, David Price, Todd Clarke and Stephen Tuohey were best.
Liam Bartels kicked four goals to be among the best for White Hills with Ben Bacon, David Wright and Jack Fallon.
Colbinabbin will be fired up after a 26-point loss to Mount Pleasant in the qualifying final.
Key players for the Julian Bull-coached Grasshoppers include Ben Barton and Stephen Tuohey across half-forward, Todd Clarke in the centre, Tom Hill at full-back, and captain David Price.
An attack that has James and Jed Brain as key targets will test the Demons.
Colbinabbin will also look to Matt Riordan, Ben Southam and Laine Fitzgerald to play big games.
Plenty of Demons’ players will have key roles, including Nathan Moffat in the ruck.
The fighting spirit of the Demons was to the fore as they turned a 20-point deficit in the third quarter of the elimination final against North Bendigo into a 16-point victory.
James Davies was in superb touch as he kicked six goals and veteran Matt Sawyer added three.
White Hills has the run and dare of Jack Fallon and captain Rhys Irwin off half-back, the toughness of Brady Childs and Patrick Eefting at centre ball-ups and stoppages.
Other players to watch in the red and black include Jake Dickens, Mitch Dole, Bayden Fallon, Blake Hogan, Cohen Kekich and Nic Wallace.
The experience of Gavin Bowles and David Wright is a huge plus for the White Hills line-up.
It’s a showdown between White Hills and Mount Pleasant in the reserves second semi-final.
The Demons beat the Blues by 37 points in round two and by 37 in the 11th round.
White Hills has a 15-1 record and a talented squad that includes Dean and Rohan Bowles, Nic Wharton and captain Jason Clark.
Best for Mount Pleasant in the qualifying final win were James Walsh, Jackson Hufer, Jacob Hopley and Jack Teasdale.
First up on Saturday will be North Bendigo against White Hills in the under-18s clash.
Only defeat for the Bulldogs in the run to the finals was in round three when the Demons won 78-49 at the Scott Street ground.
North Bendigo marked a 25-point victory in round 12 at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street.
Players to watch for the Bulldogs include Nathan Anderson and Riley Paetow who were joint runners-up for the David Roulton Medal as the league’s fairest and best.
Cody Riddick has kicked 110 goals and his athleticism and marking ability will test the Demons defence.
The Bulldogs also have the Barilari brothers, Zandyr and Brandyn, and ruckman Jack Pysing.
White Hills scored a one-goal win against LBU in the qualifying final as Seth Boyd, Samuel Lowes, Dylan Arnold and Andrew Beens were best.
The Demons’ attack is led by Zavia Roberts, 34 goals.
The reserves first semi-final on Sunday features Heathcote against Lockington Bamawm United.
The Saints have won both previous clashes with the Cats by 67 points and a goal.
Heathcote’s best in the qualifying final were Lachlan Freeman Taber, Vincent Romagnano, Flynn Pianta-Cook and Caleb Luscombe.
The LBU Cats scored a 13-point victory in the elimination final against North Bendigo as Josh Griggs, Sam Wolfe, Jamie Maddison and Zac Felmingham led the way.
Lockington Bamawm United will take on Leitchville-Gunbower in the under-18s first semi-final.
The Cats beat the Bombers by 34 points in round three, and by 70 in the 12th round.
LBU’s best in the qualifying final were Cooper Mitchell, Bowden Stone, Baxter Anderson and Hayden Quincey.
A one-goal win against Colbinabbin in the elimination final kept the Bombers in the premiership race.
A talented line-up for LG includes Oskar Smartt, Silas Kingma, Bodhi Chique and Darby Jones.
Schedule for Saturday’s second semi-finals at Gunbower:
Under-18s at 9.45am: North Bendigo v White Hills.
Reserves at 11.50am: White Hills v Mount Pleasant.
Seniors at 2.15pm: Lockington Bamawm United v Mount Pleasant.
Schedule for Sunday’s first semi-finals at Toolleen:
Under-18s at 9.45am: Lockington Bamawm United v Leitchville-Gunbower.
Reserves at 11.50am: Heathcote v Lockington Bamawm United.
Seniors at 2.15pm: Colbinabbin v White Hills.
Written by Nathan Dole.