HDFNL Football | Week 1 Finals PREVIEW


Blues face Hoppers as Dogs and Demons fight to stay in race

MOUNT Pleasant and Colbinabbin meet in consecutive weeks as North Bendigo and White Hills fight to stay in the premiership race in this weekend’s start to senior footy finals in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League.

Separated by just two points in both of their home and away matches, Mount Pleasant and Colbinabbin will contest Saturday’s qualifying final at Lockington.

A week ago it was the Blues who fought back from 20 points down at the start of the final quarter to win 74-42 on Colbinabbin’s ground at M.J. Morgan Reserve.

In round nine, Mounts marked an 84-82 win against the Grasshoppers at Toolleen.

A key to Saturday’s contest will be centre clearances and stoppages in the wet conditions.

Mounts’ ruckman Chris Down is in great form, along with ruck-rover Billy Mahony and captain Adam Baird.

In midfield, Zebb Murrell and Jesse Tuohey work hard to set up attacks and also support a defence led by Cameron Moore, Bryce Hinneberg and Bailey White.


The Blues line-up jointly coached by Darren Walsh and Adam Baird has the experienced Travis Baird who could play in attack or defence.

The Blues have Ben Weightman as the key target in attack and well supported by Zac Featherby and Dean Tydell.

Colbinabbin’s best in last Saturday’s clash with Mounts included Luke Moore, ruckman Hadleigh Sirett and Logan Fitzgerald.

The Julian Bull-coached Grasshoppers will be determined not to be beaten for a third time in a row by the Blues.

The Colbinabbin attack includes Hugh Barlow, James Brain, Laine Fitzgerald and Stephen Tuohey.

A talented centreline of Will Lowe, Todd Clarke and Jimmy McMurtrie has played well all season, while Tom Hill, Matt Riordan and Ben Barton lead the defence.

Another to watch is ruck-rover Ben Southam.

The winner will meet Lockington Bamawm United in the second semi-final on August 20.


This season’s record between elimination finalists North Bendigo and White Hills stands at one-all after both won at home.

On Sunday the Bulldogs and Demons trek to M.J. Morgan Reserve in Colbinabbin.

The Robert Bennett-coached North Bendigo had the bye last round as White Hills ensured it would stay fifth in a  69-point win at home against Huntly.

The Demons had Mitch Dole and Bayden Fallon lead the attack last week, and also have the marking power of Liam Bartels and Matt Sawyer to test the Bulldogs defence.

North Bendigo’s back six includes Shane Harris, Marcus Rogers, Ryan Alford and Sam Demeo.

Key forward Dylan Klemm kicked nine goals when North Bendigo beat White Hills by 47 points in round 12.

Although he played limited minutes in the round 17 match against Mount Pleasant, Hakeem Johnson was named in the Bulldogs attack.

Johnson has kicked 22 goals in seven matches and strengthens an attack that includes Jordan Ford, Storm Giri and Matt Gray.


Bulldogs’ captain Aarryn Craig will play his first match since he injured an ankle in round 15 at Huntly.

North Bendigo will aim to capitalise on the tapwork of ruckman Jeremy Lambden through the play of Nathan Newlan, Manny Thalasinos and Nic Waterson.

A huge plus for the Jack Fallon-coached White Hills is the return of tough onballer Brady Childs.

A premiership-winning player with Shepparton Swans and former coach at South Bendigo, Childs adds plenty of experience to the Demons line-up.

He has not played since injuring his hand against Mount Pleasant in round 11.

When the Demons beat North Bendigo in round three it was Cohen Kekich, four goals; captain Rhys Irwin, Mitch Walsh and Patrick Eefting who led the way.

Jack Fallon’s run and creativity off half-back is a huge plus for the red and black, along with the defensive work of Ben Bacon and Jake Dickens.

The Demons also have the experienced Gavin Bowles and David Wright capable of playing a variety of roles.


In the reserves competition, Mount Pleasant and Heathcote will play in Saturday’s qualifying final.

The Blues beat the Saints by margins of 39 and 63 points in the regular season.

The winner takes on White Hills in the second semi-final.

It’s the Bulldogs against the Cats when North Bendigo plays LBU in the reserves elimination final.

This season’s meetings have been decided by four points.

The Cats won 64-60 at Lockington in round seven, and the Bulldogs won 54-50 in the 16th round.

First of the league’s footy finals will be the under-18s qualifying final between White Hills and Lockington Bamawm United.

The Demons beat LBU by margins of 34 and 11 points in the run to the finals.

The winner will meet North Bendigo in the second semi-final.

On Sunday, Colbinabbin has home ground advantage in the under-18s elimination final against Leitchville Gunbower.

The Grasshoppers beat the Bombers by 10 points at Colbinabbin in round six.

Next time it was the Bombers who soared to 17-point victory in the round 15 showdown at the Gunbower ground.


Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:

Lockington Bamawm United 210 per cent, 60 points; Mount Pleasant 168, 52; Colbinabbin 155, 50; North Bendigo 136, 42; White Hills 89, 32; Heathcote 93, 28; Elmore 62, 12; Huntly 60, 8; Leitchville Gunbower 42, 4.


Leading goalkickers:

65 Ben Weightman, MP.

53 Darcy Laffy, Elm.

51 Dylan Klemm, NB.

44 Anthony McMahon, LBU.

42 Liam Bartels, WH.

41 James Brain, Colbo.

37 Braden Padmore, H’cote.

36 Jed Brain, Colbo.

31 Thomas Leech, LBU.

30 Billy Hawken, LG.

28 Jarod Bacon, LBU; Matt Gray, NB.

27 Kai Cavallaro, H’cote.

26 Jordan Ford, NB.

24 Ben Fulford, LBU.

23 Rhys Woodland, LBU.

22 Mitch Bennett, MP; Jack Brooks, H’cote; Laine Fitzgerald, Colbo., Hakeem Johnson, NB; Stephen Tuohey, Colbo.

21 Tyler Phillips, LBU; Dean Tydell, MP.

19 Blake Azzopardi, LG; Jesse Collins, LBU; Bayden Fallon, WH; Luke Gray, Huntly; Jackson Jones, H’cote.


Written by Nathan Dole.