BY NATHAN DOLE
STAKES are high as Mount Pleasant takes on North Bendigo at Toolleen in Saturday’s 10th round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL season.
On the rebound from an eight-point loss at Lockington, Mounts will be desperate for the points and to break North Bendigo’s unbeaten run.
A loss would put the Blues, jointly coached by ruck-rover Adam Baird and full-forward Ben Weightman, eight points away from third place and a crucial double chance.
When these clubs met in the season opener it was North Bendigo which fought for a 69-63 win at home.
There are plenty of key match-ups for this contest in which assistant coach Daniel Francis takes charge of the Bulldogs team.
The duel between Weightman and Tim Devereux is set to continue.
At ground level or in the air, Weightman is a daunting opponent.
The Mounts’ attack also has the aptly-named Mitch Rovers roving plenty of contests.
William Wallace has starred in defence for the Blues all season, while Bryce Hinneberg and Michael Whiting will play key roles.
In the absence of Chris Down it’s Mitch Bennett who is likely to be run in the ruck against one of North Bendigo’s most valuable players in Jeremy Lambden.
The Bulldogs had Dylan Klemm kick five goals in last week’s win at Elmore.
The run and skill of Nic Waterson and Riley Paetow through midfield is a big strength for North Bendigo, along with the play of Shane Harris and Ryan Alford in defence.
After an extended break, Leitchville Gunbower is back in action at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street, White Hills.
The Shannon Keam-coached Bombers had won three of four matches in the lead-up to the league’s general bye on the King’s Birthday holiday weekend and then another bye last round.
In round one, White Hills won a low-scoring contest at Leitchville by 37 points.
Jointly coached by Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt, White Hills has grabbed third place on the ladder.
Key players for the Demons include Nic Warnock and Jake Dickens in defence, Kaiden Antonowicz at full-forward, the experienced Matt Sawyer and Brady Childs, and on-ballers Liam Bartels and Patrick Eefting.
A key to LG’s chances will be at centre breaks and stoppages where Jobee Warde, Mitchell Candy and Tom Brereton lead the way.
The Bombers have Chris Horman and Tyler Jones as key targets in attack, the talented Caleb Hislop in the centre, and defence that includes co-captains Hoby Bussey and Jye Keath.
Heathcote is back at Barrack Reserve to take on Colbinabbin.
The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints have worked hard for a 6-2 record and hold second place on the ladder.
Gun forward Corey Grindlay starts the day on 44 goals.
In-form players for Heathcote include Liam Jacques, Braden Padmore, Liam Birch and Thomas Pain.
The Price brothers, Billy and Codie team up, and Jonty Kelly was named on the interchange.
For the Jed Brain-coached Colbinabbin a key will be halting the Saints’ link and run from half-back to attack.
The high-leaping Jasper McArdle has had an outstanding season in the ruck for the Grasshoppers.
Other key players for Colbinabbin include co-captains Will Lowe and David Price, Laine and Logan Fitzgerald, Connor Aldous, and Ben Barton.
Elmore will eye a great chance to mark win number three when it hosts Huntly.
Jointly coached by Dylan Friedberger and Mick Woolhouse, Elmore worked incredibly hard to hold a two-point lead at half-time of last Saturday’s clash with North Bendigo at home.
The Bloods went down by 26 points, but the play of Mitch Carson, Nathan Kay, ruckman Daniel Russell and Rhys Holmberg was superb.
Elmore’s team to tackle the Hawks includes Jordan Buckley, Max Holmberg, Zac Laffy and Nick Kellow.
For the Huntly Hawks this may be their best hope of a breakthrough victory.
Co-coaches Harry Whittle and Jayden Cordy play key roles.
The Hawks will also look to captain Steve Kairn, Abe Sladden, Mitch Billings, Harry McCormick and Lachy Wilson to have a major influence in this match.
Lockington Bamawm United has the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
North Bendigo 145 per cent, 32 points; Heathcote 151, 24; White Hills 141, 24; Mount Pleasant 174, 20; Lockington Bamawm United 116, 16; Leitchville Gunbower 71, 12; Colbinabbin 79, 8; Elmore 66, 8; Huntly 36, 0.
Leaders in the goalkicking race:
44 Corey Grindlay, Heathcote.
38 Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant.
33 Kaiden Antonowicz, White Hills.
26 Jordan Ford, North Bendigo.
24 Dylan Klemm, North Bendigo.
24 Lachy Wilson, Huntly.
22 Chris Horman, Leitchville Gunbower.
22 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.
18 Anthony McMahon, Lockington Bamawm United.
15 Thomas Leech, Lockington Bamawm United.
12 Liam Bartels, WH.
12 Aarryn Craig, North Bendigo.
12 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbinabbin.
12 Hakeem Johnson, North Bendigo.
12 Darcy Laffy, Elmore.
12 Braden Padmore, Heathcote.
12 Cody Riddick, North Bendigo.
11 Liam Birch, Heathcote.
11 Jai Carn, Colbinabbin.
11 Tyler Phillips, Lockington Bamawm United.
10 Bayden Fallon, White Hills.
10 Liam Jacques, Heathcote.
10 Cohen Kekich, White Hills.
10 Riley McIvor, Lockington Bamawm United.
10 Riley McNamara, Mount Pleasant.
10 Nic Warnock, White Hills.