BY NATHAN DOLE
A TOP of the ladder clash between White Hills and Mount Pleasant highlights Saturday’s fifth round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL season.
White Hills has home-ground advantage at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street as second takes on first from 2.30pm.
Most recent game in the Demons’ den ended in a thrilling 115-113 win for White Hills under lights against Heathcote.
The Jack Fallon and Jake Pallpratt-coached White Hills showed it’s not just all about attack as it held Elmore to a score of 17 points on the Bloods’ ground last round.
The Demons defence faces another huge challenge in trying to contain the brilliance of Ben Weightman and Mitch Rovers.
Just days after being appointed to a co-coaching role, Weightman kicked 10 goals as the Blues beat Leitchville Gunbower at Toolleen last Saturday.
After making the move from South Bendigo to White Hills, Kaiden Antonowicz has kicked 16 goals which included nine against Heathcote.
A Demons’ attack that includes James Davies, Bayden Fallon and Jake Dickens will be up against William Wallace, Bailey White, Bryce Hinneberg and Michael Whiting.
Captain Rhys Irwin, Brodie Johnson, Eli Pearce and Thomas Brereton starred in the Demons’ win at Elmore.
White Hills veteran Matt Sawyer was in great form against Heathcote and faces another huge task against Chris Down in the ruck duels.
At ground level the Blues have co-coach Adam Baird, Riley McNamara, Nick Butler and Zebb Murrell capable of setting up many attacking moves.
It’s more than premiership points to be won as Colbinabbin hosts North Bendigo at M.J. Morgan Reserve.
The Grasshoppers and Bulldogs feature in the Love The Game marquee match.
A key message being promoted to all players and fans, young and old, is that gambling and sport do not have to go together.
Club and leagues will be spreading the message about the risks of sports gambling, and spreading the message of enjoy sport for what it is.
Love of the game, not the odds, is what AFLCV and leagues across the country are promoting throughout May.
On the field, Colbinabbin’s confidence is up after pushing Lockington Bamawm United to the final last round.
Although the Jed Brain-coached Colbinabbin was beaten 65-58, it was clearly Colbo’s best performance of the season.
Best for the Grasshoppers against the Cats were Logan and Laine Fitzgerald, and Connor Aldous.
Young ruckman Jasper McArdle has regularly featured among Colbo’s best each match and will again play a crucial role against Jeremy Lambden.
The green and gold also have Jed and James Brain, Clint Shields and Stephen Tuohey in attack, co-captains Will Lowe and David Price in the centre and at full-back.
It’s a danger game for the unbeaten North Bendigo.
The Rob Bennett-coached Bulldogs have played well to beat Mount Pleasant, LBU and Huntly, but cannot afford to take the Grasshoppers lightly.
A key in the Bulldogs’ streak is the onball and midfield where Jake Hall, Ben Knight, Nathan Newlan and Billy Robertson provide plenty of run and skill.
An attack that has the athleticism of Dylan Klemm and Cody Riddick, and marking power of Jordan Ford and Matt Gray will be tough for Colbo to stop.
In defence, Shane Harris took many marks in the win against Huntly.
Rested by the bye, Heathcote is back on home turf at Barrack Reserve to take on Elmore.
The Saints showed plenty of fight and skill in their most recent hit-out with the Demons on the White Hills ground.
Key forward Corey Grindlay kicked eight goals in that clash and will be a huge threat to the Bloods.
The Saints regain captain Codie Price on a half-back flank.
After being concussed at White Hills, tough on-baller Liam Jacques was cleared to take on the Bloods.
The Saints’ best against the Demons included Shannon Dowsett and Thomas Pain across half-forward, Joseph Beedle and William Direen in defence, and Braden Padmore in the centre.
Others to watch for the Saints include Liam Birch, Jordan Marcroft, and Rhys Bolton.
The Dylan Friedberger-coached Elmore battled to break through the White Hills defence last round.
The Bloods will need to work hard at clearances and stoppages as the Saints’ gun and run style is a huge strength.
Elmore has co-captain Dylan Gordon, Zack Holmberg and Zac Laffy, to lead the defence, and co-captain Rhys Holmberg, Mychael Baker and Mitch Carson in midfield.
The Bloods will need big games from key forwards Darcy Laffy and Jarrad Kyne to try and match Heathcote’s scoring output.
Leitchville Gunbower is back at Leitchville to face Lockington Bamawm United.
It’s been a tough draw for the Shannon Keam-coached Bombers who face the reigning premier after a tough hit-out with Mount Pleasant at Toolleen.
A highlight of this match will be the ruck duels where the Bombers have the consistent Jobee Warde to take on dual Sam Cheatley medallist Tyler Phillips.
Other key players in the LG team include Tom Brereton, co-captains Hoby Bussey and Jye Keath, Matt and Nathan McLellan.
The Bombers face a huge challenge trying to lessen the impact that LBU captain Brodie Collins, Jeremy Mundie, Baxter Anderson and Thomas Leech have on the contest.
Recruited from Kangaroo Flat, Max Johnson’s play in attack or ruck is a huge plus for the Stacy Fiske-coached Cats.
Huntly has the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
Mount Pleasant 211 per cent, 12 points; White Hills 175, 12; North Bendigo 150, 12; Heathcote 167, 8; Lockington Bamawm United 129, 8; Elmore 91, 8; Colbinabbin 72, 4; Leitchville Gunbower 41, 0; Huntly 39, 0.
24 Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant.
18 Corey Grindlay, Heathcote.
16 Kaiden Antonowicz, White Hills.
14 Lachy Wilson, Huntly.
13 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.
10 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbinabbin.
10 Chris Horman, Leitchville Gunbower.
9 Jordan Ford, North Bendigo.
9 Dylan Klemm, North Bendigo.
9 Darcy Laffy, Elmore.
7 Jordan Buckley, Elmore.
7 Jesse Collins, Lockington Bamawm United.
7 Tyler Phillips, Lockington Bamawm United.
6 Brodie Collins, Lockington Bamawm United.
6 Aarryn Craig, North Bendigo.
6 Thomas Leech, Lockington Bamawm United.
6 Anthony McMahon, Lockington Bamawm United.