HDFNL Round 9 Football Preview | Grand finalists clash at Lockington


IT’S taken until round nine, but the rematch of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL senior footy grand finalists of ’22 in Lockington Bamawm United and Mount Pleasant is on this Saturday.

LBU has home-ground advantage at Lockington for such a pivotal clash for both clubs on the return from a general bye for the King’s Birthday holiday weekend.

Both teams have changed markedly since LBU beat the Blues by three goals in last September’s decider at Huntly.

The Cats have 11 of last year’s premiership team in action.

Among them are Brodie and Jesse Collins, Riley McIvor, Tyler Phillips, Anthony McMahon and Joseph Wolfe.

A 3-4 record has the Stacy Fiske-coached LBU in fifth place and under pressure from a resurgent Leitchville Gunbower.

The Cats scored a 15-goal win against Elmore in round eight as Rhys Bradley, Thomas Eade, Brock Kennedy and Thomas Leech were among the best.

LBU’s chances will hinge greatly on denying chances for Mounts’ gun forwards Ben Weightman and Mitch Rovers.

The Blues had the bye in round seven after a 99-52 win at Elmore.

Jointly coached by gun on-baller Adam Baird and Ben Weightman, Mounts is second on a 5-2 record.

The Blues will be without ruckman Chris Down, but have Mitch Bennett to step up.

A strong defence is led by William Wallace and Bryce Hinneberg.

White Hills is home at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street to take on Colbinabbin.

Family day for White Hills includes the big freeze sliders as a fund-raiser for the Fight MND campaign.

Among those taking the slide will be senior co-coach Jack Fallon.

On field the Demons will turn up the heat as they strive to improve on a  5-2 record and make it increasingly difficult for Colbinabbin to qualify for the finals.

The attacking power of the Hillies was on show as they scored 27 goals at Huntly last round.

A strong forward line for the red and black includes Kaiden Antonowicz, James Davies, Bayden Fallon and Cohen Kekich.

Captain Rhys Irwin provides plenty of dash off half-back, while Liam Bartels and Nic Warnock were best in the win againt the Hawks.

Colbinabbin is on the rebound from a 14-point loss at home to Leitchville Gunbower.

The Jed Brain-coached Grasshoppers will look to co-captains William Lowe and David Price, young ruckman Jasper McArdle, Laine and Logan Fitzgerald, Connor Aldous and Luke Moore to lead the way to an upset  victory in the den.

Elmore is at home to face the unbeaten North Bendigo.

Jointly coached by Dylan Friedberger and Mick Woolhouse, Elmore was 2-1 after three rounds.

The ability of the Bloods to win or negate the Bulldogs’ attacks from centre clearances will be crucial.

Best for the Bloods in their clash at Lockington were Mychael Baker, Rhys Holmberg and Nathan Kay.

Elmore will look to Darcy Laffy to lead the attack and ruckman Daniel Russell to dominate contests.

North Bendigo’s run kept rolling in a hard-fought 17-point win against Heathcote in the eighth round.

A high for the Bulldogs was the play of athletic young forward Cody Riddick inside the forward 50m arc, but also pushing up to win contests in midfield and across half-back.

An attack that includes Jordan Ford, Hakeem Johnson and Dylan Klemm caps off the hard work by the likes of Jack Francis, Jake Hall, Nathan Newlan and Nic Waterson.

Heathcote is back on home turf at Barrack Reserve to take on Huntly.

Inclusions for the Andrew Saladino-coached Saints are Billy Price, Kai Cavallaro and Henry McCarthy.

A high in Heathcote’s run to a 5-2 record and third place is its link and run from half-back and midfield to an attack where Corey Grindlay has starred by kicking 41 goals.

Players to watch for the Saints include captain Codie Price off half-back, William Direen at full-back, versatile on-baller Braden Padmore, ruck-rover Liam Jacques, and Mitch McLean.

For the Jayden Cordy and Harry Whittle-coached Huntly a key will be to limit the Saints’ gun and run style.

It’s a daunting task to do across four quarters.

Key players for the Hawks include Jackson Fry in the ruck, Whittle in the centre, Ryan Burt and Steve Kairn across half-back, Lachy Wilson and Abe Sladden in attack.

Leitchville Gunbower has the bye.

Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:

North Bendigo 144 per cent, 28 points; Mount Pleasant 185, 20; Heathcote 140, 20; White Hills 138, 20; Lockington Bamawm United 116, 12; Leitchville Gunbower 71, 12; Colbinabbin 83, 8; Elmore 66, 8; Huntly 36, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race:

41 Corey Grindlay, Heathcote.

37 Ben Weightman, Mount Pleasant.

29 Kaiden Antonowicz, White Hills.

26 Jordan Ford, North Bendigo.

22 Chris Horman, Leitchville Gunbower.

20 Mitch Rovers, Mount Pleasant.

20 Lachy Wilson, Huntly.

19 Dylan Klemm, North Bendigo.

17 Anthony McMahon, Lockington Bamawm United.

15 Thomas Leech, Lockington Bamawm United.

12 Aarryn Craig, North Bendigo.

12 Hakeem Johnson, North Bendigo.

12 Darcy Laffy, Elmore.

12 Cody Riddick, North Bendigo.

11 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbinabbin.

11 Tyler Phillips, Lockington Bamawm United.

10 Riley McIvor, Lockington Bamawm United.

10 Riley McNamara, Mount Pleasant.

10 Nic Warnock, White Hills.