A DESPERATE Mount Pleasant takes on North Bendigo in this Saturday’s seventh round of Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League senior footy action at Toolleen.
After an extensive recruiting campaign, Mounts was considered by many league pundits as a team to watch in 2021.
So far the Blues have a 2-3 record and are sixth on the ladder, but only six per cent behind the fifth-placed Huntly Hawks.
The Blues will be hoping gun onballer Adam Baird, 2019 Michelsen medallist and premiership star with Golden Square, is on-field this week.
Also in for Mounts are Rhys Deacon and Cameron Moore, but Tyler McNamara, Patrick O’Brien and key defender Dale Young are out.
Mounts have been well beaten by Lockington Bamawm United and White Hills and face a Matt Dillon-coached Bulldogs line-up which is third and up for the fight to stay there.
A key for the Darren Walsh-coached Blues will be quick transition to the forward 50m where Ben Weightman, 21 goals, will test the Bulldogs defence.
Should Weightman be kept in check it may be a battle for the Blues to post a winning score.
Next best in the goalkicking stakes for Mounts are Deacon, six; Bryce Hinneberg, five; Daniel Davie and Daniel Whiting, four.
A tight-knit Bulldogs defence is led by Jordan Ford, Daniel Reid, Sam Demeo and Jonas Somerville.
Midfield and onball duels will be a highlight as the Blues have Daniel Whiting, Billy Mahony, Adam Baird and Liam Collins to take on Ryan Gow, Harry O’Meara, Aarryn Craig and Koe Ngawati.
Blues’ defenders Mitch Bennett, Moore, Travis Baird and Jack Hetherington are up against the marking power of Dylan Klemm, Shane Harris and Brodie Thomson, and ground level play of Storm Giri and Brayden Oates.
The Bulldogs have brought in Tae Henry, Jack Towers and Tom Tavaga for Andrew Bennett, experienced defender Tom Metherell, and Manny Thalasinos.
Colbinabbin and Heathcote meet on the Grasshoppers’ turf at M.J. Morgan Reserve.
The Grasshoppers were within a kick of North Bendigo when the siren sounded to end the clash on the Bulldogs’ turf at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street.
Ins for Colbo are Joe Barlow, Seamus Bromley, Tom Hill and Matt Riordan, but star onballer Todd Clarke and key forward Ryan Hon are out.
Colbo ruckman Lochlan Sirett was outstanding against the Bulldogs.
Sirett’s tapwork and marking strength will test the Saints.
Others to watch for the Grasshoppers include Clint Shields and Jed Brain in attack; onballers Ben Southam and Lachlan Ezard; Nick Knight in defence, and Alex Van Ruiswyk in midfield.
The Saints had the bye after they played extremely well in an 11-point loss to North Bendigo at Pigeon Park in Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.
Kai Cavallaro kicked three goals against the Bulldogs and has a season tally of 10.
The Saints will look to Jackson Jones, Mitch McLean and Thomas Pain to capitalise on scoring chances.
Heathcote’s best in its latest hit-out were Mitch McLean, Jackson Jones, Darcy McLean, Joe Langford, Thomas Pain and Liam Edwards.
The Wayne Primmer-coached Saints will also look for big games from the likes of Billy and Codie Price, Matt Mikic, Will Long and Jake Condon.
After consecutive wins, Elmore faces a massive test on home turf against White Hills.
The Dylan Friedberger-coached Bloods followed up a one-point against Huntly by scoring a 50-point victory on Leitchville Gunbower’s turf at Leitchville.
The season kicked off with a stand-alone match between the Demons and Bloods at White Hills.
Played under lights it was White Hills which dominated in a 141-29 result.
Elmore’s play has lifted markedly since then and this time gun recruit Jarrod Stokes is in the Bloods’ midfield.
A star in the Northern Territory with Darwin Buffaloes, Stokes marked his first match for the club by dominating the first half against the Bombers.
Key players for Elmore include captain James Harney in attack, Mitchell Cricelli, Zac Holmberg, Ben Makepeace, Lachlan McKenzie and Jack Trewick.
James Atkinson is in to replace Ian Fuller, broken arm.
Elmore will need to sustain plenty of pressure against a slick White Hills line-up.
The unbeaten Demons had Jed Lamb kick 14 goals against Mounts for a season tally of 48.
There is plenty of goalkicking power for White Hills as Mitch Dole, Marc Millard and Matt Sawyer are capable of setting up and finishing off attacks.
The run and teamwork of defenders such as Jack Fallon, Hayden Wright and Rhys Irwin is among many strengths of the Sam Kerridge-coached White Hills.
Lockington Bamawm United and Leitchville Gunbower do battle at Nichol Trading Oval in Lockington.
The LBU Cats will be determined not to be caught napping after they faced deficits of 22 and 10 points at half-time and three quarter-time of last Saturday’s clash at Huntly.
Ins for the Cats are Lachlan Atherton, Nathan Bacon, Lachlan Collins and Ben McPhee for coach Brodie Collins, Jesse Collins, Tom Holman and Zac Zula.
A strong LBU attack includes Patrick Gardiner, Tyler Phillips and James McPhee.
The Bombers have struggled for goals all season.
Ayden Walton and Billy Hawken lead LG’s goalkicking list on five and four.
Outgunned in the first half by Elmore, Leitchville Gunbower fought back strongly as onballer Will Brereton, Tom Brereton, Josh Hawken and Brett Johnson led the way.
A Bombers defence that includes Nathan McLellan, Alex Keath, Abel Prout and Bailey Taylor faces a daunting task.
The Bombers will be without the in-form Will Brereton for this match.
All senior matches start at 2.15pm.
Huntly has the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder after six rounds:
White Hills 277 per cent, 24 points; Lockington Bamawm United 246, 20; North Bendigo 105, 16; Colbinabbin 136, 12; Huntly 85, 8; Mount Pleasant 79, 8; Elmore 55, 8; Heathcote 81, 4; Leitchville Gunbower 38, 0.
Written by Nathan Dole