NCFL | Grand Final PREVIEW

Bulls or Royals to break premiership drought

A PREMIERSHIP drought for Birchip Watchem or Donald will be broken in Saturday’s senior football grand final in the Goldacres North Central Football League.

The Bulls and Royals will clash at Wycheproof Recreation Reserve from 2.30pm.

Runner-up the past three seasons, Birchip Watchem has not won a senior grand final since 2001 when it beat Wedderburn by 47 points.

Donald is chasing a 14th senior premiership.

Most recent for the Royals was in 2006 when it beat Boort by 35 points.

In terms of senior premierships, Donald and Charlton are equal second on 13, as Wycheproof Narraport leads the race on 19.

The agony of grand final defeat to Sea Lake Nandaly in 2019 and to Wycheproof Narraport the previous two years will be a spur for several players in the Birchip Watchem team.

This season’s contests between the Bulls and Royals stand at two-one in favour of Birchip Watchem.

The Bulls were beaten 81-64 on their turf at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip in round three.

Next time it was the Trevor Ryan-coached Birchip Watchem which won 74-68 at Donald.


Most recent showdown between the grand finalists was the second semi-final at Sea Lake where the Bulls charged to a 110-73 victory against the Rohan Brown-coached Donald.

Nathan Gordon led the Bulls attack on five goals in a best afield performance as Marshall Rippon chipped in with three.

The Royals’ attack was led by Brody Haddow on three and Leigh Burke with two goals.

Best for the Bulls included Lachlan Ryan, Marshall Rippon and ruckman Lochlan Sirett.

Donald’s best were Ryley Barrack, Brody Haddow, Josh Potter and Dyson Bell-Warren.

The Royals struck back from the second semi-final loss to score a 101-68 win against Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers in last Saturday’s preliminary final at Charlton Park.

Leigh Burke kicked four goals as Michael Foster and Feeny medallist and captain Ross Young added three goals.

Best for the Royals were James Wall, Ross Young, Ryan Hards and Reece McNally.


There will be many exciting duels in the grand final.

A strong Donald attack includes Josh Potter, James Wall, Leigh and Will Burke.

Key players in the Bulls defence are Dale Hinkley, Josh Booth and Lachlan Ryan.

A strong Donald midfield has Ross Young in the centre and Darcy Harrison and Rian McGough on the wings.

Birchip Watchem’s starting centreline is likely to be Daniel Ratcliffe, Riley Hogan and Kyle Stevens.

Donald’s on-ball brigade of Reece McNally, Ryan Hards and Brody Haddow will play crucial roles against Lochlan Sirett, Sean Hogan and Stefan Pye.

A Royals’ defence led by Ryley Barrack, Scott Wood, Dyson Bell-Warren and Jordan Bates-Gilby is up against Nathan Gordon, Will Sheahan, Clayton Hinkley and Daniel Castellano.


It will be a showdown between Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers and Donald in the Haeuslers reserves grand final.

The Tigers have won all three clashes with the Royals.

In round seven, Sea Lake Nandaly won 67-47 at home and followed up with a 47-35 victory on Donald’s turf in the 14th round.

The second semi-final went the way of the Tigers, 82-42 against Donald.

Best for SLN were Ben Daniels, Codey Elliott, Connor Michael and Harry Harcourt.

Donald’s best were Tom Letts, Brenton Dixon, Brady Griffiths and Ryan Bath.

The Royals stayed in the premiership race after a 71-54 win against Birchip Watchem in the preliminary final.

Donald’s best against the Bulls were Cooper Anderson, Tom Letts, Brannon Walker and Ryan Leeder.


It will be a clash between Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers and Boort for the Charlton and District Community Bank under-17s premiership.

Boort won the round six match, 77-22, but the Tigers fired up for a 57-39 win in the 13th round at Sea Lake.

The second semi-final ended in a 60-49 win for Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers against Boort.

The Tigers’ best were Thomas Cox, Cooper Allan, Will Conlan and Jacob Hatcher.

Best for the Magpies were Alex Cockerell, Jack Potter, Sam Barraclouch and Lachlan Hall.

Boort dominated most of last Saturday’s preliminary final against Birchip Watchem to mark a 114-63 victory.

Tom Potter, Frasier Holland, Lachlan Hall and Alex Cockerell led the Magpies’ charge.

Grand final day kicks off with the Uniting Church under-14s match between Donald and St Arnaud at 9.30am.

The Royals and Saints met three times in the home-and-away series.

Donald won 30-28 at St Arnaud’s Lord Nelson Park in round two, 63-3 at Donald in round nine, and 24-22 in the Saints’ home in the 16th round.

In the run to the finals, St Arnaud scored a 50-15 win against Boort in the first semi-final and a 41-40 victory against Sea Lake Nandaly in the preliminary final.

In-form players for the Saints include Chase Zander, Chad Hendy, Frankie Donald, Aidan Wickham, Abby Weir, Otis Patton and Jack Batters.

Players to watch for Donald include Baxter Donnellon, Mitchell Godkin, Ben Perry, Ethan Clapham, Lyric Davis and Liam Stopps.


Schedule for Saturday’s grand finals at Wycheproof Recreation Reserve:

Under-14s at 9.30am: Donald v St Arnaud.

Under-17s at 10.55am: Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers v Boort.

Reserves at 12.35pm: Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers v Donald.

Seniors at 2.30pm: Birchip Watchem v Donald.


Written by Nathan Dole.