NCFL Preliminary Final Preview | Nullawil ready to muster Bulls at St Arnaud


NULLAWIL will be aiming to muster the Birchip-Watchem Bulls in Saturday’s senior footy preliminary final in the Goldacres North Central FNL season.

The Maroons and Bulls will clash at St Arnaud’s Lord Nelson Park from 2.30pm.

At stake is a place in the grand final against Sea Lake Nandaly on September 16 at Boort Park.

Saturday’s match features two reigning premiers.

Birchip-Watchem was North Central’s number one team in ’22, and Nullawil ruled in the Golden Rivers before crossing to the NCFNL.

The Trevor Ryan-coached Birchip-Watchem will be keen to bounce back after a 39-point loss to Sea Lake Nandaly in last Saturday’s second semi-final.

Nullawil kicked off its finals campaign with a 90-62 victory against Donald in the first semi.

A memorable debut match for Nullawil in the North Central competition was in this season’s first round.

The Brett Barker-coached Nullawil won 83-42 on the Bulls’ turf at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip.

Next time around it was the Bulls who fought on for a 71-65 victory at Nullawil.

Birchip-Watchem ended the home-and-away series with a 12-4 record, while Nullawil’s was 10-6.

There is plenty of goalkicking power in the Birchip-Watchem line-up.

Ben Edwards leads the Bulls’ attack on 84 goals, but there is also Nathan Gordon, 42; Daniel Castellano, 33; and Nicholas Rippon, 28, for Nullawil to try and stop.

A joint winner of the Feeny Medal as league fairest and best, Nicholas Rippon will be determined to add a premiership to the tally.

To do so, Rippon and his team-mates must beat the Maroons and then topple the unbeaten SLN Tigers.

A talented Birchip-Watchem team includes captain Dale Hinkley, Jos Builder, Marshall Rippon, Lachlan Ryan,  Sam Simmons and Lochlan Sirett.

Key targets in the forward 50m arc for Nullawil are Adam Thomson, 43 goals; Jordan Humphreys, 34; Dean Smith, 25; Mitch Farmer, 21; and Andrew Oberdorfer, 20.

The Maroons’ line-up includes Zac Caccaviello, Andrew Casey, Kyle Doran, David Isbister, Patrick Kelly and Dean Putt.

In the Haeuslers reserves it will be Nullawil against Birchip-Watchem from 12.35pm.

The Maroons are on the rebound from a 55-point loss to Sea Lake Nandaly in the second semi.

Birchip-Watchem charged to a 64-29 victory in the first semi showdown with Boort.

In round one,  Nullawil won on Birchip Watchem’s turf by 73 points.

The Bulls fought on for a 44-42 result at Nullawil in the 10th round.

Nullawil’s team for Saturday’s clash includes Jack and Mitchell Barry, Charlie and Tom Fawcett, Angus and George Forrester, Matt and Will Hogan, and Dude and Sol Kelly.

The Bulls’ best in the first semi were Tom and Daniel Batarilo, Ty Colbert, Jacob and Alex Noonan, and Matt Finster.

It will be St Arnaud against Birchip-Watchem in the preliminary final of the Charlton and District Community Bank under-17s at 10.55am.

The Saints were beaten 90-25 in last Saturday’s second semi against Boort.

Day one of the finals series included a 93-34 victory for Birchip Watchem against Sea Lake Nandaly in the first semi at Sea Lake Oval.

This season’s meetings between the Saints and Bulls have gone St Arnaud’s way by margins of 42 and 19 points.

Best for the Saints in the round 18 win against Birchip-Watchem were Jackson Needs, Sean Bridgeman, Ben Greenaway and Kynan Torney.

The Saints had Tyson Funston, Mason Thomas and Ryan Bigmore played well last Saturday.

Players to watch for the Bulls include Charles Barber, Harry Cook, Austin Dean, Charlie Frank, Riley Hogan and Josh Woods.

Preliminary final day kicks off at 9.30am with the match between Sea Lake Nandaly and Boort in the Uniting Church-sponsored under-14s competition.

The SLN Tigers are on the rebound from a 53-15 loss to Donald in the second semi-final.

Best in Sea Lake Nandaly’s latest match were Nate McClelland, Angus Renney, Henry Cox and Riley Allen.

Boort marked a 36-15 victory against Charlton in the first semi at Sea Lake.

Brodie McPherson, Jake O’Flaherty, Cooper Gooding and Jacob Malone were the Magpies’ against the Navies.

This season’s meetings between Sea Lake Nandaly and Boort stand at one-all.

The Tigers won 42-29 at Boort Park in round one, and the Magpies swooped for a 35-34 win at Sea Lake in the 10th round.