NCFL Round 5 Preview | Royals fight to halt Bulls charge at Birchip


ROUND 5 of the North Central FL season is Pink Round where the league raises awareness and funds for the Breast Cancer Network of Australia.

A highlight of Pink Round will be when DONALD faces a daunting task to stop the charge of the Birchip Watchem Bulls in Saturday’s fifth round of senior footy in the Goldacres North Central FNL season.

The Royal Blues make the trek to George Cartwright Oval in Birchip for the clash between the 2022 grand finalists.

The Bulls and Royals do battle from 2.30pm.

When these clubs last met it was the Birchip-Watchem Bulls who celebrated a 78-57 victory.

The Bulls’ best included Daniel Castellano and Joseph Reid.

After a nil-two start following a 41-point loss at home to Nullawil and a one-goal defeat at Sea Lake, Birchip Watchem has charged back to form.

The Bulls won their most recent home game against Charlton by 148 points, and then won 126-16 at Wycheproof last round.

In-form players for Birchip-Watchem include Nicholas and Marshall Rippon, and William Marks.

A strong attack is led by Ben Edwards and includes Daniel Castellano and Nathan Gordon.

Other players to watch for Birchip-Watchem include Jos Builer, captain Dale Hinkley and Sam Simmons.

A 1-3 record has the Rohan Brown-coached Donald in seventh place.

Despite being at home, Donald could not stop Boort’s run to a 72-62 win last round.

The Royals will again look to Ryley Barrack at half-back, Ross Young and captain Ryan Hards.

Donald’s line-up includes Rory O’Shannessy, Josh Potter and James Wall.

Boort takes on Wedderburn at Boort Park.

The Dale Cameron-coached Magpies played great football to win at Donald as Natnael McLaren, Jarrod Fitzpatrick and Nathan Twigg were among the best.

Boort has the goalkicking power of Western Bulldogs premiership player Shane Biggs, and the skill of Darcy Hawker, Matt Hodoras, Keana Padula and Cameron Ross.

The Sam Barnes-coached Wedderburn had the bye last round and will be desperate to improve its win-loss tally of 1-3.

A lot of the Redbacks’ chances will depend on the play of Tom Campbell, Jackson Guan, Luke Holt, Adam Postle and Jordan Rosengren.

St Arnaud takes on Wycheproof-Narraport in the Saints’ home at Lord Nelson Park.

It’s another big test for the Anthony Bourke-coached St Arnaud aftr a 44-point loss at Charlton last round.

Key players for the Saints include Jake Hicks at full-forward, captain Kurtis Torney in the centre, Nick Birthisel and Mitch Egan acorss half-back.

Jake Male will play a crucial role in the ruck for the Saints against Lachlan Van Schaik.

The Boe Bish-coached Demons will be fired up after scoring just 16 points against Birchip-Watchem.

Players to watch in the Wycheproof-Narraport team include Damien Horbury and Josh Walsh in defence, Gedd and Koby Hommelhoff in attack.

The Demons also have Rick Allan, Aaron and Justin Bateson to test the Saints defence with the run and skill.

Beaten for the first time since June 4 last year, Nullawil is back at home to take on Charlton.

The Maroons could not stop the run of Sea Lake Nandaly as the Tigers won last Saturday’s match at Sea Lake by 44 points.

The Brett Barker-coached Nullawil was beaten 61-63 by Quambatook in the eighth round of the 2022 season in the Golden Rivers competition.

The Maroons went on to win the premiership and had made a great start by winning their opening two matches in the North Central league.

Key players for the Maroons include Matt Quigley, Jordan Humphreys, Dean Putt and Patrick Kelly.

Charlton’s confidence and spirits have soared after a 104-60 win at home against St Arnaud last round.

The Andy Nisbet-coached Navies will be keen to play well on Nullawil’s turf.

In-form players for Charlton include Jed Carey, Kris Clifford, Jesse Taylor and Rhyen Woods.

The experience of Travis Baird, Jaydon Cowling, Tim Hill and Anthony Judd is a huge plus for the Navies.

Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers have the bye.

North Central FNL senior footy ladder:

Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers 214 per cent, 16 points; Boort 127, 10; Wycheproof-Narraport 81, 10; Birchip-Watchem 201, 8; Nullawil 170, 8; Wedderburn 104, 4; Donald 98, 4; Charlton 45, 4; St Arnaud 26, 0.

Leading goalkickers:

24 Ben Edwards, Birchip-Watchem.

15 Billy McInnes, Sea Lake Nandaly.

13 Sam Dunstan, Donald.

12 Mitch Farmer, Nullawil.

11 Sam Barnes, Wedderburn.

10 Cody Green, Wycheproof-Narraport.

10 Gedd Hommelhoff, Wycheproof-Narraport.

9 Tom Campbell, Wedderburn.

9 Daniel Castellano, Birchip-Watchem.

9 Adam Thomson, Nullawil.