NCFL Round 7 Preview | Big games at Nullawil, Birchip, Sea Lake


THREE important matches will be played as the Goldacres North Central Football League hosts Headspace Round on Saturday.

The league’s seventh round will be a way to promote Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation which began in 2006.

A major goal for Headspace is to provide early intervention mental health services to those in the 12-25 years bracket.

There are Headspace services in more than 150 communities across Australia.

Services are available on-line, phone counselling, and also through schools.

On the football field three of Saturday’s matches could play a big part in determining the top five approaching the halfway mark of the season.

Nullawil faces a crucial game at home against Donald.

Premiers in the Golden Rivers last season, Nullawil has a 4-1 record and is second on the ladder in its first NCFNL season.

The Brett Barker-coached Maroons won last Saturday’s match on Wycheproof-Narraport’s turf by 57 points.

Nullawil’s best in a match between second and third were Jordan Humphreys, Patrick Kelly, Jonathan Casey and Dean Putt.

Runner-up in ’22, Donald is fighting back after a 1-2 start to now be 3-2 and in fifth place in the premiership race.

The Rohan Brown-coached Royal Blues scored a 13-goal win at home against St Arnaud last round as Sam Dunstan, Trent Grant and Hayden Geddes were among the  best.

Donald’s team bound for Nullawil includes Ryley Barrack, Eddie Landwehr, Rian McGough and Rory O’Shannessy.

It’s first against third as Sea Lake Nandaly faces Wycheproof-Narraport at Sea Lake.

The SLN Tigers will start favourite to keep their unbeaten run rolling.

In last Saturday’s play, Sea Lake Nandaly dominated at Charlton to win by 109 points.

In-form players for the Tigers include Kane and Wade Donnan, Matt Elliott and Will Simpson.

An attack that includes Billy McInnes and Will Simpson will stretch the Demons defence.

Other key players for SLN include captain Ryan O’Sullivan, Bryce Delmenico, Brodie Adcock and John Summerhayes.

It’s a tough run for Wycheproof-Narraport which played Nullawil last round.

Key players for the Boe Bish-coached Demons include Gedd and Koby Hommelhoff, Cody Green, captain Joel Turner, Josh Walsh, Aaron and Justin Bateson, and Adal Zuk.

Birchip-Watchem is back on home turf at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip to take on Boort.

As reigning premier, Birchip-Watchem has a 3-3 record after a 41-point win at Wedderburn’s Donaldson Park.

The Trevor Ryan-coached Bulls will be keen to seize on a chance to move into the top three.

Key players for Birchip-Watchem include Marshall and Nicholas Rippon, Joseph Reid, Jonty Randall, Dale Hinkley, Sam Simmons and Nathan Gordon.

Boort is back after the bye.

The Dale Cameron-coached Magpies went down 67-69 in their most recent hit-out against Wedderburn at Boort Park.

Among the inclusions for Boort which is sixth on a record of 2-2 and a draw is on-baller Matt Chisari.

Key players for the Magpies include Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Sam Green, Darcy Hawker, Natnael McLaren, and co-captains Jack Smith and Keiren Wilson.

St Arnaud is on home turf at Lord Nelson Park to take on Wedderburn.

It’s another big test for the Anthony Bourke-coached Saints.

Best for St Arnaud at Donald last round were Brad Organ, Jake Male, Mitch Egan and Nick Birthisel.

On a 2-3 record, Wedderburn must win to stay in touch with the top five.

The Sam Barnes-coached Redbacks are on the rebound from a 41-point loss to Birchip-Watchem at home.

Key players for Wedderburn include Danny Benaim and Tomy Campbell in attack, Mitch McEwen, Jake DeAraugo and Adam Postle in defence, Jordan Rosengren, Mitch McEwen and Jordan Hargreaves.

Charlton has the bye.

North Central FNL senior footy ladder:

Sea Lake Nandaly 250 per cent, 20 points; Nullawil 203, 16; Wycheproof-Narraport 85, 14; Birchip-Watchem 169, 12; Donald 129, 12; Boort 121, 10; Wedderburn 93, 8; Charlton 39, 4; St Arnaud 30, 0.

Leading goalkickers:

27 Ben Edwards, Birchip-Watchem.

25 Sam Dunstan, Donald.

20 Billy McInnes, Sea Lake Nandaly.

18 Gedd Hommelhoff, Wycheproof-Narraport.

18 Adam Thomson, Nullawil.

15 Mitch Farmer, Nullawil.

14 Sam Barnes, Wedderburn.

14 Daniel Castellano, Birchip-Watchem.

13 Nathan Gordon, Birchip-Watchem.

13 Cody Green, Wycheproof-Narraport.

12 Tom Campbell, Wedderburn.

11 Will Simpson, Sea Lake Nandaly.

9 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Boort.

9 Nicholas Rippon, Birchip-Watchem.

9 Dean Smith, Nullawil.

9 Nick Thompson, Charlton.