NCFL Round 8 Preview


Cloke bolsters Nullawil attack against Redbacks

COLLINGWOOD premiership forward Travis Cloke will take his place in Nullawil’s attack for Saturday’s round eight clash with Wedderburn in the Goldacres North Central senior footy action.

A big crowd is likely at Nullawil Recreation Reserve to watch Cloke in what could be the first of several games for the Maroons this season.

The clash which starts at 2.30pm will be Cloke’s first with the Maroons, but there could be more depending on Cloke’s commitments with Essendon Football Club.

There’s 246 games of AFL experience, and a 2010 premiership victory that Cloke brings to Nullawil’s line-up.

The key forward kicked 441 goals in a career with the Magpies from 2005 until 2016, and then a one-off season with the Western Bulldogs in 2017.

Cloke earned the Copeland trophy as Collingwood’s champion player in 2007, was a dual All-Australian, and four-time leading goalkicker with the Magpies.

These days he is involved with coaching in Essendon’s AFLW program, and also runner for the Bombers’ senior men’s team.

It’s a huge match for Nullawil against the Redbacks.

The Daryl Wilson-coached Nullawil starts the round in fifth place, but just two points behind the fourth-placed Wedderburn.

In last Saturday’s play, Nullawil fought on for an 87-78 victory at Boort.

Jack Exell kicked five goals, but he will not play this Saturday because he will be overseas.

Best for the Maroons in their third win of the season included Lucas and Zach Caccaviello, Andrew Oberdorfer and Daniel Watts.

Wedderburn drew its home game with the ladder-leading Birchip-Watchem in the Redbacks’ nest at Donaldson Park.

Key players for the Tom Metherell-coached Wedderburn include Tom Campbell, Oscar Holt, Anthony and Michael Zelencich, Jacob DeAraugo, Jordan Hargreaves and captain Joe Lockhart.

St Arnaud or Charlton will end their winless run when they meet on the Saints turf at Lord Nelson Park.

Creating and capitalising on more scoring chances has not been easy for either team against bigger and more experienced opponents.

Key players for the Scott Driscoll-coached St Arnaud include Bailey and Harley Durward, Mitch Egan, Jake Hicks, Torin Petrie, Brayden Phillips and captain Kurtis Torney.

Charlton’s line-up includes coach Mitch Collins, Chris Gavaghan, Patrick Soulsby, Thomas Finlay, Jackson Zagame, Kade Blow and captain Jed Thompson.

The Birchip-Watchem Bulls are back on home turf at Birchip’s George Cartwright Oval to take on Wycheproof-Narraport.

It’s a danger game for the Trevor Ryan-coached Bulls as Wycheproof-Narraport had a week’s rest following a seven-point win against Wedderburn.

The Bulls will be fighting to keep their unbeaten run intact.

Key players for Birchip-Watchem include full-forward Ben Edwards, Marshall and Nicholas Rippon, Sam Simmons, Meyrick Buchanan and Darcy Reid.

The Wayne Mitrovic-coached Demons need a win to stay in touch with the top four.

Players to watch for the red and blue include Maysen Murgov, Josh Walsh, captain Spencer Allan, Lachlan Van Schaik, Cody Green and Trevor Rumbold.

Donald is at home to take on Boort.

The Josh Potter-coached Donald won last week’s clash at Charlton by five goals.

The Royal Blues team for this round includes Feeny medallist Ross Young, Ryley Barrack, captain Hayden Geddes, Ryan Leeder and Ryan Hards.

Donald welcomes back Jamie Papalia for his first match since round one.

Best for the Dale Cameron-coached Boort against Nullawil were Matt Austin, Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Keiren Wilson and Natnael McLaren.

The Magpies’ squad includes Jarrod Starr, Will Perryman, Ethan and Jacob Coleman, and Ryan McGhie.

Sea Lake Nandaly has the bye.

North Central senior footy ladder:

Birchip-Watchem 203 per cent, 26 points; Sea Lake Nandaly 187, 24; Donald 111, 16; Wedderburn 145, 14; Nullawil 109, 12; Wycheproof-Narraport 88, 12; Boort 71, 8; Charlton 44, 0; St Arnaud 34, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race:

47 Ben Edwards, Birchip-Watchem.

21 Jack Exell, Nullawil.

21 Nicholas Rippon, Birchip-Watchem.

19 Mitch Farmer, Nullawil.

19 Trent Grant, Donald.

19 Anthony Zelencich, Wedderburn.

18 Tom Campbell, Wedderburn.

18 Josh Jenkins, Sea Lake Nandaly.

17 Billy McInnes, Sea Lake Nandaly.

13 Oscar Holt, Wedderburn.

12 Joseph Reid, Birchip-Watchem.

10 Lachy McClelland, Sea Lake Nandaly.