NCFL Semi Final Preview | Donald takes on Nullawil as finals kick off


DONALD tackles Nullawil in the Goldacres North Central FNL’s senior footy first semi-final on Saturday at Sea Lake.

The clash between the Royal Blues and Maroons starts at 2.30pm.

Last season’s runner-up, Donald ended the 18-round home and away series in third place on an 11-5 record.

Nullawil marked its first season in the NCFNL by marking 10 wins and six defeats.

The run for Donald to another finals series included a 68-56 win at Nullawil in the seventh round.

Most recent showdown between the first semi-finalists was in the 16th round at Donald where the Royal Blues won 68-57.

On that day it was Dyson Bell-Warren, Jesse Wallin and captain Josh Potter who were among Donald’s best against the Maroons.

There is plenty of skill and attacking power in the Donald line-up.

Among the key players in the Rohan Brown-coached team are on-baller and 2022 Feeny medallist Ross Young, wingmen Ryan Bath and James Wall, ruck-rover Hayden Geddes and Blake Grant.

A strong attack is led by Sam Dunstan who has kicked 89 goals.

Donald’s squad also includes the talented and versatile Ryley Barrack.

The Brett Barker-coached Nullawil warmed up for the finals by scoring a 52-point victory in last Saturday’s match at Boort Park.

Captain Jordan Humphreys kicked six goals and Andrew Oberdorfer added five.

Both loom as big threats to Donald’s defence.

Nullawil’s attack includes Mitch Farmer, Dean Smith and Adam Thomson.

Other players to watch for the Maroons are vice-captain Andrew Casey, Zach and Lucas Caccaviello, Patrick Kelly and Dean Putt.

It’s Boort against Birchip-Watchem in the Haeuslers –backed reserves first semi-final.

The Magpies and Bulls will clash from 12.45pm.

In round seven, Boort marked an 88-21 victory on the Bulls’ turf at George Cartwright Oval in Birchip.

The Bulls struck back for an 89-38 win at Boort Park in the 16th round.

First semi-final in the Charlton and District Community Bank-backed under-17s competition features Birchip-Watchem and Sea Lake Nandaly.

The showdown between the Bulls and Tigers starts at 11.10am.

These teams met in round two at Sea Lake where the Tigers marked a 91-63 victory.

In round 11 it was the Bulls who charged to a 102-14 result on their turf in Birchip.

First of Saturday’s finals will be the Uniting Church-sponsored under-14s match between Boort and Charlton at 9.40am.

In round two, Boort won at Charlton Park by eight goals.

The round 11 showdown ended in a 76-7 victory for the Magpies against the Navies at Boort Park.

Final standings in the North Central FNL senior footy competition for the 2023 home and away series:

Sea Lake Nandaly 271 per cent, 64 points; Birchip-Watchem 181, 48; Donald 127, 44; Nullawil 148, 40; Wycheproof-Narraport 83, 30; Wedderburn 106, 28; Boort 77, 18; Charlton 52, 16; St Arnaud 27, 0.

Leading goalkickers:

89 Sam Dunstan, Donald.

84 Ben Edwards, Birchip-Watchem.

57 Sam Barnes, Wedderburn.

46 Billy McInnes, Sea Lake Nandaly.

41 Nick Thompson, Charlton.

40 Adam Thomson, Nullawil.

39 Nathan Gordon, Birchip-Watchem.

36 Josh Jenkins, Sea Lake Nandaly.

36 John Summerhayes, Sea Lake Nandaly.

35 Tom Campbell, Wedderburn.

32 Daniel Castellano, Birchip-Watchem.

32 Jordan Humphreys, Nullawil.

30 Gedd Hommelhoff, Wycheproof-Narraport.

27 Will Simpson, Sea Lake Nandaly.

26 Nicholas Rippon, Birchip-Watchem.

25 Chris Gavaghan, Charlton.

25 Dean Smith, Nullawil.

24 Danny Benaim, Wedderburn.

24 Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Boort.

23 Thomas Cox, Sea Lake Nandaly.

23 Tyson McKenzie, Sea Lake Nandaly.

Schedule for second semi-finals to be played on September 2 at Wycheproof:

Seniors at 2.30pm: Sea Lake Nandaly v Birchip-Watchem.

Reserves at 12.45pm: Sea Lake Nandaly v Nullawil.

Under-17 at 11.10am: St Arnaud v Boort.

Under-14 at 9.40am: Sea Lake Nandaly v Donald.