Dogs to muzzle spearhead
Bunbury have identified in-form Tigers superboot Leigh Kohlmann as a man they must shut down ahead of Sunday’s prestigious Syd Jackson-Max McGuire Cup at Payne Park.
A momentous day for both the Bunbury and South Bunbury football clubs, Bulldogs coach Jamie Nani said the derby was one of the most significant of the season. “It’s a massive day,” he said. “It’s recognition of two of our most famous indigenous footballers to have come out of the area.
“Max is arguably the best footballer the Bunbury Footy Club has ever seen and I’ve spent a lot of time around the McGuire family.
“It means a fair bit to me and also the Bunbury Football Club.”
Nani said his side would be keen to nullify the effectiveness of Kohlmann, who booted eight goals last Saturday against the Harvey Bulls, however overall team focus had not shifted at training during the week. “We won’t do anything different,” he said. “We’ve got a program we’ve been working through for the last four weeks and we won’t deviate away from that or our style of footy as it’s obviously been effective over the last four or five weeks.”
Tigers coach David Obal said he was pleased with how his younger players stood up against the Bulls but was aware of how potent the Bulldogs could be when firing.
“A lot of the younger guys got involved which was really good,” he said. “Hopefully they can do the same this week. Obviously, Bunbury have got a bit of power that we have got to take care of — (Jessie) Gribble, (Brett) Peake and (Matthew) Martin — these sort of guys.
“It’s going to be a big game and I’m looking forward to it.”
Obal said the significance of the Jackson-McGuire Cup was shared by the Tigers, although victory could also go a long way to ensuring finals football in 2018.
“It’s pretty important for us to win because we are still in the mix of three or four sides still fighting for a position in the five, so it’s a big game for us.”
Both sides were direct and positive in attack during their respective victories last weekend, which will mean something has to give.
Forecasts indicate a clear weekend, which should ensure a fast deck and minimise excessive stoppages.
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault coach Derek Hall is under no illusions ahead of his side’s visit to Kelly Park on Saturday afternoon to face the Panthers.
The Lions must win on Saturday to remain in the finals hunt, however even then it may not be enough.
“If we drop one from here on in we are probably history,” he said. “And having a look at the fixturing over the next three weeks, even if we manage to win the next three it’s no certainty we will drop into the five either.
“It’s all about taking each game at a time – but with Carey Park, I suppose they haven’t been in the best of form of late but they’ll be keen to claim a few scalps before the year is out.
“So hopefully the boys can come with the same attitude and commitment they showed last week and we can move a step closer to hopefully securing a finals berth.”
Hall said the Panthers had plenty of match winners evenly spread across their spine.
“Timmy Yarran has been a very good player for them all year in the midfield,” he said. “If you look down back, they’ve had a fella called Sam Read who has been playing on the good forwards weekin, week-out.
“And Riese Wilkey has been in the top half a dozen goalkickers in the league this year – so those three are guys we will have to put a bit of time into this week and hopefully nullify their influence.
Farther up South Western Highway, Harvey Bulls host Collie with the Eagles riding high after ending Carey Park’s slim finals aspirations last week.
The Bulls struggled to move the ball forward at Hands Oval against the Tigers last Saturday and Bulls coach Brendan Jones will be keen for his men to respond positively.
In the remaining game of the round, Busselton entertain Augusta-Margaret River at Bovell Park for the Busselton Toyota Cup.
There will also be plenty on the line at the Glen Huon Reserve on Sunday, when second placed Eaton Boomers host league leaders Donnybrook.
The Boomers, who had five late omissions, fell away in the final term against Augusta-Margaret River by 10 points while the Dons simply had a dirty day against the Bulldogs at Payne Park.
Kehaan, Paxton and Isharnd Lange-McGuire with the special guernsey to be worn for the Syd Jackson-Max McGuire Cup game.