Demons have a spell
Uh-oh! Take a deep breath Wimmera Football League!
Horsham has picked up the glowing trident it’s been heating in the coals and is now waving it angrily at allcomers from the top of the hill.
Sorry Minyip-murtoa, the Demons have snatched premiership favouritism from under your nose, along with top spot on the ladder, and will now enjoy a day off in the first week of the finals.
Horsham, in streaking away from the Burras in the second half of the last home-and-away round on Saturday, have confirmed what many were starting to think – the Demons are now the team to beat.
Ben Lakin, Tyler Blake, fourgoal Joel Geue, Ryan Kemp, Deek Roberts and Billy Lloyd were all primary conspirers in the Horsham victory.
But what now for Minyipmurtoa – so long the competition yardstick and now preparing for a qualifying final against Warrack Eagles at Stawell’s Central Park on Saturday?
The Burras have obviously lacked some of their trademark lustre in the past couple of weeks and to make matters worse, important midfield runner Kade Petering went down at the weekend with injury.
While Minyip-murtoa has a double chance up its sleeve, it still can’t afford to wait until the last minute to find its mojo.
The Burras have a quality side but that will count for little if the group fails to switch on during the heat of finals.
Last week dashing Oliver Young, steadily continuing his stretch of good form, was again outstanding and Clinton Midgley, John Delahunty and coach Damian Cameron were heavily engaged in the action.
Cooper Bateson also won accolades, as did Jae Mcgrath, but the combined camps at Minyip and Murtoa would be banking on others such as Gus Trethowan, Sam Winfield, Warwick Stone, Kieran Delahunty, Luke Chamberlain and Justin Garth having more of a say.
Warrack Eagles will enter the clash with the Burras with a belief they can beat their more fancied opponents.
The Eagles finished off the season with a hard-fought win over a determined Dimboola and used the occasion to reintroduce ruckman-forward Shannon Argall after an injury spell.
The Eagles also had to hold up against a solid Dimboola comeback and what augurs well for the team this weekend was the form of experienced Kyle George.
Jesse Murphy took his goal tally for the season beyond 50 and looms as a dangerous player in the finals, as does Josh Bibby, not far behind him in the 40s.
Kieran Ellis again featured prominently and also promises plenty this weekend, as does Ryan Mckenzie, Riley Morrow, Dan Bell and co.
The return of Argall, critically, provides the Eagles with an extra weapon in attack. This will mean plenty against the big bodies of Minyip-murtoa.
Minyip-murtoa should still have the firepower to beat the Eagles, but it might be by less than a kick.
The day after a clash at Stawell determines who will take on Horsham in a second semi-final, Stawell and Horsham Saints will meet in a cut-throat elimination match at Murtoa.
With so much on the line, this contest is sure to be a beauty.
The Saints will be keen to continue their winning streak, fresh from a good win over Nhill, while Stawell will want to work on fanning the flames of fresh success born from a last-round victory over Ararat.
Horsham Saints are coming home like a whirlwind and on Saturday finished just over seven goals better than Nhill in a high-scoring game at Coughlin Park.
But the Saints are set to swallow a bittersweet pill, Jacob Cooke-harrison kicked seven goals in a best-on-ground performance for the Saints on Saturday but, courtesy of transfer rules, will be ineligible for Sunday’s final.
Matt Combe and Mitch Martin bagged seven goals between them and others such as Kieren Priestley, Fergus O’connor and Angus Gove stood out.
The Saints have some of the best running players in the competition under coach Luke Fisher but do they have enough firepower to win a final? Stawell, similar to Warrack Eagles, had to dig deep to hold off a willing opponent on Saturday, on that occasion arch rival Ararat.
Importantly, it was some of Stawell’s primary leaders who led the charge and they will again be pivotal this weekend.
Veteran and Toohey Medallist Brent Tuckey, if he can continue good form, is a major threat against the undersized Saints.
Aidan Potter and Sean Mantell were also prominent in Stawell’s much-needed win and others such as Sam Williams and Cam Kimber won spots on the best-player list.
David Andrivon, who many consider Stawell’s most dangerous forward, was missing from the side.
Horsham Saints are confident they have Stawell’s measure and will come from behind and edge ahead in a gripping contest to win by four points.
IN THE BEST: Ben Lakin was among players to help Horsham snatch top spot on the Wimmera Football League ladder. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER