Squeeze is on in Wim­mera footy

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

An in­trigu­ing test of will, strength and tal­ent is set to con­tinue in Wim­mera Foot­ball League on Sat­ur­day as one of the clos­est sea­sons in years en­ters another chap­ter.

Re­sults so far sug­gest this year’s pre­mier­ship flag is well and truly up for grabs, with a string of teams lin­ing up for a crack at the pen­nant.

Af­ter three rounds into a sea­son we can usu­ally iden­tify a clear pace-set­ter, but this year is dif­fer­ent. It might be a while be­fore teams can lay any sort of claims.

Hor­sham is lead­ing the pack, but only marginally it seems, with the De­mons now primed to take on what ap­pears to be a set­tled War­rack Ea­gles line-up.

Hor­sham, which en­dured a con­sid­er­able pre-sea­son player turnover, has taken a few com­pe­ti­tion watch­ers, ex­pect­ing the De­mons to slip back in the field, by sur­prise.

A solid win over league new­comer South­ern Mallee Gi­ants un­der lights last week un­der­lined the De­mons’ abil­ity to re­spond to chal­lenges. A quick scan down the qual­ity in the team’s se­nior list also tells a story.

Hor­sham has a lot of play­ers with the abil­ity to step into the breech and last week it was Brad Har­ti­gan and John Wood, while Ryan Kemp con­tin­ued his su­perb start to the year. Coach Deek Roberts, Rhona Con­boy and Darcy Tay­lor were others to con­spire to up­set the Gi­ants’ plans.

Hor­sham faces a War­rack Ea­gles team that am­pli­fied the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the sea­son last week by up­set­ting Minyip-mur­toa.

The Ea­gles had been hint­ing at get­ting a win­ning for­mula right and in a low-scor­ing af­fair at Minyip clinched the con­test by nine points.

Tal­ented Nick Peters makes a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence to the Ea­gles line-up and ruck­man Shan­non Ar­gall, to use a well­worn ex­pres­sion, doesn’t get any smaller by the end of a con­test. Others to im­press in the vic­tory in­cluded Con­nor Inkster, Harry Trezise and Travis Law­son.

The De­mons and Ea­gles are long-time ri­vals and Sat­ur­day’s clash at War­rackn­abeal’s An­zac Park should be a rip­per.

Clean slate

If any club is turn­ing heads this year it must be Ararat.

The Rats have a clean slate so far this sea­son, bowl­ing over Stawell, Hor­sham Saints and on Sat­ur­day, Dim­boola and now have their big­gest test for the year against South­ern Mallee Gi­ants.

The Rats travel to Beu­lah for the first time, fresh from a 132-point win against the Roos and with the likes of Ri­ley Tay­lor, Ryan Bates and Dan and Nick Men­des in fine fet­tle. Lach­lan Hamilton is also com­ing off a six-goal bag.

This week will be sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent for the south-east force, which con­fronts a Gi­ants team that has done the un­think­able and lost two in a row.

The Gi­ants are sure to hit back hard at home. They did a Wim­mera league no-no last week and gave Hor­sham a head-start and won’t be as kind to Ararat this week.

Goals were sur­pris­ingly hard to come by for the Gi­ants but Josh and Ben Web­ster, Lou White, Reece Mcnally, Leigh Ste­wart and Sam White kept their team in the con­test.

Other games this week­end are also gen­er­at­ing plenty of in­ter­est.

Nhill al­most snatched the points against Stawell in a come­back last week, los­ing by a point, and would be spend­ing the week re­build­ing for a tough match against the Bur­ras.

Scott Hughes kicked four goals for the Tigers last week and weekly pro­tag­o­nist Liam Al­brecht was again prom­i­nent, while Ben Jones, Jor­dan Zeitz, Si­mon Cave and Lochie Pil­grim slipped onto a best-player list.

Minyip-mur­toa will be hop­ing last week’s re­sult was an aber­ra­tion, although Pat Pur­cell was good again and others such as Mitch Cronin, Bray­den Ison and Nick Kel­son won ac­co­lades.

Stawell would have taken a big breath af­ter get­ting on the board but needs to ready it­self again, this time against Hor­sham Saints at Hor­sham’s Cough­lin Park. Cam Kim­ber, Tom Tau­rau, Naish Mcroberts and Jack­son Dark im­pressed last week for the War­riors and Paul Sum­mers kicked four goals.

The Saints had a bye last week so should be fight­ing fit for the con­test and will view the game as an op­por­tu­nity to get their first win on the board.

GOTCHA! Hor­sham’s in-form Ryan Kemp clamps onto South­ern Mallee Gi­ants coach Cole­man Schache dur­ing a Wim­mera Foot­ball League night match.

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