Shepparton News

Bulldogs will be fighting tooth and nail

- By Aydin Payne

As the penultimat­e round of the Kyabram District League A-grade season fast approaches, all but one spot in the top-six is locked in.

Five sides — Tallygaroo­pna, Girgarre, Dookie United, Shepparton East and Nagambie — have sealed their place in the post-season, while sixth spot is still up for grabs.

Merrigum currently occupies that position and gets a chance to seal its fate on Saturday.

The Bulldogs hit the road for their upcoming round 16 clash to take on Shepparton East.

The Eagles are coming off a narrow loss to Girgarre, while Merrigum recorded a crucial win over Murchison Toolamba.

Bulldogs’ coach Olivia Jackson said her side was full of confidence and ready for the challenge against one of the competitio­n’s top outfits.

“It’s going to be a very good challenge for the girls. And it will be great to get a look at Shepp East ahead of finals,” Jackson said.

“Last game against Murch was crucial (for us). It was a win that has put a lot of belief in the playing group.

“I know the girls are up for the challenge and are really looking forward to getting out there.”

The Eagles will be hungry to bounce back from their loss and expect their attacking end, consisting of Amy Reid and Kara Pattison, to play an important role on Saturday.

Merrigum goes in without up-and-coming defender Breanna Baker — who is recovering from an ankle injury — but has filled the vacancy with experience­d defenders Louise Richards and Kate Sloan.

“Bree injured her ankle in the final game before lockdown. She has some ligament damage and is a couple of weeks away still,” Jackson said.

“But we have two experience­d players in Louise (Richards) and Kate (Sloan) that will play in defence.

“They both bring loads of leadership and experience to the side.”

Only five games will be played this weekend, with top two outfits Tallygaroo­pna and Girgarre, along with Undera, Longwood and Rushworth having the week off due to the bye.

In the remaining fixtures, Murchison-Toolamba faces a must-win match against Dookie United.

The Hoppers suffered a loss to Merrigum last weekend which has left them six points off the pace of the Bulldogs.

Jenni McCluskey’s outfit must win its next two fixtures and rely on other results to fall its way to clinch a finals berth.

The finals door is slightly ajar for Avenel and Lancaster.

The Swans, who sit in eighth spot, face a home match to Stanhope.

Lancaster plays host to 13th-placed Ardmona.

The Wombats and Swans must win their next two games and hope Merrigum drops its two matches.

The two outfits meet in the final round of the season.

Lastly, Nagambie will look to climb up the ladder with a home match against Violet Town.

 ??  ?? On-court leader: Louise Richards adds plenty of experience on the court for Merrigum.
On-court leader: Louise Richards adds plenty of experience on the court for Merrigum.

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