Mallee clash to kick-start season
Amighty Mallee clash at Rainbow is primed to set an earlyseason benchmark when Horsham District Football Netball League’s season kicks off on Saturday.
Reigning premiers Southern Mallee Giants, still smoldering after running through the competition like a bushfire last season, are on the hunt for back-to-back flags.
The Giants, under new leadership and looking just as good as they did last year, have pencilled in a win over Jeparit-rainbow as the launching pad for another big year.
Coach Shaun Monohan will give the Giants a free rein to back themselves to get the ball quickly to a potent attacking arc, which means Jeparitrainbow will have to be ready to also run hard to hurt the visitors on the counter-attack.
Jeparit-rainbow, which has climbed the ladder of expectation in its fledgling history in the competition, is also hungry for success and should come out strongly. The Storm, with Ash Clugston and Luke Murphy calling the shots, will consider its first-up match as the start of a campaign to win major battles.
The club has recruited strongly and it will be interesting to see whether the club engages a new defensive strategy from the opening contest.
Southern Mallee Giants will be too strong but much depends on Jeparitrainbow’s approach to take on the reigning premier.
Another of last year’s grand finalists, Harrow-balmoral, meets Kalkee at Kalkee in another game likely to provide early insight into team fortunes.
The Roos have been fired up all pre-season after last year’s loss at the deathknock and meet a redeveloping Kees side that will need all guns firing from the opening bounce.
Word is the Roos will be playing with a greater emphasis on attacking this year, which means Kalkee might have to find a way to curb the home side’s speed and run.
Kees coach Hamish Exell has promised a simple approach to winning games this year but he and his brains trust are likely to have their hands full.
If you listen to insiders, the Roos are likely to win comfortably.
Robbie Miller and Todd Heynen’s Laharum takes on Josh Beddison’s Pimpinio at Laharum in a contest where both sides will be keen to flush out success with new game plans.
Playing lists have undergone a considerable reshuffle in an attempt to find winning formulas and it will be the home team that comes out on top. But watch out for the Tigers – they might have something up their sleeves.
Natimuk United has been the subject of plenty of pre-season talk since the arrival of new coach Sam Anson but it might simply be player depth that provides it with any edge over Rupanyup.
The Rams have good numbers and a new approach and take on a Panthers side that will also unveil a new-look squad.
Panthers coach Andrew May knows how to win football matches and new players in the camp are more than handy. Panthers to win? Perhaps, but the Rams are likely to be hard to beat this season.
A battle of the combines will unfold at Edenhope where Edenhope-apsley meets Noradjuha-quantong. If it shapes up as predicted, Edenhopeapsley will have a power-packed forward line, which means opposition sides might have trouble containing the west Wimmera force.
Saints coach Michael Rowe in the ruck often gives his team first use of the ball and that might spell danger for the visiting Bombers.
Noradjuha-quantong coach Heath Francis has raw talent coming through the ranks but it remains to be seen if his talented youngsters can contain the Saints.
Swifts play Taylors Lake at Dock Lake Reserve and this contest might quickly reveal if the visiting Baggies will live up to predictions of a resurgence and if the Lakers will struggle or steam forward.
The Lakers and coach Jye Smith are placing enormous faith in the character of a young playing group while Swifts on-field leader Scott Carey will back a combination of preparation, enthusiasm and new faces.
ALL SMILES: Kain Robins celebrates Southern Mallee Giants’ premiership in 2016.