Burras continue strong finals run
Minyip-murtoa will shore up its position as outright favourite to win this year’s Wimmera Football League flag when it outguns Horsham in match of the round on Saturday.
Many have been waiting for the unbeaten Burras to stumble but it simply hasn’t happened and a win over the Demons at Murtoa will inject even more confidence into the group.
The clash at Murtoa is a big game. There are plenty of psychological spoils up for grabs – from individual match-ups across the lines to the club perceptions overall.
Minyip-murtoa remains fresh and motivated after shrugging off Stawell in what loomed as a danger game at Central Park last week.
Despite Stawell being a finals challenger and having plenty of incentive to do well with 30year premiership celebrations, the visiting Burras were never really in trouble.
A five-goal-to-one opening term established a platform for a comprehensive 57-point victory with regular play-maker John Delahunty, slick Oliver Young, dominating big man Kieran Delahunty and five-goal forward Brayden Ison leading the charge.
At the same time, at Dimboola, Horsham throttled the Roos, also putting the game beyond doubt with a powerful opening term.
For the Demons Ryan Kemp, Joel Geue and Deek Roberts bagged 16 goals between them, with Jack Mentha, Billy Lloyd and Josh Mibus also collecting votes.
A huge aspect in favour of Horsham is that it will enter this weekend’s clash as an underdog, something it would rarely enjoy.
The Demons are likely to try to adopt a creative as well as negating game to turn the tables on the home side. They will be confident of matching the Burras on the deck but will need to somehow take the sting out of the Burras’ tall timber.
Regardless of how it all unfolds, the game should be a ripper, with the Burras getting home by 14 points.
Eagles v Warriors
Sitting below both the Demons and Burras in the top five are Warrack Eagles and Stawell, which will meet at Warracknabeal’s Anzac Park.
The Eagles have just about secured a finals double chance in third spot and a win over the visiting Warriors will confirm as much.
The Eagles were more than 10 goals better than Ararat last week and at this stage shape as a major finals dark horse.
The Yarriambiack combine, when on song, opens up scoring opportunities and last week it was Jesse Murphy and Jack Wilson who enjoyed the primary spoils with five goals each.
Kieran Ellis, rarely missing from the Eagles’ best-player list, again won votes on Saturday, as did Harry Trezise and team barometer Ryan Mckenzie.
Stawell has to pick itself up off the canvas and critically, re-establish ways of kicking a winning score.
Travis Graham was an important inclusion last week and kicked three goals, but he was the only multiple goal-kicker.
David Andrivon has been an important goalkicker this year and was good again on Saturday. Stawell has an outstanding lead-by-example coach in Tom Eckel. Cam Kimber and Jesse Galea-portelli were also in the best last week.
But the side needs to play well collectively to return to winning form.
Saints v Rats
The Eagles will have an edge at home and win by 27 points.
Horsham Saints, meanwhile, appear to have stitched up what was a swinging fifth spot by beating Nhill and now take on Ararat at home at Coughlin Park.
The Saints are in a position where every game they play is a 50-50 proposition and Saturday is no exception.
Ararat has the team capable of upsetting the Saints’ applecart, especially if Jack Ganley, Grady Slocombe, Nick Mendes and Alan Batchelor can continue good form.
The Rats also have a chance to exploit the strength of Gordon Laurie against the Saints.
Horsham Saints came from behind to beat Nhill in a profound result last week, with Xander Mcrae and Jacob O’beirne leading the charge and Sam Jasper kicking four important goals.
The Saints will again do it hard but will win by 17 points.
Nhill will be kicking itself for letting another chance slip by and now faces a Dimboola side, which will give itself a chance of causing an upset.
The Tigers were up at the last change last week but watched a four-point advantage turn into a 12-point loss.
Ben Kirsopp, Billy Hayes and Lucas Dahlenburg led best-player lists for the Tigers and Callan Semple kicked four goals.
Nhill takes on a Dimboola side already busy planning for next year and with little to lose.
The Roos have had a disappointing year and would have hated being on the end of a 20-plus belting at the hands of Horsham and are sure to seize any opportunities.
Ben Miller was Dimboola’s best last week, ahead of Mick Pohlner and Jayden Lehmann and Jackson O’neill.
Nhill will win by 30 points.
BIG MEN FLY: Stawell’s Jack Beaton and Minyipmurtoa’s Kieran Delahunty in a ruck contest during a Wimmera Football League clash at Stawell’s Central Park. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER