Tester for Panthers, Rams
The level of Natimuk United and Rupanyup resurgence in Horsham District football will slip into the spotlight this weekend when the teams clash at Natimuk.
Both are coming off solid firstround wins and will be keen to build critical momentum.
Natimuk United scored a comprehensive 50-point win over historic rival Noradjuha-quantong while Rupanyup had a successful trip to Edenhope where it shot out of the blocks and was ahead by 33 points at the final siren.
Both camps have been generating plenty of discussion during the pre-season build-up and will be keen to generate early momentum.
Last week Rupanyup, which has had a significant influx of interstate players under new coach Jack Musgrove, led at every change against the Saints.
Daniel Reading headed best-player cards in Rupanyup’s season opener, featuring alongside Darwin import Jesse Jesson and returning Matt Tyler.
Critically, other Darwin connections Hugh Mcmurtrie and Chris Parris also featured prominently as Trent Grant bagged six goals. Players had to weather hot conditions dished up from Mother Nature as well as opponents.
Natimuk United managed to pull away from a youthful Bombers outfit, finding avenues to goal through the likes of Nathan Koenig, five six-pointers, and Jaydon Stiles, four. Newcomer Stiles impressed alongside home-grown Rams Jesse and Kym Wilkinson and Alex and Wil Ridsdale.
Kees take on Saints
While the Panthers and Rams grapple at Natimuk, another firstround winner Kalkee will continue Edenhope-apsley’s early-season test at Kalkee.
Kalkee, another club generating plenty of pre-season interest, proved too good for Laharum in a drama-packed match last week.
The Kees snatched an early lead before a second-quarter Laharum comeback and then pushed on strongly to record a 48-point win.
The Kees are on a mission this year and that doesn’t augur well for an Edenhope-apsley side on the hunt for early-season traction.
The return of Lachie Exell and Simon Hobbs had an immediate impact for the Kees on Saturday as joint coach Hamish Exell steered the home side to victory. Karl Campbell and Jasper Gunn were others to capture attention, as was the injury to Laharum coach Robbie Miller, set to miss up to 10 weeks after suffering a broken leg.
In the Saints’ clash against Rupanyup, meanwhile, it was the likes of Dale Smith, Chris Heath, Jak Ryan and Taylor Milner who featured prominently.
One of the big winners of the opening round was Jeparit-rainbow, scoring a 147-point win over Taylors Lake.
Storm will also be favourite to beat Noradjuhua-quantong at Quantong but might find the young Bombers a tougher nut to crack.
New assistant coach Daniel Batson and Ash Clugston kicked 18 goals between them for Jeparit-rainbow last week as the Storm stormed to victory.
Shane Maslin, Brad Hunter and Tim Walker also led the charge for the visitors.
Noradjuha-quantong showed plenty of spirit against Natimuk United and will need to rekindle the effort for the visiting Storm.
Jack Vague, Cam Bruce, James Hallet and Remy Cross all featured in the Bombers’ best last week.
If Jeparit-rainbow made its season intentions clear last weekend then Harrow-balmoral went a step further and issued a warning to the competition that it was chasing a flag.
The Southern Roos trounced Pimpinio by 213 points and now set their sights on Taylors Lake.
James Staude stole the limelight with 11 goals but it was the firstup game from newcomer Todd Lawrence, six goals, that generated most discussion. Will Plush, Harrison Rees and Hamish Mccrae also shone in the big win.
Taylors Lake will need to hold its nerve against the Roos and hope coach Jye Smith and the likes of Matt Mcculloch, Alex Hill and Connor Healy can continue to produce good games.
While all other teams have had a chance to blow out the cobwebs, Swifts will join the action after a first-round bye to take on Pimpinio.
The Baggies will be after a first-up win while Nathan Sachse’s Pimpinio needs to quickly regroup and find a way of rebounding.
Liam Jakobi and Dylan Arnott joined Sachse and Corey Mann were at the top of the Tigers’ best-player list last week.
Laharum has the bye.