Huge test for Giants
Okay Southern Mallee Giants, you have passed your initial test in Wimmera Football League by beating Warrack Eagles.
It was a tough gig considering the Eagles have been steadily improving and have sights on the finals this year.
But this weekend you take on Minyip-murtoa, last year’s runner-up and a team already starting to work through the gears to establish itself as a competition force.
Conversations in the regional football fraternity eventually find their way to debates about the Giants and what they might be able to do in their first season in the competition.
They ticked a major box in the opening round, beating the Eagles by seven goals in a major announcement they had arrived.
Most of the players expected to have an immediate impact stood up, with coach Coleman Schache leading the way, and Sam Weddell and Brock Orval cherry ripe from a big season in Darwin.
Tyler Lehmann topped the best-player list in a shining display as the Giants declared their presence with a throaty roar.
The northern force is in a good position to take on the Burras, which will come off a comprehensive win over Dimboola.
The clash will be at Hopetoun, a new playing environment for Minyipmurtoa. But make no mistake. The Burras are a potent force, packing key-position punch and several avenues to goal.
Aerialist and Toohey Medallist Kieran Delahunty started the season with a bang on Saturday, kicking six goals as the Burras eclipsed the Roos by 147 points.
He also had plenty of mates enjoying the spoils with Jae Mcgrath bagging five and Angus Trethowan and Luke Chamberlain four each.
Others such as John Delahunty, Sam Winfield and Lachie Johns were also busy in the mix.
The contest appears up for grabs and a win for the Giants would certainly get everyone’s attention.
Meanwhile, a heavy loss first up would be something Dimboola needs and the Roos will have to regroup for another tough clash, against Horsham.
The game at Dimboola is also doubling as an AFL Victoria Worksafe game of the month.
The Roos introduced Wimmera fans to a string of new names with Josh Edgar, Justin Beugelaar, Jack Hatcher and Peter Wren all featuring in a best-player list.
But the camp would be hoping last week’s result was an aberration and reflected a simple teething process. Horsham started its title defence in fine fashion on Sunday, coming from behind to beat Horsham Saints by 45 points.
Ryan Kemp, the star from last year’s grand final, continued his rise to prominence, combining with coach Deek Roberts through the middle, while Ben Lakin rebounded strongly from defence and Jordyn Burke changed the game after shifting into the ruck. John Wood and Josh Burgess also played important big-men roles.
The Saints led early but were overrun and now meet an Ararat side itching to get back into the action after a lengthy wait.
Defensive general Xander Mcrae was the standard-bear for the Saints last week, while Toohey Medallist Sam Clyne was busy and Matt Combe provided a target in attack.
Ararat notched up a win against Stawell on Good Friday and appears to have the firepower to more than match the Saints.
It seems an eternity ago that Jake Williamson, Jack Ganley, Tyler Cronin, Zach Louder and co trounced the Warriors. Do the Rats need to start again, or are they still in tune?
We get to see Nhill for the first time this season, up against Warrack Eagles at Nhill in what looms as an intriguing contest.
The Tigers have recruited strongly, attracting plenty of expectation, while the Eagles, always on a hiding to nothing in meeting the Giants first up, will want to get their season on track.
The Eagles had come from a long way back against the Giants in the season opener and it was players such as Charlie Wilson, Shannon Argall, Malcolm Douglas and Jeremy Clayton who rose to the challenge.
We wait with interest to see what the Tigers offer.