Huge test for Gi­ants

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAWSON

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.

Dim­boola aber­ra­tion?

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.

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