Good Friday, good football
Just how ‘good’ Good Friday will be for either Stawell or Ararat this weekend will depend how both fare in a big Wimmera Football League clash this week.
The arch rivals rarely fail to disappoint in battles of the Great Divide but if one thing is for sure, Friday will be a good day for Wimmera football.
The match at Stawell’s North Park is the only contest within cooee of any other country fixture with other Wimmera league games and neighbouring leagues having a spell for Easter.
This should guarantee a big and enthusiastic crowd in what represents the start of a classic Easter of sport in Stawell.
The teams will approach the game after having mixed results in the league opener at the weekend.
Ararat is coming off a testing win over Warrack Eagles while Stawell came off second best but was far from disgraced against Southern Mallee Giants.
Ararat sparred with the determined Eagles for much of its contest at Alexandra Oval, leading at every change and securing its first four points of the season with a 19-point win.
There were plenty of familiar names dotted through the Rats’ best-player list at the end of the game, with Dan
Mendes leading the votes and Jack Ganley and Ryan Bates catching attention.
An ability to convert good play into goals looms as critical this season and the Rats had Tom Mills, three goals, and Lachie Hamilton, four, leading the charge in front of the sticks.
Stawell has played too many games against the Rats to be intimidated by form. The Warriors are at home but away from their normal headquarters at Central Park, the subject of preparations for the Stawell Gift.
The Warriors had the tough job of travelling to Beulah to play an expected pace-setter first up, and despite initial fears after the opening term, were more than competitive.
The Warriors gave the Giants a fourgoal lead at quarter time but managed to haul their opponents in, trailing by only three points at the half.
There was still little in it by the last change, but in the end the home side surged ahead to score a 32-point win.
Stawell fans would have been impressed by the efforts of talented Tom Eckel, Sean Mantell and Tom Taurau while Jay Moody led goal-scoring efforts with three six-pointers.
The season is still too young to call an obvious favourite for Friday’s game but history suggests it should be close. Radio station 3WM and its Local Footy Live team will call the action from the game. The other teams, just after blowing out the cobwebs will get another spell until action resumes with an Anzac Day clash on April 25 between Horsham and Horsham Saints.
Roos on the board
In other results from the weekend, Dimboola and Minyip-murtoa enjoyed success.
In a clash dedicated to men’s health at Nhill, Dimboola prevailed, scoring a 21-point win over the Tigers.
Dimboola broke away with a big and ultimately match-winning eightgoal second term before holding off a committed Nhill second-half challenge.
Dimboola is expecting plenty from recruits this season, and it was players such as Matthew Rosier, Sam Godden and Fraser Jennings leading the way.
Coach Justin Beugelaar was also good alongside Chris Miller and Dan Garner and Mitch Jorgensen bagged four goals.
For the Tigers Scott Hughes kicked six goals while Jake Harrap and Matt Mccallum, three goals, won club votes.
Minyip-murtoa’s nine-point win against the Saints at Murtoa would have boosted the Burras’ early stocks in confidence and perhaps steeled the visiting tri-colours for a big assignment against Horsham.
The Burras had winners in Tim Mcintyre and general Luke Chamberlain, while Gus Trethowan, Ben Mcintyre and Tim Mackenzie also won accolades. Jae Mcgrath kicked four goals.
TALL ORDER: Dimboola’s Dan Garner finds himself matched up with Nhill giant Bradley Graham at the weekend. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER