Top two chance for Stawell

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Stawell War­riors can vault into sec­ond place on Wim­mera Foot­ball League lad­der on Satur­day as they pre­pare for a vi­tal clash with Ararat at Alexandra Oval.

The War­riors cel­e­brated the 20th an­niver­sary of the merger be­tween Stawell and the War­riors with an 11.10 (76) to 7.9 (51) win against Hor­sham Saints at the week­end, putting them within strik­ing dis­tance of the Rats.

Young de­fender Jack­son Tau­rau was su­perb in the win, help­ing blunt the in­flu­ence of a Saints for­ward line that had recorded its high­est score of the sea­son against War­rack Ea­gles in round 14.

Saints key for­ward An­gus Martin – who en­tered the game hav­ing kicked 10 goals in his previous three out­ings – was re­stricted to a sin­gle ma­jor, while Sam Jasper was the team’s only mul­ti­ple goal kicker with two.

Mid­fielder Jamie Bach and for­ward Tom Eckel joined Tau­rau among Stawell’s best, while War­riors Cody Driscoll and David An­drivon kicked four goals each.

An­gus Gove and Cody Hel­yar were the Saints’ best in the loss.

Stawell now trails sec­ond-placed Ararat by four points and less than seven percent after the Rats’ 14.6 (90) to 10.11 (71) stum­ble against South­ern Mallee Gi­ants.

The Rats had plenty of the play in the open­ing term but failed to pun­ish the Gi­ants on the score­board, record­ing a waste­ful 1.6 to their op­po­nents’ 1.1.

Ararat straight­ened out its kick­ing to main­tain a slim ad­van­tage at half time, but the Gaints, be­hind out­stand­ing per­for­mances and a com­bined 10 goals from coach Cole­man Schache and on­ballers Josh Web­ster and Tyler Lehmann, kicked away after the long break.

Rat Corey Tay­lor pre­sented well up for­ward and kicked five goals, while Liam Arnott did his best to pro­vide rebound from Ararat’s back half and Nick Men­des played to his usual high stan­dard in the mid­dle.

The Rats have spent most of the sea­son in sec­ond place but sud­denly look vul­ner­a­ble after back to back losses.

The Gi­ants could also con­ceiv­ably sur­pass Ararat this round with a big win against Dim­boola in their game at Dim­boola on Satur­day.

While the Rats look shaky, Minyip-mur­toa con­tin­ued its dom­i­nant home and away cam­paign with an 18.12 (120) to 6.8 (44) thump­ing of reign­ing pre­mier Hor­sham, ef­fec­tively end­ing the Demons’ fi­nals chances.

De­fender Tim Macken­zie was im­pe­ri­ous for the Bur­ras, help­ing surge the ball for­ward where Brad Inglis and Bray­den Ison con­tin­ued their strong form of re­cent weeks, boot­ing seven and three goals re­spec­tively.

Hor­sham cap­tain Ben Lakin con­tin­ued to stand up in de­fence with Brodie Mines, Brad Hari­gan and four-goal Cullen Wil­liams also con­tribut­ing in the loss.

Nhill fell just short of cap­tur­ing its sec­ond win of the sea­son after fight­ing back gal­lantly from a 32-point quar­ter time deficit against War­rack Ea­gles.

The Tigers booted five goals to none in the sec­ond term with Frazer Driscoll, Toby Case and Scott Craig in the thick of the ac­tion, but War­rack pushed its lead back out to two goals in the third and held its nerve in a tense fi­nal term to win 9.11 (65) to 7.11 (53) at Brim.

Coach Ryan Mcken­zie’s men were fi­nally re­warded with their fourth win of the sea­son after seven straight losses, with Mcken­zie join­ing Nick Peters, Dane Ste­wart and Adam Schulz among the Ea­gles’ best.

The team will find the go­ing tougher on Satur­day when it takes on Minyip-mur­toa at Mur­toa, while Nhill will re­group to face Hor­sham at Davis Park.

CHASE: Minyip-mur­toa’s Jake Bal­lagh tack­les Hor­sham’s Deek Roberts. Minyip-mur­toa con­tin­ued dom­i­nant home and away cam­paign with an 18.12 (120) to 6.8 (44) thump­ing of the reign­ing pre­mier. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER its

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