The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Shortened season takes it to wire
Intrigue surrounding a Horsham District football final top six has continued to evolve in an awkward countdown to the end of the home-and-away season.
With only two rounds remaining courtesy of lockdown byes, Natimuk United and Swifts remain gripped in battle for a swinging sixth place.
Natimuk United has secured a fourpoint break on the Baggies to claim the position, but Swifts have significantly superior percentage.
Both are favourites to win this weekend, although they have potentially tough assignments with the Rams meeting Kaniva-leeor United and Swifts taking on a hardening Pimpinio.
The two sides will finish the season against top teams, Swifts against Rupanyup and Natimuk United against Noradjuha-quantong.
The equation means that if games go as form predicts, the Rams will play in the finals and Swifts must do something out of the ordinary. It also means both sides will be hunting upsets in their final home-and-away games.
This weekend Natimuk United, which had to fight off a dogged Pimpinio in a return to action last week, takes on Kaniva-leeor United at Natimuk.
Nathan Koenig kicked six goals in Natimuk’s victory and Jono Lovel three, while Sam Anson and Mitch Riddell did well.
Kaniva-leeor United had a similarly tough encounter with Laharum, holding on to win by 14 points.
Goal-kicking machine Chris Ryan bagged another six for the Cougars as Hamish Bennett, Carl Hausler and Jock Maddern won votes.
Return to competition last weekend was understandably trying for many outfits, but circumstances have set up a solid Saturday of action.
Jeparit-rainbow produced a confidence-building win over Rupanyup and faces another tough encounter on Saturday, this time against HarrowBalmoral at Jeparit.
The Storm led the Panthers all day at Rupanyup and ultimately won by 42 points, Scott Driscoll firing and Ash Clugston kicking four goals.
Third-placed Harrow-balmoral, meanwhile, scored a comprehensive 71-point victory over Swifts.
Simon Close shone with seven goals and others such as Cody Deutscher and Mick Phelan topped a best-player group.
Swifts have a chance to respond against Pimpinio, but are unlikely to find the Tigers easybeats.
Brett Hargreaves, Nick Pickering and Jakob Salmi led the Baggies’ efforts last week while Tigers Dylan Baker, Nathan Clough and Dylan Thompson and co made life tough for the Rams.
Pimpinio players would believe they can upset Swifts, especially at Pimpinio.
Rupanyup needs to quickly regain winning form and will try to use Taylors Lake as a form fixer.
The Panthers were off the mark last week, although Elliot Kelly and Charlie Taylor impressed on the vote cards.
Taylors Lake, in response, will run onto Dock Lake reserve buoyed after hanging on to beat Edenhope-apsley by a point.
Matt Mcculloch, Aaron Martin and Andrew Phelan were all primary conspirators in the victory.
Kalkee is another team that will also want to respond after falling 15 points in arrears to premiership fancy Noradjuyha-quantong.
The Kees are sitting fourth on the ladder on the same points as Harrow-balmoral and need to build percentage by having a big win over Laharum.
Laharum came off second best to Kaniva-leeor United last week despite the efforts of aerialist Shannon Argall, Tom Crawford and Brett Ervin.
Jasper Gunn, Louis Papst and Corey Williams also came back from the break strongly for the Kees but found the ladder-leading Bombers too hard to crack.
Noradjuha-quantong would be brimming with confidence and this weekend fronts up against Edenhope-apsley.
Damian Cameron continued to sparkle for the Bombers at the weekend, James Gregg was good and Riley Dunlop also impressed.
Taylor Butler, Bernard Kealy and Nic Langley were the Saints’ best in last week’s thriller for Edenhope-apsley.
Games continue this weekend with venues again limited to participants and essential game organisers.
League president Fred Mellington congratulated clubs for getting through a tough weekend.
“It showed great commitment to the game, the clubs and, most importantly, each other,” he said.