Sport

Opportunity is knocking

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June 15, 2017

Stanhope keeps on getting the job done, despite missing a number of players. Ryan Emmett, pictured left, is having a standout season after coming across from Goulburn Valley League powerhouse Kyabram.

After playing the bottom side last week, Stanhope gets another game it should be able to phone in this Saturday.

The Lions are locked on five wins with Lancaster and need to keep winning to build pressure on top Kyabram District Football League sides Nagambie and Violet Town, who have only lost once each.

Stanhope is back home against Undera after travelling to Longwood last Saturday, proving too strong for the Redlegs and winning by 95 points.

Brenton Gray’s side has again been hurt by injury, but it has given the opportunity for other players to stand up.

Gray is not expected to play as he approaches his 200th senior game for the club.

After playing under-18s last year, Lachie Firmer has come into the side and more than played his role.

Jonathan Pearson was another younger player to get his shot last week, coming in from the thirds, while Damian Miller was a standout after coming up from the reserves.

But the core of the regular senior side is still there for Stanhope, with Tim Somerville, Alex O’Reilly, Ryan Emmett and Jack Young in outstanding form.

The Lions have a favourable draw to come, with Lancaster, Nagambie and Avenel the only major tests to come in the next eight weeks.

For Undera, its continual challenge is to remain competitive and hang in against the more seasoned teams.

It has been a difficult few weeks for Peter Cordy’s side after starting out the season in positive manner with a galvanising two-point win against Longwood.

Bayden Bailey, Aaron Cordy, Danni Heazlewood and Keelan Mitchell have been consistent contributors at a high level.

Merrigum v Longwood

Merrigum must use Saturday’s fixture against Longwood as a starting point for a much more consistent second half of the season.

The only results the Bulldogs have in the past month is losses to Violet Town and Tallygaroopna before last round’s walkover against Ardmona.

Merrigum faces four fellow bottom seven teams in its next four matches, and will be hoping to claw itself to the head of the chasing pack with victory in all of them.

Longwood’s troubles have been well documented, but the Redlegs managed their second best attacking performance for the season (53) in last week’s loss to Stanhope.

Anthony Tautala took his season tally to 20 majors after slotting five goals, while former Moama coach Simon Maddox provided a wealth of advice from the sidelines to lend a hand, as coach Nick Brown remains suspended.

Murchison-Toolamba v Lancaster

Murchison-Toolamba has hopped into finals contention on the back of securing maximum points from its past five matches.

However, the real test for James Milne’s young men starts on Saturday, with their next four matches against sides in the top six.

Lancaster looms as the first hurdle in that tough run this week, but with Ashton Cashion in fine form and an even spread of goal-kicking options the Grasshoppers will fancy themselves a huge chance for an upset.

The Wombats, who sit in third spot, will be no pushover.

Refreshed after a bye, Nick Bertoli’s charges last tasted defeat on April 22, and will have no intentions of breaking that run.

Brad Orr and Steve Thomson were among Lancaster’s best in its last game and will look to perform well once more.

Avenel v Rushworth

Avenel can secure its position in the top six this week with another dominant performance.

The Swans rag-dolled Undera last week by 187 points, and a similar effort against Rushworth would be enough for them to claim four points for the fifth straight round.

It would mean a massive turnaround for Don Stirling’s men after they dropped the first four matches of the year.

Meanwhile, the Tigers must try to arrest a worrying slide down the ladder after losing their past four games.

Todd Clarke, Jeremy Lambden and Shayne Lynch stood out in last week’s big defeat at the hands of Nagambie, but will need plenty more help if Rushworth is to take down the red hot Swans.

Defeat would put Rushworth two matches behind finals contention, not a place it would want to be at the halfway point of the season.

Nagambie v Girgarre

Nagambie’s superior scoring power continues to blow sides off the park this season.

The Lakers slotted 31 majors last week to demolish Rushworth on the back of consecutive matches with more than 50 scoring shots against Undera (58) and Longwood (52).

Eleven Lakers hit the scoreboard against the Tigers, including seven goals to Mat Waterson and six to Daniel Haysom, and the ladder leader will be hoping for another strong showing this week when it hosts Girgarre.

The Kangaroos kicked themselves out of the game against Murchison-Toolamba last week, booting 5.11, and coach Shannon Tucker will have his troops practising their accuracy in the lead up to this round 10 clash.

Girgarre will need to take all of its chances against the Lakers to try and move back into the top six, after falling out last week.

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