Don’t poke Bears or they may bite back

June 29, 2017

Oliver Small is getting better every week for Katunga in his return from serious injury, and could prove pivotal against Tungamah this weekend.

Tungamah let slip a golden opportunity to continue to pile pressure on ladder leader Shepparton East last week with a loss to Waaia.

Do not expect the Bears to be as lenient this week against Katunga.

‘‘I think the whole playing group was pretty disappointed with our effort last week,’’ co-coach Nick Doyle said.

‘‘We’ll be looking to bounce back this week.’’

Forward Ash Saunders dominated in last week’s clash with six majors and the star will be hoping to hit the scoreboard heavily again this weekend, while James and Nick Irvine will return to the side from holiday.

The Bears remain second on the Picola District Football League south-east ladder, but are under no illusions as to what is needed as the season progresses.

‘‘We’re happy that we’ve only lost two games, but we also understand that we haven’t played our best footy for a lot of those games,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘We definitely have got to improve to be a genuine contender.’’

Meanwhile, Katunga was dealt a heavy blow against Shepparton East last week, losing the match by 92 points.

Co-coach Daniel Burness hoped his side could improve from that performance against the Bears.

‘‘We’re trying to keep positive,’’ he said.

‘‘We played some really good footy in the first half, so we hope we can be a little bit more switched on and maintain more consistency in the second half.’’

With forward target Dylan Sidebottom out for the season after rupturing his Achilles, Oliver Small’s return to the field has come at the perfect time for the Swans.

Burness said Small, who is returning from successive broken legs, would only get better as he secured more game time.

‘‘It’s really good to have him back, he’s still adjusting and finding his way, but it’s probably worked out all right after losing Dylan,’’ he said.

‘‘He probably still hasn’t hit his straps yet, but he’s a handy addition.’’

Small will act as a foil for ex-AFL player Callum Wilson, who leads the competition with 47 goals.

Waaia v Dookie

Waaia completed a massive upset last week in defeating Tungamah and must consolidate that victory with a win against Dookie in round 12.

The Bombers will also be looking to reverse the result from when these two sides last met, when Mick Cleeland’s men could only manage 3.10 to go down by 47 points against United.

Matt Brown and Charlie Burrows booted 10 goals between them against the Bears, and should continue their good form in front of the sticks this week.

For United, a win against Katamatite last week kept its chances of playing finals alive.

Coach Pat McMullan will be hoping to take advantage of a Waaia side that could be susceptible to a drop in intensity after such an uplifting win last week.

Will Patone kicked seven goals against the Tigers and will be looking to hit the scoreboard hard again to try and engineer another upset.

Katamatite v Rennie

Katamatite is looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Dookie last week.

The Tigers will fancy themselves a strong chance of causing a few upsets as the season progresses and that task will begin this week against Rennie.

Brodie McDonald booted four majors against United, with Sam Fowles, Jedd Wright and Mitch McGowan snaring two apiece, and will all try to add to that haul in round 12.

The Grasshoppers managed to find 10 individual goal-kickers against Katandra last week in a win that kept them firmly in the top three.

Many Rennie players are stepping up into the hole left by numerous major injuries, with Dean Bigger, Mitch Collins-Bye and Jake Beams all performing well against the Kats.

Chase Strawhorn kicked 11 goals in Rennie’s 86-point demolition of Katamatite in round five, but he is out injured indefinitely.

Shepparton East v Katandra

The reigning premier sent a strong message to the rest of the competition last week by demolishing Katunga to the tune of 92 points.

However, that margin could be made to look small when the Eagles take on Katandra, with the Kats yet to register a win this season.

Cobey Aynsley and Simon Russell each snared a handful of majors against the Swans and should be looking forward to facing a side that has conceded more than 104 points on average this year.

A key to the Eagles’ success this year has been their goal-kicking spread, with Aynsley (36), Russell (27), Matt Rendina (21), Daniel Campbell (18), Zack Betson (16), Rob Osborne (12) and Jake Pfeiffer (11) each boasting double figures.

But Katandra will certainly not go down without a fight and with Nathan Bovalino, Lachie Dunkley and co-coach Ramadan Yze all in fine form, could give the ladder leaders a run for their money.

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