Fighting to shore up spots

July 06, 2017

Kyel Bain (marking) has kicked 15 goals this season to be one of Blighty’s numerous attacking avenues.

Blighty is under pressure to keep second spot and is looking to regroup against Berrigan on Saturday.

Blighty lost to the side hot on its heels in third, Strathmerton, last round and coach Daniel Kirchen is hoping for a better effort against a Berrigan side just as hungry to keep its position.

‘‘It is going to be a tough game, we have already played them this season and we know what to expect,’’ Kirchen said.

‘‘They were good in tight and won a lot of the ball first, so that is something that we need to work on.’’

The Redeyes have lost two games this season and Kirchen was pleased with how his side was tracking.

‘‘I think so far this season our consistency has been good and we have been in both the games that we lost,’’ Kirchen said.

‘‘There’s a lot of games still to go, so we can’t get complacent. Our goal is to finish in the top three sides come the end of the year, and we are in contention.’’

Former Finley star Jed Brain has been in sensational form for the Redeyes with 32 goals.

‘‘He is super-consistent, he plays through the middle and will go down forward and kick his two or three goals a game,’’ Kirchen said.

However, Brain is not the only goal-kicker for Blighty with Lenard Clarke (23), James Kennedy (20), Kyel Bain (15), Brett Macdonald, Lachlan Macdonald (14), Charles Simpson (13) and Thomas Draffin (10) each boasting double figures.

Meanwhile, Tom Irvine leads the Saints’ goal-kicking with 33 and requires close checking.

Berrigan (fifth, 5-6) has lost three of its past four matches, falling 138 points short of reigning premier Picola United last round.

With Deniliquin Rovers (4-6) lurking a game behind Berrigan in sixth, Lee Schmidt’s side has an easier three-game block ahead after Saturday.

The Saints face winless Yarroweyah, the Rovers and Mathoura (seventh, 2-9) in a crucial period to cement their finals spot.

Meanwhile, the Picola District League’s south-east division has a general bye this weekend.

Strathmerton v Yarroweyah

Strathmerton, the Picola District Football League north-west division’s in-form side, will host winless cellar dweller Yarroweyah on Saturday.

The Bulldogs have won eight straight and stormed past league leaders Picola and Blighty in the past two weeks.

Adrian Crestani (28 goals) and Daniel Ellis (23) have led a two-pronged attack for the Bulldogs, while Matthew O’Kane (17), Tyron Hill (11) and Mikal Bloom (10) have also reached double figures.

Meanwhile, the Hoppers have the worst defensive record in the competition, conceding an average of 164 points a game this season.

Strathmerton has won its past five games by an average of 40 points as it looks to bridge a percentage gap of 17.34 from Blighty in second.

Jerilderie v Picola United

First plays eighth in a Picola District Football League north-west mismatch between Picola United and Jerilderie.

Reigning premier Picola has only lost once this season and is a game clear of second-placed Blighty.

Thomas Byrnes leads United’s goal kicking with 32 goals, while Taylor Beard and Adam Jorgensen have also contributed to a three-pronged forward line.

Meanwhile, the Demons have only won two games this season and are without a win for three weeks.

Josh Hillary’s side has struggled against the competition’s cream, with its victories coming against Yarroweyah and Mathoura.

The Demons almost snatched victory a fortnight ago when they lost to Berrigan by one point, but it will be much harder to get a positive result on Saturday.

Deniliquin v Mathoura

Deniliquin Rovers will be hoping to make it two wins either side of the bye when they face Mathoura on Saturday.

The Rovers endured a mid-season slump, losing seven straight games, but a 211-point win against Yarroweyah a fortnight ago will give them confidence.

Saturday’s opponents are also fresh off beating the Hoppers.

However, that is the only win the Timbercutters have had since round three, with Phil Hazelman’s side also enduring a tough run of games.

One ladder position and two wins separates the two sides in sixth and seventh, respectively.

The Timbercutters have struggled in attack and defence this season, scoring 658 points, 265 fewer than the Rovers, while they also fall short having conceded 473 more points.

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