Sport

Wary about Waaia’s form

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July 20, 2017

Waaia 2005 premiership player Brad Henderson will face some of his former Shepparton United teammates when the Bombers host reigning premier Shepparton East on Saturday.

Waaia has won five of its past six Picola District Football League south-east division matches, but with a closer analysis that form line could be deceiving.

The Bombers performed exceptionally well in round 11 to upset Tungamah by 16 points after being on the end of a 77-point defeat only the week before at the hands of Rennie.

Since then, Mick Cleeland’s charges have struggled to stamp their authority on clashes with Dookie United and Katandra, despite eventually claiming victory.

There will be no room for complacency on Saturday when ladder leader Shepparton East makes the trip to Waaia Recreation Reserve.

Last time the two sides faced each other it was the Eagles who took the honours by 16 points, but two Bombers in particular who did not take to the field in that game could prove the difference this time around.

Mark Meyland missed that match, but returned last week to contribute with two goals, while former Shepparton United player Brad Henderson joined Waaia before the transfer deadline and booted three majors in a best-on-ground performance against the Kats.

Henderson played at United with Eagles coach Dwain Vidler, David Gillespie, Matt Rendina and Brendan Scott, so they will know how dangerous he can be.

With Charlie Burrows (38 goals for the year) also in great form, the Bombers will go into this fixture with plenty of confidence.

Vidler had no doubt about Waaia’s form.

‘‘They are in some really good form and it’s a big game for both clubs,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve had two pretty scrappy games the last few rounds, so hopefully this week we can put it all together.’’

Cobey Aynsley has kicked 42 goals in 12 matches this season to once again lead the way for the Eagles, but with four other players hitting the scoreboard multiple times in last week’s win over Dookie United — and seven players having managed double-figure goal tallies for the year — Vidler was happy with his side’s attacking prowess.

‘‘It’s good to even the spread out, we don’t rely on one player like we have a bit in the past,’’ he said.

And while his charges are doing well going forward, Vidler knows the match will be won elsewhere on the ground.

‘‘It will be won in the middle,’’ he said.

‘‘Both teams will back their midfielders to get the job done, and whoever can get the ball to their forwards will do well.’’

Katamatite v Tungamah

A mental lapse cost Katamatite a chance at a huge upset last week against Katunga and co-coaches Tyler Sprunt and Matt Dwyer will be hoping there is no repeat again on Saturday.

The Tigers were within just three points of the Swans at the main break, but could not go on with the job and eventually lost by more than 10 goals.

Pat Riordan and Jack Kelly will again be important to their side’s chances, while livewire forward Mark Mills will be hoping he can get off the leash this weekend after being tagged out of last week’s game.

However, the Bears will be on high alert after going down to Rennie by 33 points last round and will be keen to bounce back from that defeat.

Forward Ash Saunders will be out to improve his performance after being kept to just a solitary goal against the Grasshoppers.

Katandra v Dookie United

Katandra is yet to break its duck this season with a maiden victory, but its form is certainly on the improve.

After conceding more than 100 points five times in the first eight rounds, the Kats have done so only once in their past five matches.

Ryleigh Shannon, Aaron Muntz and Corey Hickford have led the way in recent weeks, with co-coaches Ramadan Yze and Sam Ahmet sure to have plenty of confidence in their troops heading into this clash.

Dookie has pushed ladder leader Shepparton East and Waaia during the past two matches and despite its finals hopes being gone, it will still play out the season with vigour.

Playing coach Pat McMullan booted four goals last week and should again be one of his side’s better performers.

Rennie v Katunga

Rennie will be hunting its sixth straight victory on Saturday after hitting some great mid-season form.

The Grasshoppers ran all over Tungamah last week to sound a strong warning to the rest of the competition.

Ed Bayles (four goals) and Gareth Oughton (three) led the way up forward against the Bears and will again look to hit the scoreboard against Katunga.

The Swans shook off an early challenge from Katamatite last round and will look to come out of the blocks much quicker.

Callum Wilson was at his damaging best with five majors, while Shannon Emmett was superb in the win.

A large defeat could leave the door ajar for Dookie to put pressure on Katunga in the lead-up to finals, so co-coaches Daniel Burness and Eamon Reeves will be stressing the importance of a good performance in this fixture.

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