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All on the line for third position

ADVANTAGE: gun Tigers forward Chris Ladhams can give help give Nhill the edge against Ararat this weekend according to coach Sean Bayzand.

Arguably the biggest game of the Wimmera Football League season confronts Ararat and Nhill this weekend as the two attempt to secure third spot.
With just four points separating the sides on the ladder, the result could decide which team ends up with the double chance.
The importance of the clash was not lost on either coach as they strived to join Horsham and Horsham Saints with the double chance.
Nhill coach Sean Bayzand said his players would ‘put it all on the line’ this weekend.
“The game couldn’t be any bigger,” he said. “It could decide third spot and our players know how big this result is for us.
“Rest assured, we’ll leave nothing left in the tank trying to win this one.”
Ararat coach Scott Turner, who was delighted with a come-from-behind win against Stawell last week, also placed significant importance on the result.
“We’ve got a hard run home, but I’ll use the old cliche and say we’ll take it one week at a time,” he said.
“We’ll focus on Nhill this weekend and if we can beat them it will go a long way to helping us fill third spot.”
Injuries will play a big role in the result, with the Tigers facing the match without Gavin Sanderson, hand, Riley Dickerson, hamstring, and Liam Schwarz, adductor. However, former Toohey Medallist Robbie Brodhurst will return to help offset the losses.
Bayzand believes it’s in attack where Brodhurst is likely to return, that the Tigers can grab the advantage. He was, however, not taking the Rats lightly.
“Ararat have gone under the radar and have been underestimated by most sides all season,” he said.
“They’re young, enthusiastic and quick and we will certainly not be taking them lightly.
“I think down forward we have some really big targets that can help exploit their lack of height and experience.
“Players like Robbie Brodhurst, Chris Ladhams and Ritchie Dodds will be crucial for us.”
Turner, who expects Brad Carslake to return after a face injury, expected his side to ‘put up a good fight’.
“We played well against them the first time around at home and there ground is nice and big and suits our running style,” he said.
Full strength
Warrack Eagles will field close to a full strength side in what coach Kyle George has declared a ‘must-win’ game for the club against Dimboola.
George said the Eagles would be buoyed by the return of Tim Bell and Dan Krahe from injury, but wanted a much better four-quarter performance from his charges.
“We played well against the Saints for a couple of quarters, but we need to start producing that form over the entire match,” he said.
“We seem to lose concentration as a team in our matches and we can’t afford to do that.”
Dimboola coach Gary Davidson, also pumped by the return of key players such as Elliott Braithwaite, Hamish Exell, Matt Schultz and Darcy Barber, said winning was going to be difficult.
“They beat us convincingly in the first round but we’re getting key players back and keen to make amends,” he said.
“Realistically we need a lot of things to fall our way to make finals, but the focus is on playing accountable football.”
Preparation
After a narrow escape last weekend, Horsham coach Stuart Farr wants his players to keep improving, starting with success against Horsham United.
“Minyip Murtoa is a very good side and I can’t believe they’re not in the five. They took it right up to us, and it was a good tough contest we were looking for,” he said.
“Don’t think for a second just because the Diggers are on the bottom that they won’t come out to challenge us.”
Horsham will be boosted with the return of key players Josh Pekin, Aaron Barnett and Bronson Durack.
While they are still a few down from full strength, Farr was happy to be getting players back at the right end of the season.
Horsham Diggers coach Shannon Argall has no such luxury, with injury and unavailable players wreaking havoc all season.
The side has battled hard against the odds all season, with coach Argall leading the way, but the Diggers lack star quality and will struggle to contain the mighty Demons.
Make or break
It’s make or break time for a disappointing Stawell this weekend in a last-gasp effort to play finals football.
Coach Brad Cassidy said Warriors needed to win all remaining home and away games to be any chance of being a part of September action.
He said he knew it was not going to be easy, especially facing Horsham Saints this weekend.
“Our skill level and decision making at times against Ararat last week was very disappointing and we were not accountable,” he said.
“It’s a big game against Saints this weekend. Results aside, we want to put three wins together and if that’s not enough to make finals then so be it.”
Warriors will be without the services of Mick Jennings for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, but Cassidy has several worthy replacements in mind, including forward Jamie Solyom who has kicked 25 goals in the past two weeks in reserves.
Horsham Saints are starting to build momentum, and more importantly, get their best players on the park.
Coach Brendan Broadbent is pleased with the form of Jai Pumphrey, Gavin Kelm, Phil Butsch and Nathan Clough who have all had extended times on the sidelines.
On paper the two sides appear evenly matched with stars across most lines.
However, on form, Horsham Saints are the better side and should be able to bring an end to Stawell’s finals aspirations.

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Posted on Jul 29 2010

Posted by on Jul 29 2010. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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