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WFL| Round 8: Horsham Saints aim to upset confident Minyip-Murtoa

REDEMPTION: Horsham Saint Jacob O’Beirne shrugs off a Minyip-Murtoa defender in their round one clash. The Saints will seek redemption for the loss on Saturday as they aim to become the first team to beat Minyip-Murtoa this year. Picture: WILLAMY IMAGES

REDEMPTION: Horsham Saint Jacob O’Beirne shrugs off a Minyip-Murtoa defender in their round one clash. The Saints will seek redemption for the loss on Saturday as they aim to become the first team to beat Minyip-Murtoa this year. Picture: WILLAMY IMAGES

Fresh from an interleague week off following a season-best performance against Stawell, Horsham Saints are set to have another crack at an undefeated Minyip-Murtoa outfit.
The Saints’ premiership defence could not have got off to a worse start in round one, with the raging premiership favourite handing the reigning premiers an 82-point defeat.
On the night, the defeat could have been worse if not for a shut-down game plan employed by Saints coach Shane Bruer, who instructed his troops to flood the stoppages and quell the Burras’ run and carry. 
However, from here the Saints have gradually improved, with their usual free-flowing running game of previous years returning against the Warriors in round seven, culminating in a classy 65-point win that has delivered a shot of inspiration for redemption against their round one nemesis.
The Burras on the other hand have not missed a beat, taking on all who dare to question their legitimacy as premiership favourites.
They will seek to flex their muscle on a Saints’ side that dares to bring their unbeaten run to an end. 
The saints will need their running game firing, with Minyip-Murtoa’s big-bodied on-ballers creating endless chances up forward, where a bevy of hungry and disciplined forwards await their opportunities.
But can the Burras handle a wet deck? Some league followers feel that might be their Achilles heel, with a host of tall timber yet to be questioned in slippery conditions. 
Saturday might just bring such conditions and if so, the Saints will need to capitalise on their smaller brigade to create some run and clear the packs when the ball is in contest if they are a chance to threaten.   
Of importance for the Saints, their leaders have found touch. Sam Clyne’s game against Stawell was full of run and Nathan Clough was strong around the contests, while up forward, Heath Watson drew plenty of attention, Matt Combe’s kicking was laser like and Jacob Cooke-Harrison’s work rate was first class.
But is this enough to topple the Burras? Unlikely. The Burras are the 2015 Saints in 2016: Well coached, determined to break a premiership drought and strong across all lines.
Interleague backman Damian Cameron is now in full flight, an on-ball brigade led by John Delahunty has numerous options changing through the centre and tall timber in Jae McGrath and Matt Coleman up forward is stretching all teams across the competition. Most impressively though, is the Burras commitment.
This is a team that is craving success and is willing to make the sacrifices to achieve the goals of a district starved of high-end success for 20 years.
You can bet their intentions are clear come Saturday: Solidify their game plan and extend the wins column that sits next to the zero in the loss column. 
Battle of big improvers 
Round one could not have started worse for any side than Warracknabeal, which kicked just the one goal and trailed by 49 points at quarter time against Nhill. From there, the Eagles outscored the Tigers and will be hell bent on redeeming their first quarter showing from round one.
The Eagles have shown strong patches both within games and across the season, with inconsistency perhaps attributed to a bevy of players travelling to the club on weekends, making cohesion as a group difficult without regular training sessions. However, a finals spot is within their grasp if they can atone for their round one defeat at the hands of the Tigers. 
The Tigers on the other hand need this win to confirm their intent for a finals push. Also having a strong contingent of travellers, Nhill has found some strong form in recent weeks and appears to be slowly building an outfit that not only has potential to play finals, but to shake it up.
This was confirmed in its last showing against the ever-present Horsham Demons, where a one-point defeat was lacking in belief after the Tigers squandered a 17-point three-quarter-time lead. 
Jake Corstens, fresh off a bag of five goals, will be keen to continue his form up foward, while evergreen Nathan Sasche continues to get rewards for effort.
The Eagles on the other hand need to solve one problem – goals. Their biggest return for the year sits at 11.
While Ryan McKenzie is regularly chipping away on the scoreboard, a bag is required this week if the Eagles are going to press the Tigers.
Recruit Sam Carr and Jake Dalgliesh are regularly among the best, but need assistance from the likes of Matthew Rix and Kieran Ellis, who need to fire. But on their home turf of Davis Park, expect the Tigers to assert some authority against the Warracknabeal outfit. 
Ominous signs for Rats 
Ararat will make the trek to Horsham to take on a Horsham side smarting from a close call against a determined Nhill outfit.

For full story, see the May 25, 2016 edition of The Weekly Advertiser.

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Posted on May 25 2016

Posted by on May 25 2016. Filed under FEATURED, 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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