The Border Watch : April 11th 2014
54 WESTERN BORDER FOOTBALL M Western Border starts tomorrow ROD ORRIS email@example.com TWO weeks ago, Millicent took on West Gambier with a piece of silverware riding on the outcome. The Saints lost to the Kangaroos in the grand final of the Elastoplast Cup by six points and while Andrew Robinson’s men may have been disappointed with the end result, there were plenty of positives to emerge. Tomorrow the same two clubs will meet at the same ground to herald in the start of the 51st season of Western Border football, but this time there’s no fancy cup waiting the winner, but premiership points instead. Millicent are coming off its worst ever season in the Western Border, a year where the club “won” the wooden spoon and tasted match success only twice in 15 rounds. With the Western Border roster extended to 17 rounds this year all clubs have an extra home game or two and Millicent must turn McLaughlin Park into its very own castle that adds a little bit of dread into visiting sides. Millicent’s only two wins last year were both at home – v East Gambier and then Casterton – and the Saints must surely have some confidence in rolling the 2013 grand finalist tomorrow. All the gloom and doom talk surrounding Millicent’s playing stocks, particularly at senior level, might just be a furphy and West Gambier venture to McLaughlin Park thinking it simply has to go through the motions to collect the points, then a surprise attack may just ensue. The Saints have some quality players, namely Nat Robbins, Tyson Lindsay, Steve Duldig, Cameron Haggett and Jeremy Hales and if the potential stars in Hamish Nitschke, Joe Walker, Jayden Reilly and Mason Redman can all click together on the same afternoon, then surely anything is possible. On 2013 form, West obviously starts favourite and there is a lot to like about this year’s Kangaroos. Everyone knows the abundant talent that the likes of Brad Wilson, Steven Wenman, Tom Holmes, Rowan Fox, Alan Kennedy and Daron McElroy, but West will also be bolstered by the return of Kayne O’Brien and the recruitment of Chris Wehl. Both are tall, getting stronger, great marks and even better kicks. If West can withstand the early and expected onslaught by Millicent, the return home should be with the points. Millicent v West Head-to-head Played: 99 Wins: Millicent 60, West Gambier 39 Draws: 0 Last time: West Gambier Need any more reasons to select South? South Gambier v Casterton/Sandford Head-to-head Played: 98 Wins: South Gambier 68, Casterton 30 Draws: 0 Last time: South Gambier 7.13 (55) d Casterton 7.7 (49), Round 12, 2013 at Island Park East Gambier v North Gambier IT might be night time, but there will be nowhere for East Gambier to hide when it meets reigning premier, North tomorrow. The McDonald Park lights will provide an awesome spectacle to start the 2014 season, but for East it will be one big challenge. Brendan Little will make his Western Border coaching debut and he probably couldn’t have asked for a tougher schedule. For a variety of reason, North will be without seven 2013 premiership players, Anthony Kilsby, Glen Soper, Callum Hudson, David Nulty, Adam Kurzman, Leigh Symons and Nick Mark. But coming into tomorrow’s THE TACTICIAN: North Gambier assistant coach, Richard O’Grady. expect more of the same. Admittedly, Sandford has not brought an abundance of exquisite talent to the table, but moreso, players who are 100pc goers and if they don’t follow the pattern set by second year Cats coach, Dylan Ayton then they won’t last. Ayton is old school. He’ll run through a brick wall and expect his teammates to do the same. His new assistant coach this year, Keith Ransom has the same philosphy so expect a tough Casterton/Sandford outfit every match day this season. BIG RECRUIT: Carl Slape has joined South Gambier this season after previously playing with East Gambier followed by Kybybolite. 8.8 (56) d Millicent 7.5 (47), Round 11, 2013 at McLaughlin Park South Gambier v Casterton/Sandford FOR some strange reason that nobody has been able to adequately explain, South Gambier has struggled against Casterton in recent years. With the latter now merged with former South West District club, Sandford, 54 - The Border Watch, Friday, April 11, 2014 South Gambier on the other hand isn’t necessarily a rough and tumble physical team, but more the Cadillac version. The Demons have some great talent, namely Simon Berkefeld, Brett O’Neil, Brett Exelby, Nick Jenkins, Brad Bryant, Paul Ellis, Ben Miller and the coach, Luke Duncan. When they get hold of the pill, South teammates know it will be delivered with precise execution. Coupled with the muscle of Jak Ryan, Luke Foran, Lloyd Pearce-Raisin, Jake Dowdy, Scott Fleming, Ash Bryant and Brent Howard, South then have the talent well to cover the tough affection any team may throw its way. At home, South rarely lose. Don’t believe me? Check the facts, 21 losses from 87 games at Blue Lake Sports Park in the last 10 seasons! And Casterton hasn’t won there since 2010. side is another crop of talent, Troy Hatt, Hamish Telford, Liam Downs-Woolley, Jake Schutz, Thomas Madigan, Matt McInerney, Matt Hensel, Dylan Munn, Kyle Kuhn and Dylan Silvy. Until last year, North had never won back-to-back flags, it is now six months away from becoming only the third club to win three in a row. South were the first, winning in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and then took premiership euphoria to another level by also winning in 1999 and 2000 as well for five on the trot. Portland won flags from 2006-08 and North is on the cusp of greatness. East has credentials to cause an upset but Little must have his men switched on from the opening bounce. Shem Balshaw, Chris Anderson, Anthony Wilson, Kevin Thomson and Jayden Eldridge are now seen as senior statesmen of the Bulldogs, despite some having tender years. East, like most clubs, has a deep well of talent and players of the ilk of Riley Janeway, Toby Case, Nick Lock, Matt McCallum, George Beck and Simon Tulak will be watched closely this year. East Gambier v North Gambier Head-to-head Played: 117 Wins: East Gambier 65, North Gambier 50 Draws: 2 Last time: North 15.13 (103) d East 12.10 (82), Round 15, 2013 at McDonald Park HIGH HOPES: New West Gambier recruit, Chris Wehl from KNTFL club, Padthaway. VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au New season brings new hope ON FIELD LEADER: New East Gambier vicecaptain, Jayden Eldridge.
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