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28 April 2021
By DEAN LAWSON
Horsham will use a game against historic inter-city rival Ararat in Wimmera league football on Saturday to try to regather a winning formula after falling off the pace under lights last weekend.
The Demons, outgunned in an Anzac Day clash against Horsham Saints, would have gleaned a need for greater balance and more potency in front of the sticks.
At the same time, Ararat needs to find a way of matching competition leaders after succumbing to yardstick Minyip-Murtoa in a one-sided affair at Murtoa.
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Two Horsham players likely to make life hard for the Rats are defending duo Ben Lakin and Rhona Conboy.
Lakin, a quintessential springboard, was superb in a losing team on Sunday night, providing an eye-catching early season performance. He was hard to miss as he repelled continual Saints forays forward last week.
Conboy provided alternative defensive pressure, enjoying the contest in close, and young team-mates drew breath in his presence in the defensive half.
But Horsham, like many sides, has a relatively green list and will be constantly exposed to the inconsistencies of youth this year.
Horsham Saints beat the Demons through the centre corridor last week and shut down attacking moves as the game went deep, leaving the home side to ask Jeremy Hartigan to shoulder a heavy load going forward.
The Saints rallied in response to a first-round loss, Jacob O’Beirne enjoying a fascinating tangle with Tyler Blake, Mitch Martin rising to the occasion and winning the Anzac Medal, Cody Bryan working himself into the game alongside Sam Breuer and Andrew Devereaux lifting for a Conboy challenge.
The day before, Ararat ran into what looms as a Minyip-Murtoa juggernaut and found itself down more than six goals at half time. That pushed out to more than 10 at the last change and finished with a 50-point loss.
Tom Mills, Baydn Cosgriff and Henry Shea attracted best-player votes, but the team will need plenty more firing to match the visitors.
Minyip-Murtoa, meanwhile, will take a reservoir of confidence up to Beulah and take on the Southern Mallee Giants in match of the round.
The Burras list appears big, strong and talented and at the weekend had plenty of avenues to goal.
Tim McIntyre and Jae McGrath both jagged four goals while Lachie Jones, aerialist Kieran Delahunty, Brylie Cameron and John Delahunty raffled best-player honours.
The clash against the Giants provides Minyip-Murtoa with a legitimate test of strength and 3WM’s Local Footy Live team will be in the southern Mallee covering the contest. Broadcast caller Grant Kuchel said the commentary team was licking its lips in anticipation for the game after the Giants started flexing their muscles on Saturday with a crushing victory over southern neighbour Warrack Eagles.
“I think Minyip-Murtoa will be too strong, but it will be on,” he said.
Hopetoun provided the setting for the Giants’ 151-point demolition of the Eagles with Brock Orval enjoying the spoils with seven goals and players such as Cassidy Parish, Lou White, Ed Lindon and Luke Mahony queuing up for best-player votes.
Warrack Eagles have to pick themselves up for another tough contest, this time against Stawell at Warracknabeal.
The Eagles had little to cheer about last week, although Declan and Caleb Powell, Charlie Penny and Dane Stewart won home-club votes.
Stawell on the other hand, came back from a lengthy break to settle itself among the competition leaders with a big win over Nhill at Stawell.
The Warriors, with big Shane Field finishing with seven goals, shrugged off the Tigers early, kicking six goals in the second, third and final terms to win by 113 points.
On-field leader Tom Eckel marshalled the troops strongly and had worthy lieutenants in Paul Summers, Sam Williams and George Manton. Cody Driscoll kicked three goals.
The Warriors also kept the Tigers to a solitary goal.
It is early days in the season and Nhill has time to regather the troops in weeks ahead, but it is unlikely to have any respite on Saturday against Dimboola, another team keen to establish itself among leaders.
Dimboola is coming off a bye and a narrow first-round victory against Horsham Saints and has a good mix of muscle, skill, fitness and speed.
There are a few to watch out for, including slick forward Dylan Tarczon, leader Justin Beugelaar and the powerful Jackson O’Neill. The list is lengthy.
For Nhill last week it was Liam Albrecht, Angus Wheaton, Ed Pritchard and Josh Jarred who squeezed into the best.
This Western Highway contest tends to bring out the best in both sides.
Horsham Saints have a bye.
The entire April 28, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser and AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!