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05 May 2021
By DEAN LAWSON
Up for grabs! It’s a term many would have avoided in reference to a Horsham District football flag in the past decade with competition quickly becoming obvious.
But that is what the 2021 season is suggesting so far and the story will gather more intrigue at Quantong when competition resumes after a league bye this weekend.
Noradjuha-Quantong is doing everything to suggest it is developing benchmark status and will continue to turn heads if it can beat Jeparit-Rainbow on Saturday week.
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But the top six on the ladder so far appear relatively even and there seems little doubt we are heading deep into a highly competitive year.
Everyone is still measuring themselves against perennial force Harrow-Balmoral and Jeparit-Rainbow was no exception last week, scoring a 21-point win against the Roos.
The result left the Storm sitting in fourth place with a three-four win-loss record and tapping at the heels of the Bombers, Rupanyup and Kalkee.
If the Storm can upset the Bombers after this weekend’s spell the competition will continue to burst open.
It was big five-goal key-position aerialist Peter Weir and consistent Jay Kirwood, four goals, who led the way against Harrow-Balmoral last week and they will continue to loom as key players.
There was little in the game at Balmoral, but a five-goal final term from the visitors suggested the Wimmera-Mallee outfit has a bit in the tank.
Shane Maslin and Lukas Essenenwanger also played primary roles in the win.
The Bombers will be floating on a cloud of confidence after a crushing 117-point win over Edenhope-Apsley, inspired by running machine Damian Cameron, six-goal Jason Kerr, Riley Dunlop and co.
But the team must now capture a major scalp, just what Jeparit-Rainbow represents, but maintaining momentum over a break will be a challenge.
With Kalkee and Rupanyup likely to win their next games and perhaps Harrow-Balmoral favourite to win a tester against Natimuk United next week, Swifts will want to build on a win over Pimpinio to stay in touch with the leaders.
Swifts will use a spell this weekend to plan for their trip across the mountain to Laharum, where the Demons at this stage appear wandering somewhere in the competition’s second tier.
Laharum could only match Kalkee last week for a quarter and then, despite reliable Tom Crawford and big Shannon Argall involved throughout, watched the Kees power on to a 92-point win.
Swifts, meanwhile, with dignitaries watching on with the official opening of their North Park clubrooms, dispatched Pimpinio by 120 points.
A nine-goal game from the Baggies’ Todd Matthews represents an ominous warning for Laharum, as does the form of Steve Carey and Jakob Salmi.
If Swifts are on a voyage of self-discovery, where does that place Natimuk United?
The Rams are in a similar position to the Baggies after surviving a blow-for-blow encounter with Kaniva-Leeor United and will next face a Harrow-Balmoral team in an unusual position of needing a consolidating win.
Rare eye-hand talent Nathan Koenig, with six goals, was among architects of the win over the Cougars, while roaming tall Alex Dwyer and reliable Will Ridsdale were also good in the come-from-behind result.
But the team, like all others so far, will measure itself against the Southern Roos.
Harrow-Balmoral is in the unenviable position of being the hunted, sitting sixth with a week to contemplate the need for a reassuring victory.
Simon Close is in good form, Callum Hobbs was good last week and Ethan Appleton kicked a couple of goals.
Third-placed and unbeaten Kalkee will rest up for a match against a Taylors Lake side desperate to get a win on the board but appearing light-on against the big guns.
Kalkee’s big win over Laharum included a queue of goal-kickers led by Jayden Kuhne with four and the likes of Simon Hobbs, Pat Purcell and Deek Roberts again dominating proceedings.
Taylors Lake does plenty to suggest it can stick with good sides for a half, but ultimately falls away.
This happened against a ruthless Rupanyup side, regardless of the efforts of Trae Martin, Billy Finnigan and Matt McCulloch.
Rupanyup, like Kalkee, is unbeaten and seemingly on a charge.
Last weekend it had Blake Turner, Chris Schaper, five goals, Tim Tyler and Paul Trotter take the lead against the Lakers, while Jack Musgrove kicked six majors.
The Panthers’ next game is against a forever-battling Pimpinio side that managed only two goals against Swifts, with Nathan Clough and Jed Habermann flying the yellow and black flag.
Edenhope-Apsley will have plenty of time to plan for its next game, against Kaniva-Leeor United in a contest at Edenhope.
The Saints have wins over Pimpinio and Laharum but managed to score only three behinds last week against Noradjuha-Quantong.
Kaniva-Leeor United, meanwhile, has so far had to contend pacesetters and is likely to start climbing up the ladder during the next few weeks.
Kayne Councillor is giving the Cougars plenty, as is Dylan Natt, Liam Vivian and Ethan Councillor, who bagged a couple of goals last week.
Jack Butler, Robert Wall and Clint Rokebrand were best players for Edenhope-Apsley last week.
The entire May 5, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!