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05 May 2021
By DEAN LAWSON
A battle for Wimmera-Mallee football supremacy appears on in earnest amid growing speculation about who has the team to beat as clubs head into round four.
Competition supremacy might come from the north, south, east or west across the region and this weekend will provide greater insight into which outfits are on the money.
It was as if a sudden gust of wind hit a pile of raked-up autumn leaves last week as results blew competition expectations in all directions.
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Where everything comes to rest now remains to be seen.
Big results that had tongues wagging from Beulah to Ararat and everywhere in between last weekend were the Southern Mallee Giants’ one-point thriller over Minyip-Murtoa and an Ararat victory over Horsham.
While the close contest between the Giants and the Burras was expected, Ararat’s 15-point victory over the Demons took many by surprise.
The result has added an extra shot of flavour to a tantalising encounter between the Rats and Dimboola at Dimboola this Saturday.
Ararat had a humbling start to the season against Stawell and on a season take-two ran into a big, strong Minyip-Murtoa side.
But the Rats showed glimpses of potential against the Burras and took that a step further against the Demons last weekend with Liam Arnott leading the way and Tom Wills kicking three goals.
Brody Griffin continued his solid form and Jake Williamson and Liam Spalding were prominent as Corey Taylor kicked three goals.
The Rats run into an unbeaten Dimboola side that needed to produce a seven-goal third term to shrug off determined neighbour Nhill at Nhill.
Dimboola has plenty of oomph with the influx of recruits topping up home-grown talent, but fans still remain unsure of the Roos’ potential.
Last week it was Tom Cree, three goals, who topped an accolades list ahead of Matthew Rosier and powerful Jayden Lehmann. Jarryd Graham was also good.
There’s an art to playing Dimboola’s bullet-shaped oval, but Ararat is a traditionally strong running side, which might counter the Roos’ advantage.
While the action unfolds at Dimboola, fans will be listening closely for news out of Stawell’s Central Park where Stawell welcomes a Southern Mallee Giants team jubilant after last week’s success.
There was no hiding the delight oozing out of the Beulah rooms after the Giants produced a memorable come-from-behind victory in front of an adoring home crowd.
The win came off the boot of star match-winner Brock Orval who kicked six goals and could have had more. Orval rates as one of the hardest players to beat one-on-one in the competition.
He conspired with an invigorated group of team-mates, with Luke Mahony, Zac Robins, Rupert Sangster and Riley Cook all impressing.
Stawell will go into the game having dominated proceedings against a Warrack Eagles team struggling to find momentum.
Warriors coach Tom Eckel led from the front for the winners, kicking four goals, but also had Cody Driscoll firing in front of the sticks and bagging eight.
George Manton and Paul Summers also impressed as the Warriors kicked seven goals to two in the opening term and pushed on to ultimately win by 100 points.
Stawell will find the Giants a much harder egg to crack, regardless of playing at home.
Warrack Eagles, with Daniel Bell taking the coaching reins from departing Zach Holmes who has shifted with work, will face a rebounding Horsham at Warracknabeal.
The Eagles couldn’t keep up with the Warriors last week, but Jacob Sobey maintained his consistency and Charlie Penny and Phil Huebner attracted votes.
Horsham would have been stung by the Ararat result, although the club would have been happy with Tyler Blake’s good form and impressed by the efforts of Hudson Hair and Brody Pope.
Action will return to Coughlin Park in Horsham with Horsham Saints coming off a bye to meet Nhill.
The Saints, one and one after three rounds, were too good for Horsham under lights last run and will want to resume a build-up in form.
Winless Nhill’s showing against Dimboola last week, with Josh Jarred, Liam Albrecht and Fred Stephan winning best-player honours, more than suggested the Tigers are willing to have a crack.
Minyip-Murtoa will lick a freshly opened wound with a bye.
The entire May 5, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!