Cagey coaches come into play

By Ken Moore
TWO of the most experienced coach
es in the competition, Paul Alger and
Steve Henwood, will slug it out this Sat
urday when Catani suits up against Bun
yip.
The Blues lost a bit of talent and
depth over summer, but with two wins
on the trot it has yet to hinder their spot
on the ladder. After an ordinary start to
the season against Nar Nar Goon, the
Bulldogs struck back with a hard fought
win against Poowong.
Bunyip have a big injury concern
with star recruit Danny Casset doubtful
with a possible broken wrist while tough
defender Marc Jolley appeared to sus
tain a hamstring injury last week and
will likely miss. However, Leigh Car
mody was outstanding in the reserves
last week and should come into the sen
ior line-up.
The Bulldogs upset the Blues when
they exposed them for leg speed in the
corresponding game last season but
home ground advantage, a superior mid
field led by Russell Lehman, Matt Camp
bell and Antonio Benevento and the
presence of forward dynamo Luke
James, should see the Blues maintain
their undefeated record.
Poowong v Garfield
After two successive losses, things
don’t get any easier for the Magpies
when it meets the Stars.
While many teams may be daunted
by a trip to Poowong, Garfield have been
travelling deep into the heart of Gipps
land since 2005 and in the opening
round this season came home success
fully from Nyora – so the extra drive up
the hill shouldn’t be a great deterrent.
Garfield only fell in against Nar Nar
Goon last week but they lost no admir
ers.
After that hard game, the Stars may
be a little jaded which may be one area
where the home side have a slight edge.
Insiders have praised the fresh approach
and enthusiasm of new Poowong coach
Brett Clinnick, however, his charges will
need to play at their optimum to capture
the four points. Expect the Magpies to
be competitive early, but they are unlike
ly to stay the distance.
Nar Nar Goon v Longwarry
The Goon have been solid rather
than spectacular in the opening two
rounds, however, its opponents this
week, the Crows, have been well below
par which all points to a comfortable vic
tory for the home side.
After last week’s shattering loss to
Garfield, coach Clint Williams told his
players in no uncertain manner he want
ed four consistent quarters of football
this week – which spells further trouble
for the visitors. To compound the prob
lems at the Crows, coach Grant McDon
ald, a former Nar Nar Goon junior, who
would dearly want to play this week,
hobbled through last week’s match and
must be doubtful. Short of depth this
season, the Crows can ill- afford his
absence.The Crows are missing key for
ward Luke Serong, who is sidelined with
injury and still three to four weeks away
from a return. On current form, Long
warry will do well to keep the end mar
gin to less than 60 points.
Cora Lynn v Nilma-Darnum
Unfortunately, the Cobras match
against the Bombers doesn’t have the
huge anticipation of their clashes last
season – when the sides were clearly the
best in the competition.
Cora Lynn may well be in the top two
teams in the league again this season,
but the Bombers are nowhere near the
almost invincible unit who won the flag
in 2009.
The Cobras have been super impres
sive in the first two weeks and the dou
ble act of star recruits Beau Runnalls
and Matt Robinson have been in stun
ning form. Rumours abound that anoth
er star recruit, Balraj Singh, a prolific
goalkicker in country Victoria over the
last decade, will be cleared to the
Snakepit this week, which will make
their attack even more potent.
With 16 players missing from their
premiership team of last year, Nilma
Darnum have put in two admirable per
formances but this week a Bomber vic
tory is out of the question.
Buln Buln v Lang Lang
The Lyrebirds played handy first
halves against Warragul Industrials and
Kooweerup – only to fall away badly in
the second half in their opening two
matches.
This week they will need to put it
together for four quarters if they are to
beat the Tigers.
In contrast, Lang Lang has finished
their two games in style. The Tigers can
expect plenty of drive from ruckman
Ben Dwyer, who appears to be one of the
recruits of the season, and he should
give the Tiger smalls an ample supply
again this week.
Key forward Kurt Batt is almost cer
tain to be picked up by Buln Buln’s star
Doveton recruit Ricky Hayes in what
should be an absorbing duel. New Lyre
bird coach Daniel Charles missed last
week with a foot injury but should
return. With a number of newcomers,
Buln Buln haven’t quite settled and fit
ness appears to be an issue, so until the
Lyrebirds can demonstrate they can
play out an entire match, it’s hard not to
pick the visitors.
Neerim Neerim South v
Ellinbank
Two expected improvers, the Cats
and the Bankers, meet at Neerim.
The Cats will be seething after their
fadeout against Lang Lang and Ellinbank
will be out to earn some respect after a
10-goal loss to Catani in round one was
followed by a 22-goal flogging by the
Cobras.
It appears the Bankers put the cue in
the rack after half time last week and
coach Ross Glover will not tolerate
another lacklustre effort. Heads could
roll at the selection table this week,
because the Banker reserves managed
to topple the Cobras twos last week.
On current form, it is impossible to
make a case for Ellinbank. The Cats
have a big concern with 2009 league
best and fairest Chris Urie, who was
restricted last week with a groin injury
and may be doubtful. Neerim is not over
talented but is as honest as the day is
long and should win with a bit in
reserve.
Nyora v Warragul Industrials
The Saints had a super tough open
ing round home ground clash against
Garfield and they play their second
home ground match this Saturday. It will
also be a big test, when they meet anoth
er premiership favourite, the Dusties.
This game should be a humdinger!
The Industrials had the bye last week
and on the form displayed against Buln
Buln, an 81 point victory, it seems they
are every bit as good as last season.
Nyora’s best football is likely to be a
few weeks away and the Dusties should
prove too strong.

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