Young guns to watch

Skipper Brent Hughes shone for a rampaging Nar Nar Goon at Spencer Street on Saturday. 183169 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBE

By Russell Bennett



The young stars rising through the ranks of the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition have made local fans stand up and take real notice.

On the weekend, while Tom Fitzpatrick was booting his six majors for Garfield against reigning premier Inverloch Kongwak, fellow teenager Chase Blackwood was booting seven for the Cobras against the Magpies in Dalyston.

While Cora Lynn is a side rebuilding on the run – with a particularly young average age – it’s also particularly well placed for yet another finals campaign – an achievement that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Predictably, the Magpies were absolutely no match for the Cobras on Saturday – losing by a whopping 160 points and conceding 47 scoring shots in the process, 26.21 (177) to 2.5 (17).

Promisingly for David Main’s Cora Lynn side, Blackwood (seven goals), Travis Woodfield (five), and Ryan Spierings (three) combined for 15 of their majors on Saturday and all three are notable inclusions to the group that lost to Kooweerup and Bunyip earlier in their campaign. The silky-skilled Jai Rout also added four majors of his own for an outfit that booted 14 unanswered goals in the first half.

Meanwhile, in Bunyip, Will Papley – the younger brother of Sydney Swans star and former Bunyip premiership player Tom – made his senior debut in another side firmly on the rebuild.

Once again, predictably, the Yips were no match for Phillip Island, which continues to loom as a genuine premiership threat this season.

Beau Vernon’s side blew Bunyip out of the water early on Saturday and maintained the rage to claim a thumping 18.19 (127) to 5.6 (36) victory.

Jack Taylor and Brendan Kimber continued their strong form with 10 goals between them.

At the showgrounds in Korumburra, the Giants were no match for the Demons – who’re still searching to field their best possible side in the weeks leading up to finals.

Still with a few missing from the group, Koowee stormed to a 76-point win – 16.13 (109) to 5.3 (33) – with versatile running machine Matt De Bruin particularly prominent.

The Demons led by just four goals at half-time, but put the foot down over the final two quarters. The competition’s runaway leading goal-kicker Jason Wells backed up his nine-goal haul in Round 13 with another six on the weekend.

In the remaining game of the round, Nar Nar Goon celebrated its annual sponsors and life members day with a crushing victory over Kilcunda Bass – 23.16 (154) to 4.5 (29).

Tom Dovaston, Troy McDermott and Matt Stevens booted five goals apiece in a dominant display up forward, while skipper Brent Hughes was a real standout.