Big games loom

A rampant North Gambier is determined to make a statement and take the fight to South Gambier in the big match of the eighth Western Border football round.

The previous clash was a classic where the Tigers led for the majority of the game, only to allow the Demons to dash home.

Since then the yellow and black have established themselves as clearly the third best team and are flying with three wins on the bounce with big names such as Justin McConnell, Brett Shepherdson and Jake Schutz in fine form.

“Our boys are up and about and ready to play against one of the best,” North Gambier coach Ben Hardy said.

“Playing South is a tough task, but Millicent showed they can be beaten, so we will try to open a few holes we think they have.

“It will be a cracking game.”

One of the holes the Tigers may look to exploit is the Demons’ starts after they took a quarter to warm up before dominating against East.

Despite Brodie Foster and Jake Tentye being the latest on the injury list, South showed it has the ability to cover any losses with young gun Nelson Forbes kicking four on debut and coach Brayden Kain hinted his team could be strengthened weekend.

“With everyone really contributing, there will be some selection headaches because we might see Josh Woodall, Brett O’Neill, Mason Hein, Scott Enderl and Jack Casey put their hands up to work their way back into the team,” he said.

“North pushed us all the way on Anzac Day and have good momentum, so it will be a good challenge, but we will feel like our best footy is yet to come.”

West Gambier v Millicent

West Gambier is yet to win at home in the 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League and it must pull off something special to break the hoodoo this weekend.

Ladder leader Millicent is heading to Malseed Park with an even stronger squad than the one which disposed of South and Casterton.

The Saints will be boosted by the return of Hamish Nitschke, who is desperate for some game time after a long 12 months since a knee reconstruction, while some young guns could also be coming down from Glenelg.

The Roos will have their work cut out trying to contain a Millicent team, which recorded 38 scoring shots on a windy round 3 contest at McLaughlin Park.

Tom Nieuwerkerk has not stopped putting his head down in recent weeks and his teammates will try to slow down Millicent captain Jacob Carger, while Finn Grimes and Daron McElroy should have a good battle in the ruck.

Casterton Sandford v East Gambier

It may only be fifth and sixth on the ladder facing off, but this is a must-win game for both teams at Island Park.

Casterton Sandford has the bragging rights after accuracy proved the difference in round 3, but it has not won since and a first victory in a month could bring it back into the top four.

Despite the drought, the Cats have their tails up after coming four points short of a shock upset over Millicent where veterans Dylan Ayton and Diarmid Cleary gave it their all.

East Gambier also needs a win having one recorded the solitary success against West.

The Bulldogs are a game behind the pack at the bottom of the ladder and have shown flashes of brilliance without stringing a full four-quarter performance together which has proven their downfall.

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