West Gambier v North Gambier
The Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League is rapidly approaching the halfway stage and many intriguing storylines are emerging.
One of the best this weekend will unfold at Malseed Park where North and West Gambier will meet for the first time since their classic encounter at Vansittart Park.
In that round 2 battle the Roos sprung a surprise with a miraculous comeback led by the feats of coach Daron McElroy.
Not only did McElroy turn the game with some big goals, many of his teammates also placed immense tackling pressure on the Tigers to prevail by two points.
Since then, the rivals have endured up and down journeys, but currently sit third and fourth on the ladder.
West might have to turn to someone else other than McElroy for inspiration after the coach missed last weekend’s win over Casterton Sandford, but the likes of Lawry Bradley-Brown and Jordan Williams proved there is little cause for concern.
The Tigers have identified their inability to play out a full four-quarter effort as one of the factors behind the Roos’ defeat and have been looking for improvement ever since.
North has got closer to its best in recent weeks with some massive bursts overwhelming Casterton Sandford and East Gambier.
From the backline to the forward line the Tigers have been closing in on a successful formula under Ben Hardy and they will be hungry to settle the score from earlier in the year.
Expect Nick McInerney, Sam Stafford and Jordan Hollitt to continue their form, while Toby de Wit, Toby McAllister and Brett Shepherdson could all make welcome returns.
Millicent v Casterton Sandford
Millicent is the new face everyone is looking up to at the top of the Western Border ladder and it eyes an opportunity to consolidate that position with a percentage boosting win over Casterton Sandford at home.
The Saints may not be at full fitness with some of the biggest names in the game Clint Gallio and Tom Hutchesson expected to be on the sidelines for multiple weeks, but they keep playing better football.
Not only has Millicent conquered all across the last five weeks, but it has done so with an increasingly young team that has the ability to take the fight to more experienced and bigger bodies and come out on top.
With Kade Varcoe, Frazer Bradley, Kalan Shanks and Josh Werchon spreading their wings further each week, the Cats have a big test on their hands.
Casterton Sandford is in the middle of a rut of form having lost its last three games and will meet the team which delivered its heaviest defeat.
The engine room of Ed Pritchard, Hamish McCrae, Dylan Ayton and Diarmid Cleary will be needed to do something special.
The Saints smashed the Cats by 125 points in their last battle at McLaughlin Park and hopefully a closer contest will take place.
East Gambier v South Gambier
Hurting from just the club’s second loss across all grades in 2022 and the A Grade’s first, South Gambier will come out swinging at the “Kennel” this Saturday.
The Demons may not have had the ultimate success last weekend, but they some fond recent memories of McDonald Park.
Following the disappointing loss to Millicent, a selection of South players travelled down the Jubilee Highway to the “Kennel” and took home the 2022 Mouse Cup.
The lucky Demons soaked up the success that night and will be hoping to enjoy a similar feeling when serious business resumes on the field at the same venue.
South should get the job done having controlled the previous battle, but the Saints have laid the blueprint and the Bulldogs will look to hit the injury impacted Demons hard.