Eagles face tough test at Bay

Hatherleigh will find that any Port MacDonnell premiership hangover has dissipated when it makes its annual trip to the Bay on Saturday.

As it is third hosting second, the contest is unarguably the match-of-the-day in round seven of the Mid South East Football League.

It was not that long ago the Demons were being quoted of being at long odds of making a successful and first-ever premiership defence.

The bookies reckoned the Bay Boys would not be able to cover injuries to Ned Wilke and Zac Williams and the loss of Dylan Bromley, Daron McElroy and Hamish Stevens to other clubs.

Those long premiership odds have had to have been re-drawn given the stirring performances of the past month.

Senior players like Will Macdonald, Tim Sullivan, Kev Thomson and Mark Smith have stepped up a gear to dismiss the persistent talk the 2022 MSEFL grand final is a certainty to be contested by Hatherleigh and Kalangadoo.

If the undefeated Eagles can return from the Bay with the premiership points and a winning margin greater than 30 points, perhaps that persistent talk might well be correct.

Mount Burr v Robe

Robe certainly lived up to their proud Rooster nickname in round six with a gritty win at the Bay but then reverted to a “feather duster” in a massive 140-point loss at home to undefeated ladder leader Kalangadoo in round seven.

How did things go so wrong for the red-and-whites in that game while everything went so right for the black-and-whites?

The problem for the seasiders is that defeats of that dimension and especially at home have the potential to de-rail the season.

There are still five more weeks until the curtain is drawn on clearances for the 2022 season and Robe has the happy knack of regularly securing quality recruits from the capital city.

The best way for Robe to get out of the doldrums is to win well at Mount Burr, which is boosted by the return of the multi-talented Dylan Ridley from serious injury.

Kongorong v Glencoe

Kongorong’s hosting of Glencoe will be the last time the home ground of the Hawks gets to stage a home-and-away contest for over a month.

After Saturday, the Kongorong Oval will not be used again for regular matches until the round 12 fixture on July 2 when Mount Burr makes its annual visit.

Speaking of spells, the Hawks have the happy prospect of a three-week mid-year break given the SE Zone Carnival and the timing of their scheduled bye in round nine.

They can apply maximum physical and legal pressure to Glencoe in the knowledge they have 21 glorious days to recover.

The Murphies have had their ups and downs in 2022 and hard to predict.

Kalangadoo v Tantanoola

The sixth annual Tim Brennan Indigenous Round award for best and fairest player on the day will be handed out at the conclusion of Kalangadoo’s hosting of Tantanoola.

The Kalangadoo community has fully embraced the Indigenous round concept in recent years and it has come at the instigation of Brennan and other members of his family.

The Magpies also get to wear a jumper with a distinctive Indigenous design on this one round of each season.

If past practice is followed, Brennan will deliver a heartfelt welcome to country on behalf of the local Indigenous community ahead of the opening bounce.

These formalities will not detract from the undefeated home side seeking the premiership points and a percentage boost at the expense of Tantanoola.

Kalangadoo’s record-breaking performance at Robe in round seven would have been welcomed by the visitors given some off-field controversial moments when the teams met at Guichen Bay in 2021.

The Tigers are coming off a disappointing home ground loss to Port MacDonnell when their lack of height and experience were fully exploited.

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