North Gambier v Millicent
The 2022 Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League season is flying by and the halfway mark has already been crossed which means teams will be striving for success ahead of the June long weekend bye.
The closest and biggest game on the cards will take place at Vansittart Park where North Gambier hosts Millicent.
The Tigers have threatened to overcome one of the top two teams this year, but have fallen just short.
The latest near miss occurred at Blue Lake Sports Park last week where wet weather and a resurgent South outfit stole it late in the day.
After winning the early battle for possession, North would be disappointed to let it slip with a goalless second half.
With gritty characters like Nick McInerney and Jake Schutz in top form, the Tigers are a team that does not stop fighting and their next opponent has plenty of recent experience in that area.
The Saints have emerged victorious from a couple of low-scoring scraps against desperate teams and will be ready for another battle.
Conditions and a contested style of football forced Millicent to dig deep and edge out West Gambier and Casterton Sandford.
Amid the tense finales, the experienced heads of Jacob Carger and Dylan Bromley remained cool under pressure to get their team over the line, while the back six has also been working overtime and has developed a reputation conceding the least number of points.
With North desperate to land a big scalp before the break, the Saints may need to find more resolve to secure a fighting win.
South Gambier v Casterton Sandford
Casterton Sandford believes it can achieve anything – including beating South Gambier – after its miracle on grass last Saturday.
Despite getting smashed in the clearances, the Cats turned it around from nowhere which sent a warning to the competition they can achieve anything.
New recruit Alastair McCrae stunned with six goals, while the likes of Jack Thompson and Cody Ireland still on the sidelines, Casterton Sandford can still improve, but a big test awaits.
The Demons are in a strong spot and the returns of Brett O’Neil and Mason Hein were big boosts behind the comeback over North.
South has bounced back well from the setback against Millicent to return to the top of the ladder and another win over the Cats will keep the ship sailing smoothly ahead of the bye.
East Gambier v West Gambier
With both sides on near identical percentages and drifting away from the top four, East and West need to enter the mid-year bye on a high.
The Bulldogs will still be wondering how they let last week’s Casterton Sandford game slip after enjoying a 46-point lead mid-way through the third term.
After dominating the clearances and Mark Rumbelow smoking set shots, East appeared unstoppable, but suddenly ran out of juice.
The loss heightens the importance of the home game, but at least the Bulldogs can turn to their previous Roos clash as inspiration.
West has shown it can challenge the best in the WBFL, but this needs to start being reflected on the ladder and a third straight defeat would mean the team is starting to lose touch with the top four.
But through a surge led by Lawry Bradley-Brown and Michael Minuzzo almost toppled the Saints and if the Roos want to challenge these teams at the pointy end, they need to capitalise on these fixtures.