Bears are on a mission

May 18, 2017

Chase Strawhorn will be one Grasshopper the Bears will need to keep a lid on during this weekend's game.

Rennie is looking to return to its halcyon days with the introduction of 20 new players in the off-season, but the Grasshoppers will face their biggest test this weekend at Tungamah.

For the Bears, 2017 has brought plenty of new and returning faces — but after five rounds co-coach Jeremy O’Brien believes a win against the Grasshoppers will be necessary if the Bears are to remain hot on the heels of league leader Shepparton East.

‘‘It is a massive game, they are going pretty well and we are both around the same mark at the moment,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘We need to win to stay around the top so we will go out and play our game in hope of getting a result.’’

After a third of the season the hosts currently sit in second on the Picola District Football League north-west table and one spot ahead of Saturday’s rival.

Rennie is led by former Richmond footballer Craig Ednie and O’Brien knows his side needs to be on its game if it is to be victorious.

‘‘They are a good side, they are going exceptionally well and are coached by a great coach,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘Craig comes from a decorated background so I can only imagine he has got his side well drilled and ready to go.’’

Grasshoppers forward Chase Strawhorn, who has kicked 29 goals this season, sits eight clear on top of the goalkicking tally, averaging almost six goals a game, and O’Brien knows his side will have its work cut out trying to stop the all-action forward.

‘‘Either Leigh Howroyd or Glenn Dominick will play on Chase, so they will be in for a battle,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘He is a good player and seems to be kicking a lot of goals, but in saying that if we defend as a team we should be able to stop him.’’

The team aspect is something O’Brien has continued to mention throughout the week; he believes that his side has no real standouts, but is just a really good team across the board.

‘‘We do not have any superstars, rather we are a good team and on a weekly basis we just look for consistent output from everyone,’’ O’Brien said.

In saying that, midfielder Bodhi Butts, who joined the Bears from Yarrawonga, has had a stellar start to the season and O’Brien hopes that he can continue his recent run of form on the weekend.

‘‘He has been really good for us,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘He is a really consistent player and is one of those footballers that you know what you are going to get from week in week out.’’

The Bears have currently won three games on the trot, while Rennie has gone one better and has not lost since its 58-point defeat to Shepparton East in round one.

Shepparton East v Dookie

The Dwain Vidler juggernaut continues at Central Park this weekend as reigning premier Shepparton East looks to make it 26 straight wins in Picola District Football League.

East has gone undefeated since the beginning of last season, but still has a while to go until it can match Tungamah’s two-year streak.

Vidler will be without star forward Cobey Aynsley — who kicked 106 goals last season — due to suspension, but other than that the hosts head into Saturday’s clash at full strength.

With a general bye last week, East’s engine room will be looking to fire again with Matt Rendina, Ricky Frappel and Joey Perkovic causing plenty of headaches for opposition coaches.

Meanwhile Dookie has found a little form of late, winning two games on the bounce to kick-start its season. Patrick McMullan’s men currently sit fifth on the ladder with eight points following their recent victories over Katamatite and Waaia.

Sam Bowmaker booted four majors in his last outing for United, while Luke Harmer was best on ground.

If the result is to go Dookie’s way this weekend, this duo must back up from its performance against Waaia.

Katamatite v Katunga

Katamatite co-coaches Matt Dwyer and Tyler Sprunt will be hoping their side can bounce back this weekend against Katunga after three consecutive losses.

The Tigers gathered their first win of the season against Katandra in round two and have since suffered an average losing margin of 92 points, with their biggest loss being a 140-point margin to reigning premier Shepparton East.

Sporting talent Jedd Wright is the Tigers’ most prominent in front of goals, kicking eight so far this year, while Tyson Saunders and Mark Mills follow on seven and six respectively.

The hosts have struggled for scoring power this season and sit second-last after averaging just 59 points a game.

Meanwhile the Swans are up and about despite losing two straight games to the heavily fancied Tungamah and Shepparton East.

Co-coach Daniel Burness believes his side was better off for the experience and he now knows where it sits in the grand scheme of things.

Unlike their opponents, the Swans have scored quite heavily this season with Callum Wilson and Dylan Sidebottom leading the way with 21 and 14 goals between them.

Waaia v Katandra

What is happening at Waaia? After winning its first two games of the season the Bombers have now lost three on the trot, but star forward Greg Meyland could return this weekend.

Meyland has only played two games this season after injuring his knee in round one, but the Bombers’ spearhead is set to return against Katandra.

Meyland’s return will be a massive boost for the fancied Bombers, but the whole team will need to lift after last weekend’s disappointing result according to president Richard Trimby.

After five rounds Waaia currently sits fifth on the table and will look to inflict further damage on Katandra.

The Kats meanwhile are still winless to start the season but it is not all doom and gloom.

Co-coach Ramadan Yze is adamant his side is on the right path and a win is just around the corner, with the likes of Fraser Opie, Corey Hickford, Nathan Bovalino and Russell Eden all performing relatively well.

Despite Yze’s optimism, his Kats have struggled to contain their opponents, with the closest losing margin being 14 points to Katamatite; but other than that, the visitors have struggled to get within 68 points of their rivals.

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