Game of forwards

May 18, 2017

Stanhope's Jack Exell will be looking to exert his attacking dominance on Violet Town on Saturday.

Stanhope Recreation Reserve could see an avalanche of goals on Saturday as two of Kyabram District Football League’s most dangerous forwards go head-to-head, if the weather allows it.

Stanhope’s Jack Exell (27 goals) and Violet Town’s Rob Staff (19) have dominated in attack for their respective Lions outfits so far this season and will look to take charge of this important round six fixture, even if the heavens open up as predicted.

The two targets worked exceptionally well together for the competition’s interleague side against Golden Rivers Football League last week, combining for nine majors, but will face off at opposite ends of the ground on Saturday.

In the six weeks since losing to Nagambie on April 8, Stanhope has only played two matches, but a training camp in its round-four bye should mean the Lions remain fit and firing.

For Violet Town, a victory against Stanhope would cap an outstanding start to the year that would include wins over the top three teams from last season.

‘‘Obviously coming into the season we didn’t expect it, it’s been a pleasant surprise and we’re really happy with where we’re at,’’ coach Sean Horsburgh said.

‘‘Stanhope are a pretty handy side though and we haven’t won there for a few years so we’re looking forward to the test.’’

Aside from Staff, Ash Hobbs (14 goals) is also firing up forward, providing the Towners with plenty of avenues to goal.

‘‘There have been games where Staff hasn’t kicked any goals and there have been games where Hobbs hasn’t,’’ Horsburgh said.

‘‘Multiple scoring opportunities makes us a bit more unpredictable and a much more versatile side.’’

And while Exell will surely draw the Towners’ focus, Horsburgh was more worried about keeping the ball away from the young star.

‘‘I got a look at him on Saturday and he’s a pretty handy talent,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll try to nullify him but if we can win it in the middle in the first place and keep it away from him, that would be even better.’’

Girgarre v Rushworth

Girgarre finds itself perched inside the top six on the Kyabram District Football League ladder after two consecutive easy victories against Longwood and Undera.

The Kangaroos’ coach Shannon Tucker has taken full advantage too, having booted 10 goals in the past two matches, and will hope his charges can utilise the momentum gained from those victories to take down second-placed Rushworth.

The Tigers have also rarely been tested this season, but with their last match on April 29 could take time to find their groove once again this weekend.

Rob Osborne finds himself sitting on 44 goals in just four matches and will be aiming to add significantly to that tally at Girgarre Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

Lancaster v Undera

Lancaster must attempt to boost its percentage by a significant margin when it hosts Undera on Saturday.

The Wombats are seventh on the ladder, but with the top sides enjoying regular massive wins it will be crucial in the run to finals to make the most of opportunities to boost their standing.

Nick Bertoli’s men did just that in their last match, defeating Longwood by 131 points.

Sam Spedding slotted five majors in that rout and will try to do the same against Undera.

Meanwhile, the Lions have stalled dramatically after a promising start to the season and have lost their past two matches by a combined total of 280 points.

Danni Heazlewood has provided a shining light with 25 goals, but it will be a tough ask for his side to take the points here.

Murchison-Toolamba v Longwood

Murchison-Toolamba and Longwood face off in the headline match of the KDFL’s annual ‘Say No To Violence’ round.

Former St Kilda and Brisbane Bears player Gilbert McAdam will read the player address prior to the match, in a display of the league’s commitment to reducing violence in the community.

The Grasshoppers enter the match having not played a game since late April, following a scheduled match against Ardmona and then the interleague bye.

But a game against the Redlegs could provide Murchison-Toolamba with its first win of the season as the young side looks to get reward for its development.

Longwood is just as eager to gain four points, entering the match as underdog in what should be a low-scoring tussle.

Avenel v Tally

Avenel’s horror run to start the season could extend to a fifth straight loss on Saturday when it faces the strength of Tallygaroopna. The Swans are yet to put a four-quarter performance together after losing last year’s grand final and will need to improve significantly if they are to knock off the Redlegs.

Tallygaroopna has been crippled by injury in recent weeks, with up to six players from its best side missing or hurt in its loss to Nagambie in round five, but coach Chris Earles is hopeful a few will pass fitness tests tonight.

Swans Michael Morgan, Kasey Duncan and Chris Burton will try try to take their scintillating interleague form into Saturday’s match, while Tallygaroopna’s Tyson Sidebottom will walk tall after having the honour of captaining the victorious squad against the Golden Rivers Football League.

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