Border Mail – Round 8 – Preview

DON’T bother ringing the Sandral household at Oaklands on a Saturday morning.

“It’s pretty hectic,” George, 17, said.

“Everyone is running around eating breakfast or doing something like that.

“We have an eight-seater Kia Carnival but that’s not big enough with Mum and Dad to get to the games so sometimes we have to take two vehicles.”

Mary, 19, George, 17, Aaron, 15, Charlie, 14, Jennifer, 13, Nicholas, 11, Matthew, 7, and Annabelle, 5, are regulars at Billabong Crows matches in the Hume league.

Although former A-grade netballer Mary is now playing football with Victoria University in Melbourne, the siblings are never far away from the football ground and netball courts on game day.

George wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s good,” he said.

“As I get older I like it even more as I guess I appreciate it that not everyone has little brothers and sisters.

“Charlie isn’t playing at the moment because of operations on his hips, but the rest of us are playing football or netball.

“Annabelle and Matthew like their NetSetGo and Auskick.”

Sport has always been big in the family under the guidance of parents Anthony and Leanne.

Anthony is a former Oaklands coach who also spent time with Corowa-Rutherglen in the Ovens and Murray and Berrigan in the Murray league.

His ability has clearly been passed on to George who is one of the Hume league’s most exciting prospects.

George made his senior debut in 2016 as a 15-year-old and, after overcoming ankle issues last season, is now a big part of coach Al Austin’s line-up.

“I had a good pre-season which has helped after I only played seven or eight games last year,” he said.

“We have improved a fair bit with more self-belief.

“Last year we were in a lot of games but I think a lot of it just comes down to maturing.

“Hopefully we can keep improving and win more games.”

George goes to school at St Francis De Sales Regional College in Leeton and returns to Oaklands to play football at weekends.

The former NSW under-15 representative is presently running second to classy Henty centreman Daniel Cox in the annual WAW-The Border Mail Footballer of the Year award.

The Crows have won two of their opening seven matches and take on reigning premier Osborne at Urana on Saturday.

An improving CDHBU will be out to emulate last season’s upset win over Jindera when they clash at Coreen on Saturday.

The Power scored a surprise 13-point victory at the ground in round 15 last year and have the form to go close again.

Mick Collins and Jeremy Stevenson’s line-up were in the contest for virtually the entire game against Osborne last weekend with inaccurate goalkicking hurting them late.

Shannon Broadbent, Kade Rowe and Kane Mills will be vital matching up against Bulldog trio Ryan Speed, Sam Myors and Danny Middleton.

Speed has been dominating on a wing in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the league has announced six Rising Star nominations.

Coby Ross (Holbrook), George Sandral (Billabong Crows), Ben Baker (Howlong), Declan Galvin (Osborne), Dylan Pettingill (Jindera) and Dale Cox (Henty) were rewarded for strong early form.