Round 1 – 2019 – Preview
BILLABONG Crows have landed a huge coup on the eve of the season by signing Yarrawonga running machine Bronson Schofield.
Schofield has been cleared by the Ovens and Murray club and will line-up against CDHBU in Saturday’s opening round at Coreen.
“It’s bloody fantastic,” Crows’ president Kevin Martin said.
“He’s a mate of Tommy Dowling here and we’ve been working on him for a while.
“He’s had a couple of practice runs with us and been out to Deni and had a run.
“He will be right to go on Saturday.”
Schofield, who was one of the quickest players in the Ovens and Murray, kicked eight goals in 19 matches for Yarrawonga last season.
He also played his 100th senior game last year.
Schofield’s departure will hit Yarrawonga hard considering it has lost Lachie Howe, Brad O’Connor and Jordan Daniel and promoted several youngsters.
Billabong Crows coach Al Austin has given the Crows a chance of playing in their first finals series after keeping last year’s list together and adding Jayke Nicholson, Nathan Cook, Jack Connell, Jeremy Bourchier and John Simpson.
“We’ve recruited a few over the off-season,” Martin said.
“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t improve a bit this year.”
Billabong Crows finished 10th last year with four wins and are one of several pushing for a spot in the top six.
Meanwhile, Culcairn has added strength to its big-man department by picking up Nick Finlayson.
CULCAIRN defender Jesse Sutherland likes to have a good time over the off-season.
Always has, always will.
But Sutherland also prides himself on playing good football and the thought of struggling for fitness in the early rounds of another season got the better of him.
Sutherland soon set himself the daunting challenge of competing in his first marathon with the 29-year-old targeting last weekend’s Murray Marathon in Albury.
“I’ve had pretty shocking history with pre-seasons over the years so it was two-fold,” Sutherland said.
“Firstly I didn’t want to turn into a slug and secondly it would keep me in good nick for round one.
“I wanted to get the monkey off my back.
“Normally I’m still blowing a gale until round six or seven of the season and I thought this would be a good way to keep on top of that.”
Sutherland admitted Josh Hillary had a slightly bewildered look on his face when he first broached the subject of running a marathon.
The fact the 42.2-kilometre race was only a week before Saturday’s season opener against Osborne complicated matters.
“I’ve been at Culcairn since ‘Bocky’ (Adam Eady) was coaching and my history off the track is horrendous,” he said.
“I get on it, carry on, put the weight on and enjoy Christmas a bit too much.
“I just said to Josh that it was a perfect opportunity for me to prove myself that I can stay true to myself and focus on footy.
“He was great, he was all for it.”
Sutherland finished the race in 3 hours, 22 minutes and admits seeing some of his Culcairn teammates cheering him on near the finish line was a huge boost.
He has dropped from 89kg to 77kg in the past 12 months.
Sutherland is far from finished with running with the Lion entering the Great Ocean Road Ultra Marathon during the inter-league weekend in May.
He has also put his training blog – Marathon-Me – on facebook.
“I was a bit ginger on Monday but went for a run on Tuesday,” he said.
“When everyone is blowing on Saturday hopefully I’m feeling alright.
“I’m still under 30 so I want to do well why I have the mechanics.”
Originally from Walla, Sutherland moved to the Northern Territory through employment with the army before returning to the Border and aligning himself with Culcairn.
He played in division one NT side Banks Bulldogs’ flag in 2015.
Sutherland’s focus has quickly turned to lining up for Culcairn against Osborne at Osborne on Saturday.
“He’s an 11 out of 10,” Hillary said.
“He’s got right into his running because he wanted to get the best out of himself and you’ve got to admire that.”
HOWLONG has appointed one of its youngest captains with 21-year-old Blake Williams to lead the Spiders this season.
“He’s Howlong born and bred, loves the club and doesn’t put a foot wrong around the place,” coach Beau Packer said. “We think he’s a pretty good choice.”
The clash shapes as a battle of the midfields with Steve Jolliffe, McDonald and Josh Garland set to take on Justin Gordon, Chris Duck and Ryan Lavery.
HUME LEAGUE DRAW
Holbrook v Henty
Lockhart v Murray Magpies
Osborne v Culcairn
RWW v Howlong
(The Border Mail)
(Former Brock-Burrum coach)
(Holbrook life member)
Promising Howlong youngster Charlie Hamilton will miss a large chunk of the season after breaking his wrist.
Williams trained with the Murray Bushrangers last year and will be an important part of coach Beau Packer’s plans when he returns.
Darren Bush (knee) will also miss.
READY TO ROLL
It’s been a while since Brock-Burrum pair Luke Schilg and Josh McCudden have been up and running this early in a season.
The pair haven’t missed a beat at pre-season training and look strong chances of lining up against Jindera in a replay of last year’s grand final on Saturday.
It’s a sure sign the Saints are as hungry as ever.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL
All-round Holbrook sportsman Will Heriot will head overseas in coming weeks.
While he’s likely to find himself a cricket club after big seasons with Lavington and Holbrook in recent years, a Holbrook source confirmed the London Hawks had also expressed interest in securing a run-with player.
CRAYS SNAPPED UP
THE Murray Crays have kicked their first major goal of the season.
The veterans donate to a charity each year and this season had 100 calendars printed with $1000 in proceeds going to the Black Dog Institute.
Club stalwart Danny ‘Ditch’ Steele believes he contributed greatly to the cause by appearing in the centrefold.