Border Mail Round 3 – Preview – 2019
MATT McDonald says Howlong’s superior depth this season could be the catalyst for a return to finals action.
The Spiders have missed finals for the past two seasons.
The signings of Josh Senior and Alex Popko in February was the bonus.
McDonald said the Spiders’ boasted a much stronger list this season.
“The biggest thing that we could identify pre-season was our depth was lacking,” McDonald said.
“Unfortunately we copped a few injuries and soon found out that we didn’t bat as deep as a lot of the other sides.
“This might seem strange but I think the quality of your 15th to 20th player is nearly more important than that of your top five players.
“You are only as strong as your weakest link.
“Getting Popko and Senior late was a huge bonus because they give us that bit more flexibility.”
And while the Spiders were able to land some quality recruits, their most significant has largely slipped under the radar.
While technically not a recruit, the return of McDonald this season cannot be underestimated.
McDonald virtually missed last season after injuring his knee in the opening rounds.
Arguably, the Spiders will boast the best midfield in the competition with Azzi medalist’s Peter Hancock, Steve Jolliffe, McDonald, Josh Garland, Brad Fyffe and Jimmy Scannell all rotating.
The super-fit McDonald said a 12-month stint on the sidelines had only fuelled his hunger for success.
“Looking back, I think my injury could prove a blessing is disguise,” he said.
“Having a year off just makes you a bit more hungry I suppose and appreciate footy more as well.
“It was hard watching and frustrating not being able to be out there helping.
“The body is feeling as good now as it ever has.
“I think as you get older and wiser you learn what’s best for your body training wise.
“I have been doing a lot of boxing and there is only so much running you can do as you get older.”
Howlong have enjoyed a promising start to the season with victories over Rand-Walbundrie-Walla and CDHBU.
The Spiders can take a giant stride over the next month to gaining a finals berth.
They have winnable matches against Lockhart, Billabong Crows, Murray Magpies and Jindera.
FORMER Lockhart co-coach Jordan Harrington will play for the Demons against Howlong at Lockhart on Saturday.
His plans for the rest of the season remain unclear.
Harrington’s return will set up a cracking midfield battle with Jesse Margosis, James Creasy, Harrington and ruckman Neil Irwin set to take on Steve Jolliffe, Ben Baker, Matt McDonald and Peter Hancock.
Culcairn will look to continue its recent dominance over Henty when they clash at Henty.
The Lions scored surprise nine and 15-point victories when the teams met last season.
Brock-Burrum will look to rectify last round’s goalkicking woes when they meet Holbrook at Burrumbuttock.
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla play CDHBU, Osborne should defeat Jindera and Billabong Crows will be too strong for Murray Magpies.
Saturday, April 27
Lockhart v Howlong
Osborne v Jindera
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla v CDHBU
Billabong Crows v Murray Magpies
(The Border Mail)
(Former Brock-Burrum coach)
(Holbrook life member)
Henty full-forward Damian Cupido played his second match of the season for Moyhu over Easter.
With the Swampies having the bye, Cupido accepted an invitation to play for the Ovens and King league club against Greta.
He kicked five goals, but Moyhu went down by 29 points.
Cupido booted eight against Bonnie Doon earlier in the season.
It’s easy to see why Culcairn forward Mosese Baleidrokadroka is such a popular figure with the Lions’ faithful.
Baleidrokadroka was injured in the opening minutes of their clash with Brock-Burrum last round.
Trailing at the main break, he reappeared after half-time and was the spark the Lions needed with his pressure acts instrumental in the home side’s victory.
Henty stalwart Bob Kilo has passed away.
The popular Swampie was a life member and premiership captain-coach, playing a massive 357 matches for the club.
Only Bob’s son, Matt, Graham Scholz, Kerry Boyle, Brian Klemke and David Weston have reached the 300-game milestone at Henty.
Bob’s funeral will be held at 10.30am at Henty’s Lutheran Church on Monday.