Border Mail Round 9 – Preview
BRETT Argus says the scoreboard isn’t a true reflection of the Murray Magpies season.
While the Magpies have been beaten by more than 100 points in seven of their eight matches, the former North Albury premiership player believes serious inroads have been made.
“There has been heaps of improvement,” Argus said.
“We are probably eight or nine shy of our best side at the moment but we are still holding similar scores to the start of the season.
“You could expect a real drop off.
“What I thought would take a year or more has already been done.
“It’s a place where people want to be.
“They are hanging around after training for 10 or 15 minutes having a chat and doing extra.”
Argus said the emergence of youngsters like Sam King, Corey Brook, Kalani Scott, Jack Fitzpatrick and Josh and Logan Martin had been the season highlight.
Hayden Edwards has been outstanding while Daniel Maher was thriving before injuring his hamstring in Saturday’s loss to Holbrook.
Argus, who signed a three-year deal at Murray Magpies, said he would look to bring in some experience next season.
“We will look to recruit half a dozen players who are all good blokes,” he said.
“I think that would help us build on what we have in place.
“The signs are looking promising.”
While the Murray Magpies will start underdogs against Henty at Urana Road Oval on Saturday, the Swampies will again be missing key personnel.
Former AFL star Jared Brennan is playing a one-off match in Queensland this weekend and will return to the line-up with Daniel and Dale Cox against Rand-Walbundrie-Walla the following weekend.
Kim Kantilla, James Ellis and Will Farrer are set to play against the Magpies.
“We should get three back on Saturday and then another three back the following weekend,” coach Joel Price said.
“A few of the boys went home for a funeral and we just happened to pick up some injuries at the same time.
“Jared is helping out a mate with some fundraising for a family by playing a match in Queensland this weekend.
“Hopefully things will start to settle down again after Saturday.”
The biggest worry for the Murray Magpies is stopping in-form spearhead Damian Cupido.
After a slow start to the season, Cupido has kicked 27 goals in the past three weeks despite his side losing two of those matches by 54 and 33 points respectively.
HOWLONG is set to be buoyed by the return of Steve Jolliffe against Osborne on Saturday.
The reigning Azzi medallist has missed the past fortnight after getting his finger caught in a log-splitter.
It is a timely return with the Spiders in desperate need of an upset victory to remain a finals threat.
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla stunned Osborne last round, winning by 21-points in one of the upsets of the season.
Spiders’ coach Beau Packer said the Tigers on the rebound was always a daunting proposition.
“History says Osborne don’t too often drop two matches in-a-row,” Packer said.
“Osborne getting beat just highlights if you don’t come to play each week, you’re a fair chance of getting rolled.
“We changed a few things around last week and stuck with Culcairn until the final-quarter.
“We just need to produce a four-quarter performance and we are quite capable of getting the upset.”
CDHBU v Culcairn
Howlong v Osborne
Lockhart v Jindera
Billabong Crows v Brock-Burrum
Murray Magpies v Henty
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla v Holbrook
(Former Brock-Burrum coach)
(The Border Mail)
(Holbrook life member)
Six youngsters have been nominated for this year’s Rising Star award.
Kim Kantilla (Henty), Kane Mills (CDHBU), Luke Bennie (Giants), James Pitson (Culcairn), Abe Wooden (Lockhart) and Michael Driscoll (Osborne) were selected from the opening six rounds.
The Murray Magpies can’t take a trick.
With the side struggling to be competitive, star centreman Daniel Maher injured his hamstring against Holbrook on Saturday and is facing a stint on the sidelines.
Who was the prankster behind Ricky ‘Chicken’ Nixon’s spray of Brock-Burrum reserve grade full-back Danny Williams on facebook this week?
Nixon unleashed big time, questioning the loyal Saint on a range of matters including him being taken from the ground on a stretcher only to return to the playing arena late in the match.
Only two names are being mentioned in regards to setting up the stitch up – S. O’Connor and L. Brauer.
The smart money is on Brauer.