Border Mail Round 16 – Preview
BILLABONG Crows defender Mark Beale is confident the merged identity will not stumble at the final hurdle and can clinch a finals spot.
Considering the tight nature of the competition, 10 wins is expected to be enough to secure a finals berth.
The seasons biggest surprise packet claimed the scalp of Osborne in round 11.
But losses against Lockhart and Howlong since has threatened to derail their finals aspirations.
Beale said the town is abuzz with anticipation as the Crows prepare to emerge from the finals wilderness for the first time since crossing to the Hume league in 2008.
“We have had a few injuries since Osborne but we need to regroup quickly to get our season back on track,” Beale said.
“We have proven by beating Osborne, it we bring our contested brand of footy we can match most sides.
“We just have to recapture that.”
HOLBROOK has locked away Matt Sharp for a third season as coach.
Sharp, who took the Brookers into the semi-finals last year and has them knocking on the door for another appearance, is only the fourth coach in the competition to be officially re-appointed for 2020.
Kade Stevens (Brock-Burrum), Brett Argus (Murray Magpies) and Mick Collins (CDHBU) have already signed on.
Sharp said he was determined to build on the foundations laid over the past two seasons.
“I’m really excited to be staying on,” Sharp said.
“The club has a great junior system in place out there.
“We have a good group together at the moment and want to keep it together for as long as we can.”
Although Holbrook sit on the points limit and was forced to play Brock Knights in the reserves last weekend, the Brookers boast some of the best youngsters in the league including Lachie Holmes and Ewan Mackinlay.
Mackinlay kicked four goals in a sparkling debut against the Lions last weekend while Holmes continues to develop in the midfield.
Holbrook is sitting outside the top-six on percentage and play Osborne, Billabong Crows and CDHBU in the run to the finals.
“It’s in our hands,” he said.
“The start of the season has really hurt us.
“We have probably walked away from all the games, bar two against Culcairn, thinking we should have won.
“It’s been frustrating in that regard.
“We had six in and six out for the first six weeks of the year and you need a bit more of a consistent approach particularly when you are playing the stronger sides early in the season.”
Holbrook’s biggest challenge in the run home will be Osborne.
The Tigers were outstanding in dismantling Brock-Burrum last weekend with young forwards George Alexander and Bill Alexander in fine form.
George is growing in confidence with each match after missing 2018 and is shaping as a huge wildcard in September.
Sam Livingstone was thrown forward last weekend and also made an impact, particularly in the first-half.
Brad Boots missed last weekend’s clash due to injury.
Osborne, Rand-Walbundrie-Walla, Howlong, Henty and Jindera are in the market for coaches while Culcairn, Lockhart and Billabong Crows are yet to publicly declare their hands.
DAVID Miles will return to home club Howlong as playing-coach next season after 15 years in the Ovens and Murray.
“Coaching has always been a desire of mine and I see getting back to Howlong as an exciting opportunity,” Miles said.
“A know a lot of the people and committee down there after playing juniors at the club and Mum and Dad live in the town.
“It’s going to be hard leaving North Albury though, harder than I thought, as the club has been a big part of shaping who I am. “I’ve got a lot of memories and friendships I will cherish.
“It was really difficult telling the club but at the same time I’m excited about what’s ahead.”
Miles, who won North Albury’s best and fairest last season and has played 120 matches for the Hoppers, takes over from Beau Packer who had two seasons at the helm.
Packer is yet to announce his plans for next year.
After an injury-plagued start to his career at Bunton Park, Miles has only missed one game in the past three years which was for the birth of his son, Judd.
It is believed at least two other Hume league clubs spoke to Miles.
Miles played under-14s and 17s for Howlong before leaving the Spiders to play third grade for North Albury.
“I wasn’t big or strong at all as a junior and the way I played probably didn’t suit playing seconds or seniors for Howlong at that stage,” he said.
“Dad encouraged me to have a run around at North Albury thirds with some young blokes I knew.”
Howlong is the first Hume league club to appoint a new coach for next season.
Brock-Burrum v Henty
CDHBU v Lockhart
Holbrook v Osborne
Howlong v Murray Magpies
Jindera v Culcairn
Rand-Walbundrie-Walla v Billabong Crows
(Former Brock-Burrum coach)
(The Border Mail)
(Holbrook life member)
HUME league officials will be hoping Culcairn and Holbrook cross paths during the finals series.
The rivals attracted one of the biggest crowds seen at Culcairn on the weekend.
Lions’ president Brendan Sheather confirmed the gate was close to $5000.
A normal home and away match usually attracts a gate between $2500-$3000.
HENTY full-forward Damian Cupido is almost home in the league’s goalkicking.
He has kicked 17 goals in the Swampies’ last two matches to be sitting 12 clear of Culcairn’s Adam Prior with three rounds remaining.
Don’t rule Cupido out from kicking back-to-back centuries if Henty make the finals.
RAND-Walbundrie-Walla defender Jeremy Duck’s season looks over.
Duck injured his knee during the third quarter of the Giants’ gutsy win over Lockhart last weekend with the club waiting for the results of scans.
He has been one of Rand-Walbundrie-Walla’s most consistent players this season.
THE rumour mill was in overdrive last Saturday night.
With Albury star Joel Mackie making the trip to Osborne to watch it play Brock-Burrum, speculation was rife he would was going to be announced coach of the Tigers that evening.
Although Mackie is believed to be firmly in the mix, the club won’t be announcing a coach until its season is over.
At least one other Hume league club is believed to be talking to Mackie.