Round 3 2021 – Preview
BROCK-BURRUM swingman Kade Garland concedes Osborne looks to have an aura of invincibility about it this season.
Both the Saints and Giants are expected to progress deep into September.
Garland said the chasing pack had a lot of ground to make up if anybody was to seriously challenge the Tigers.
“Osborne are raging favourites by the length of the Flemington straight,” Garland said.
“It’s their flag to lose and everyone is chasing them.”
After matching Holbrook for the first-half last weekend, the Saints ran out of legs in the second-half to go down by 11-points.
Garland said the Saints won’t be reaching for the panic button but face another massive test when they host Rand-Walbundrie-Walla at Brocklesby.
“There have been some promising signs in patches,” he said.
“We have played Osborne and Holbrook who most people predict to be grand finalists.
“It’s not the results we were after but we improved last week and if we keep improving we will get a win soon enough.”
As expected, the Saints have struggled to cover the loss of Azzi medallist Nico Sedgwick (Lavington) and John-Roy Williams (knee) in the opening rounds.
Garland said there was no use dwelling on the losses.
“We have to focus on what we can control as a team and everybody needs to step-up,” he said.
“But blokes like Tyson Neander and Brodie Parr will spend plenty of time on the wings and we have faith in them.”
The Giants were one of the most active clubs over the off-season with coach Lucas Mellier, alongside Aydan Brown, Luke Gerecke and Charlie Williams adding a wealth of experience.
Key defender Mark Haydon is yet to make his debut after suffering a groin injury but is a chance to return on the weekend.
Garland rated the Giants as a genuine finals contender.
“I rate them similar to ourselves and undoubtedly we will have to play somewhere near our best to beat them.”
Prolific goalkicker Damian Cupido made his highly-anticipated debut for the Saints last week and booted three goals.
The burly forward looked dangerous early but was starved of opportunities in the second-half.
Garland played centre half-forward and the two marking targets will need to perform on the weekend for the Saints to win.
Finals contender Culcairn is expected to be missing Dane Hallinan, Luke Bokic and Riley Knoble for its home clash against Lockhart on Saturday.
Hallinan is unavailable while Knoble injured his knee against Jindera a fortnight ago.
Bokic broke his little finger against Murray Magpies last week and could spend up to three months on the sidelines.
Lions coach Craig Bosley said the loss of Bokic was a stinging blow after crossing from Chiltern.
“Luke has been in good touch and would be one of the quickest players in the league,” Bosley said.
“He copped a fairly sickening injury last week when he broke his little finger and the bone pierced through the skin. I’m hoping he only misses six weeks and not three months.”
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JACK DUCK
Q: You couldn’t believe your eyes when you came up against Osborne’s Nick Madden in the ruck last weekend?
A: I choked on my beer after the game when somebody told me that. I reckon he could stroll into any nightclub he wanted without getting asked for ID.
Q: Your job doesn’t get any easier this week when you come up against Azzi medallist Matt Seiter?
A: Yeah the big fella is a man mountain and I won’t be stupid enough to try and outmuscle him at the stoppages.
Q: You play on much bigger opponents most weeks. What tactics do you use to combat that?
A: I just try to focus on my strengths and my leap is probably one of my biggest assets. I try to get the ball to the ground and beat my opponent that way. If I try to get into a wrestling match I’m going to lose every time basically.
Q: Full-back Bernie Lieschke did a good job on Hayden Armstrong last week and looks a logical match-up for Damian Cupido?
A: Bernie kept Cupido relatively quite against Henty back in 2019 and is a bit like a human blanket and doesn’t like to give his opponent an inch.
SATURDAY, APRIL 24
Brock-Burrum v Rand-Walb-Walla
CDHBU v Murray Magpies
Culcairn v Lockhart
Henty v Jindera
Howlong v Holbrook
Billabong Crows v Osborne
MATCH OF THE ROUND: BROCK-BURRUM v RAND-WALB-WALLA
Brock-Burrum has started the season 0-2 and will be desperate to open its winning account. As expected, the Saints have sorely missed the dash and flair of dynamic duo Nico Sedgwick and John-Roy Williams and will need to match the Giants midfield to provide Damian Cupido with enough opportunities to kick a winning score. The Giants are still adjusting after the injection of so many recruits and will only get better as the season progresses.
Prediction: Brock-Burrum by five points.