Play it hard, but stay safe

July 13, 2017

Tungamah coach Jeremy O'Brien is wary of Rennie pushing ruckman Cameron Sudholz (left) forward to compensate for injured spearhead Chase Strawhorn.

Five players went to hospital the last time Rennie and Tungamah faced off in the Picola District Football League south-east division.

Bears coach Jeremy O’Brien hoped history did not repeat on Saturday.

‘‘It was a strange game, we had so many injuries that people are still feeling the effects from,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘Hopefully both sides come out bruise-free in a tough game.’’

Rennie playing coach Craig Ednie, who suffered a punctured lung and three broken ribs in the last meeting, remains out, while the Grasshoppers will also be without Chase Strawhorn and Cooper Bennett.

‘‘It is going to be a really good game, they have hit some form of late, so we will need to be on our game to stop them,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘They are a pretty unpredictable side with the way they go about it; no Strawhorn, no Ednie and we think they have been playing Cameron Sudholz forward to accommodate.’’

The Grasshoppers, who sit in third position with eight wins, have toppled Katamatite, Katandra, Waaia and Dookie in a four-game winning streak.

Tungamah, who sit in second place with 10 wins, bounced back from a loss to Waaia a fortnight ago with a 105-point demolition of Katunga.

Ash Saunders (six goals) and Brent Chapman (four) kicked 10 majors between them, while the Bears had eight multiple goal-kickers.

‘‘It was good win, we were disappointing against the Bombers, so to beat Katunga the way we did was pleasing,’’ O’Brien said.

Ednie understood what was at stake on Saturday, but felt his injury-plagued side was up for the fight.

‘‘It is going to be a huge game, but I am confident if we play the way I know we can we will be okay,’’ Ednie said.

‘‘They have got some very good players running around that we will need to stop if we are to win.’’

Ednie again singled out the influence of Mitch Collins Bye.

‘‘He has taken to the competition and the PDFL like a fish to water, he goes in hard, has a crack and is a real asset for us,’’ Ednie said.

‘‘He and a few others have been exceptional this last month and I think it is reflective of how our performances have been.’’

Katunga v Katamatite

Wins have been hard to come by for Katunga and Katamatite, with the pair registering just one win each in the past month.

Katunga has had the toughest two weeks of any side, having to face the Picola District Football League south-east division’s two best sides in Shepparton East and Tungamah, while the Tigers gained little from contests against Rennie and Dookie.

The Tigers sit in seventh position with just two wins this season, but they would fancy themselves coming up against Katunga on the road.

Katamatite’s last win came a month ago against the winless Katandra, while the Swans also beat the same side for their most recent success.

Callum Wilson has raised the bat with 50 goals this season, but the absence of Dylan Sidebottom (Achilles) has hurt the unpredictability of Daniel Burness’ side going forward.

Brodie McDonald has impressed with four goals in each of Katamatite’s past two games.

Dookie v Shepparton East

Shepparton East will be looking to remain on top of the south-east division when it travels to play Dookie on Saturday.

The two sides have already met once this season and it was the reigning premier who flexed its muscles to win by 67 points in round six.

Dwain Vidler’s side is fresh off three consecutive wins after making light work of Katandra, Katunga and Katamatite respectively, winning by a combined 201 points.

Rob Osborne and Cobey Aynsley kicked seven goals between them a fortnight ago and Pat McMullan’s troops will need to curtail their influence if they are to land an upset.

United has lost four out of its past five games, with its only win coming against Katamatite two weeks before the bye.

Sam Bowmaker and playing coach McMullan have each kicked 17 goals this season and the duo will need to again bring their goal-kicking boots on Saturday.

Katandra v Waaia

Katandra co-coaches Ramadan Yze and Sam Ahmet will be pleased with what they have seen in the past month, despite being winless this season.

The Kats have restricted the blowouts of late, with three of their past four losses coming within 40 points.

Waaia could clinch a finals berth.

The Bombers are fourth with seven wins.

Mick Cleeland’s side is in a decent run of form having won four of its past five matches, and Saturday will be a good opportunity to stretch that run and boost its percentage.

The Bombers have knocked off Dookie, second-placed Tungamah, Katunga and Katamatite in the past five weeks, with Charlie Burrows starring in front of goal.

Burrows has kicked 22 goals in five weeks, to take his season tally to 37.

Meanwhile, Corey Hickford leads the Kats’ goal-kicking tally with 14 as finding a winning score has been an issue all season.

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